Tuesday, November 16, 2010

"The Destructors"

Analyze how Graham Greene uses setting, characterization, point of view, and symbolism to illustrate his viewpoint (universal truth, theme, meaning, significance of the work as a whole) in his short story "The Destructors." 

31 comments:

  1. I wanted to question what was the reason as to why Blackie asks T. if he hates Mr. Thomas and T. answers "Of course I don't... There'd be no fun if I hated him." Does this show the motivation that T. had and what caused him to destroy Mr. Thomas's house? Is it really just for fun? Obviously, he directly stated that he does not hate Mr. Thomas. Does it mean that if he hated someone, he would not have made the decision to destroy their home? This is an example of situational irony because things turn out differently from what is expected, as well as a verbal irony.

    And I'm also just throwing it out there but I believe that the post-war England or the "new world" is destroying the old world and everything that represents it, like Mr. Thomas's house. Therefore, T. represents or symbolizes the post-war world that wants to destroy the old world.


    Pauline Vitug
    Period 2

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  2. Florencia Etcheverry
    Per 2

    To answer Pauline’s question, I think that T. destroys Mr. Thomas’ house not because he hates him but because he dislikes what Mr. Thomas’ house stands for. This is because in the story, T. says, “All this hate and love…it’s soft, it’s a bunch of hooey. There’s only things.” T. did not hate Mr. Thomas because he did not want to waste his emotions on another person. He simply did not like the “things” that Mr. Thomas symbolized which were riches and the upper class society. By wanting to destroy the house, T. showed that he wanted to get rid of the past that his family had previously belonged to.

    Also, I was wondering if anyone knows what the theme of “The Destructors” could be. I think that the topic that the author chooses to write about is about post-war society taking over the old world and about the class system and how it changes but I am having trouble figuring out how that could be put into a universal truth.

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  3. Connecting to what Pauline had to say in her second thought about the "new world" destroying the old world, I agree because I can see how Mr. Thomas's house is old and T. is creating something new or, destroying something old. The house symbolizes a generational conflict. In addition to this, there is a diffrence between old and new in that rich men would wear tophats and in the "new world" you don't really see rich men wearing them anymore. Also adding on to Pauline's first thought of what caused T. to destroy Mr. Thomas's home and if it was just for fun;I think that he could have had some anger or hatred toward something in the past that he remembered and just wanted to take it out on something, and what better to do than to destroy a house. I believe that T. destroyed Mr. Thomas's house just for the heck of it and not because he hates him.

    Just putting an idea out there, why doesn't T. like when his frinds called him by his name, Trevor? Is this symbolic to maybe his past or relating back to the old world? Also, why would they do the things they did and why Mr. Thomas's house? I think this all ties up with the idea of the "new world" and the "old world".

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  4. Eric Hum
    Period 2

    I am in the computer lab while in APUSH class, not ditching. Just to clear things up.

    In my humble opinion, along the lines of Ms. Vitug, I believe that the story is centered around generational conflicts. Notice how the boys continually call Mr. Thomas, "Old Misery."(864) The act of calling Mr. Thomas "Old Misery" reflects the idea that the boys dislike him or has some sort of profound hatred towards men whom Mr. Thomas symbolizes. Mr. Thomas, in this context, would most likely symbolize rich, old men from the older society of wealthy people. Furthermore, when Mr. Thomas gives the boys free candy, the boys respond suspiciously, stubborn to believe that old misery would give free food to a bunch of boys on the street out of the good will of his heart. That may be one of the many reasons the boys were willing to destroy his house because of preconceived misconceptions of the wealthy old society.

    To further the distinctness in the generations, the author describes Old Misery's house as some distinct, foreign and out of date house. "'It's got a staircase two hundred years old like a corkscrew. Nothing holds it up.'" and "'Is Old Misery two hundred years old?'" represent the difference between the two generations. While Old Misery lives in this old house from the old days, these boys are most likely living in more modern apartments or condos. The boys scorn of the house represent another reason for the generational conflicts.

    Other examples of the younger generation defying the older generation is when Mike appears at Old Misery's house to commence the destruction. "On Sunday morning all were punctual except Blackie, even Mike. Mike had had a stroke of luck. His mother felt ill, his fatehr was tired after Saturday night, and he was told to go to church alone with many warnings of what could happen if he strayed." (868) This defiance and disobedience of Mike is just another representative of the generational conflict between the young and the old. Furthermore, the farce making fun "a man wearing a top hat and a monocle, with a haw-haw accent." (866) demonstrates another difference between generations. A top hat and the monocle may be thngs for the wealthy, but it may also be a symbol for fasions of the past. The boys enjoying the parody of the old fasion may prove again the generational conflict.

    Generational conflict may be a motivation behind the actions of the boys. However, this does not explain why the truck driver laughed when he sees the destroyed house. Now there, the conflict may be caused by the conflicts between the classes, the rich and the poor. Please post if you have anything else other than mitivation concerning the passage.

    Live Huminationed!!!

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  5. Eric Hum
    Period 2

    I have a few questions I would like to ask that may help further the discussion.

    1. What does the Bank Holiday represent? It is mentioned often and it also occurs in August (which helpes explain why these kids are not in school). Bank is a place that people usually hold their money, so it may represent a time when those with money will lose it, since they take a holiday from the bank.

    2. What does the loo represent? It was mentioned several times, and it was used because Old Misery was too stingy to repair the pipes. It was also Old Misery's undoing as it was the place where Old Misery was trapped. It can also represent a symbol of the older days, and Old Misery being trapped in there can represent the very being of being held back by the things and objects of the older society.

    3. The boys have a direct democracy in the story when voting for what to do. What does that represent? It can probably symbolize how even a democracy is fallible. The decision to destroy the house was elected by the whole gang, therfore democracy can lead to annihilation and destruction, as seen in what may have happened in World war 2.

    There are a lot of questions and possible symbols that are represented in this story.

    Live Huminationed!!!

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  6. Eric brings up a valid point when he says that "The Destructors" could not only be a generational conflict but also a class conflict. I think that the driver was not laughing at Mr. Thomas but laughing at the fallen house. I reached this conclusion because the house is constantly associated with a top hat and monocle. The first association is done with Blackie when he connects the "beautiful house" with "a man wearing a top hat and monocle" (Greene 866). Mr . Thomas' house at the end of the story is again described as "with such dignity between the bomb sites like a man in a top hat." These descriptions relate the physical house to an elite class of beings which contrasts the driver and the Wormsley Common Gang. Pauline adds to this thought when she mentions how T does not hate Mr. Thomas. Perhaps he does not hate Mr. Thomas but hates his house because of its association with an elite class. In addition, when Mr. Thomas is locked in his loo, the boys do not ignore him. In fact, they go to great lenghts to ensure that he is as comfortable as he could possibly: "'Here's a blanket;", "'We want you to be comfortable tonight.'" and even "'We don't want you to starve, Mr. Thomas'" (Greene 873). The boys clearly do not have a personal problem with Mr. Thomas.

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  7. Ryan Cuizon
    Per.2

    To answer Melissa's question I believe that they destroyed Mr.Thomas' house because destruction is basically the norm in which the children were born into. Being born into this type of environment, makes it seem that destruction and chaos is fine in the eye of society. Furthermore, viewing the destruction of the house from a symbolic stand point, I came to believe that it represented the gangs rejection of "old society." As Eric has explained, the house was described as ancient and not only that Mr. Thomas was described as old. Both of these things can be tied back to the times when the rich were still around, the "old society." Similarly, T was also once part of the rich upper class,and his name Trevor was probably used during these times leading him to hate the "old society." Finally , I believe the symbolic meaning of the laughter from the truck driver is that he but all of today's society, is laughing at the fall of the "old society," since the house represents just that. In the beginning of the story it says, " A class the world that you could still see parodied."(866) The man also is one of the only characters that interact with Mr.Thomas, besides the gang itself, which led me to believe that the truck driver represents their modern society.

    Since Mr. Thomas represents the old society, The truck driver represents modern day society(not sure if I am correct), what does the gang represent?

    I am not sure if any of my interpretations are correct so please correct me if I am wrong.

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  8. Moenette Esteban
    Period 4

    I agree with Ryan. The way that these 10 year old children were raised in war seeing chaos and destruction is unusual because kids that age nowadays are raised in innocence and safety. I can infer that the rebellion of T. and the rest of his gang was an effect of the war. I also concluded that since Trevor was rich at one point, he destroyed Mr. Thomas' house out of jealousy. I think he resented its beauty because it's something he once had until it was stolen from him.

    The talk about old and new society/generations, in some way, reminded me of the short story, "A Rose for Emily". Emily was trying to hold on to her past even though the rest of the world was progressing. Like "A Rose for Emily", the newer generation was taking over the old which in this case was Trevor's gang destroying Mr. Thomas' house. I feel like the destruction of his house was also the destruction of his past (stress, miserable marriage) Does anyone else see this connection?

    I also noticed that the phrase "Nothing personal.." was used by Trevor AND the driver. I was wondering what the significance was of this phrase. Was is ironic, meaning that there was something personal behind Trevor's plan and the driver's laughter?

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  9. Andrew Garcia
    Period 2
    To answer Eric a bank holiday is any of several weekdays when banks are closed; a legal holiday in Britain. This is because of the banks being closed and commerce ending for the weekend.
    But to ass to its meaning, all the chaos they created contrasts to how its a holiday, not a day of war. Furthermore, war is repeated again and again, so the house could represent those not effected by war. Also the war is represented in the Gang itself, fighting over leadership and causes. It could also represent the negotiations of 1954, the year it was written, where Berlin is separated by the Four Powers, and despite negotiations, deadlock remained the rest of the year, the house being Berlin, when he states that the walls can't be left otherwise thy could rebuild (Restart wars).
    Also on a different note; “They worked with the seriousness of creators and destruction after all is a form of creation. A kind of imagination had seen this house as it had now become.” This shows the changing of imagination of the gang and society, imagination being pure, to the evil of destruction. "Creating destruction" being an oxymoron emphasizes that point. Also it shows the publics view that there is no creating, only destruction, after the war, and that none would be untouched.
    Hopefully I'll add more despite my absence in class!

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  10. As* lol, my bad on the last comment.

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  11. Andrew Garcia
    Period 2

    "'I'd like to see Old Misery's face when we are through,' T said.
    'You hate him a lot?' Blackie asked.
    'Of course I don't hate him,' T said. 'There'd be no fun if I hated him.'" This is irony and an explanation to why he toppled Old Misery's house, rather than have motives of hate, just the continuation of destruction. Like war almost?
    Furthermore, the irony in the old leader having to go to church adds to the fact that T is the foil to Blackie, ironically T being the evil of the two. Black=darkness. Making Blackie the possible protagonist and T the antagonist.

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  12. Jennisha Mamaril
    P.2

    My outlook on the meaning of the story would be that it shows how innocent people's belongings god destroyed during the war. I believe that the group of boys, as well as the cab driver, had a different way of being affected by the war. Mr. Thomas, or Old Misery, on the other hand, still was very sad and mourning.

    In addition to that, I believe the group of boys symbolize the "new" generation, they grew up with the war and feel like they want to disconnect themselves from that life. The kids want attention, and instead of justifying their actions, the focus on becoming something that would be remebered, "Of course I don't hate him," Shows that T, and his gang, are doing it for attention. "Streaks of light came in through the closed shutters where they worked with the seriousness of creators - and destruction after all is a form of creation. As the house eventually comes toppling down, so does the boys last symbol of oppression; the demise of everything that they, as the new society, can no longer have. " I believe this is one line where we can find one of the many themes in the "Destructors." Something popped out to me while reading that line: destruction is a form of creation. This "creation" would be the creation of a new society after the boys destroyed Old Misery's house.

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  13. Unzi Park
    P. 4

    As mentioned from our discussion earlier today, I believe that the author is emphasizing the consequences of war and how wealth is simply a fleeting material that can vanish in a blink of an eye. In the story, the war was the cataylist for destroying T's stable life. The title of this short story is "The Destructors." I believe that the title is referring back to T and his gang but would that then mean that T and his gang would also symbolize war itself since war is also a destructing force? I find this kind of ironic because the cause of T's hatred and animosity towards Mr. Thomas' house was because of the war, but since he is now executing the same devastations of the war to another individual what does this make of T?

    And to answer Moenette's question of why T and the driver both claimed that their actions towards Mr. Thomas was "Nothing personal.." I think was because the author intended to create a generation barrier where T and the driver represent the same generation.

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  14. Victor Chavez
    Period 2

    From the very beginning of the story when Mr. Thomas' house is described as surviving a bomb blast, war is always present in the story. The boys war against the house and all that it stands for. Blackie and T's struggle to be leader of the Wormsley Gang. Even T's war to do something that everyone will remember. Greene is trying to say something about war. Maybe Greene, like Jennisha says, is saying that war brings about creation. Creation of a new social order and creation of equal status between poor and wealthy members of society. War made Mr. Thomas's house the only house standing on the block until the boy's war against his house created a completely devastated neighborhood. The Wormsley Gang created a new leadership structure with T and Blackie being at the top. Finally, T created his new spot in the gang by waging war against the house and its ideals. Perhaps war and destruction do lead to creation.

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  15. Dino Digma
    Period 1

    When first reading this story, I wondered why in the world would these children decide to destroy the last standing beautiful house in there annihilated discussion. Although after discussing the story in class and reading a few of the entries written above by my peers, I am beginning to clearly understand the circumstances in which these children were living in and why they would be motivated to cause this destruction. As mentioned by Mr. Cuizon, these kids grew up during the immediate aftermath of the second World War and all they knew was violence and destruction.

    As mentioned by my peers above, I also feel that this story represents the tension between the older, pre-war generations and the new, youthful generation. Although, I would like to add that this story also represents the cold relationship between wealthy aristocrats, and the poverty stricken middle class. That “beautiful” house was a symbol of the old, pre-WWII generations that the children did not like. During the Socratic Seminar in my period, I think Isabelle mentioned that the children did not appreciate the “beauty” of the house compared to the other houses and they felt that Thomas did not deserve the house. This hatred toward Thomas and his house drove even more motivation into the children to cause this destruction.

    During the class discussion in my period, a few of my peers mentioned that these kids must be around the ages of 9 or 10 years. Personally, I have a hard time believing that children this young have the ability to cause destruction of this magnitude. Even with the dangerous and violent environment these children grew up in, I can not image small 10 year old boys running around causing this much devastation. I personally see these “destructors” as being 16 or 17 years of age. Adding on to this, I think that the author, Graham Greene, is attempting to portray the immaturity of the new generation due to constant exposure to violence.

    There is another thing that I still do not clearly understand. Why would these poverty stricken children choose to burn Old Misery’s money rather than keep it? Was money not much of a big deal during these times (unlikely)? Was the author attempting to show the immaturity of these “destructors”? Maybe these children were just trying to make a statement. Maybe they just wanted to show how much the war had changed the world and it was time for the new generation to take over.

    Also during my class’ discussion, pretty much everyone agreed that the loo was just a place to keep Old Misery while they continued to destruct. But I think its bigger than that. The loo was mentioned by the speaker way too many times for it to just be a toilet. I feel that the loo represents something much bigger but I just can not figure it out what it is. Does anyone have any ideas?

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  17. Maralisa Deguzman
    Period 1

    I agree with Jennisha on her view point of the boys symbolizing a "new" generation. At the socratic seminar during my class period, the idea was presented that a possible reason for why the young boys felt the desire to completely destroy this man's house was because destruction and chaos was all they were exposed to while growing up because of the war. The passage speaks of how Mr. Thomas's house is the only house left standing on that street after it became a bomb site, so it is possible to infer that there was war during that time. The irony of it all is that the young boys' referred to Mr. Thomas as "old Misery" when in actuality, he was a wealthy, happy, stable old man. This just further displays how confused of a view point the young boys' have toward what is right and wrong. They felt that by destroying Mr. Thomas's house, they would equalize their society by bringing down this wealthy, content man. I just found it interesting how off the viewpoint of these boys were toward a functional society.

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  18. Hannah Pollock
    Period 1

    Though I agree with everyone above, I also see the author perhaps using the characters as an example to show how the war caused people, being surrounded by the destruction, to become desensitized. This is shown as Trevor creates a plan to destroy an old man’s house for fun and shown at the end when the driver begins to laugh at the destroyed house. I believe that Trevor is used to symbolize craziness induced by war, while Old Misery is used to portray those who still have a soft side. These characters in this way could be seen as a foil to each other.

    It starts in the beginning when Mr. Thomas gives the boys some chocolates as an act of generosity. However “the gang were puzzled and perturbed by this action and tried to explain it anyway”. Their minds, so disturbed and touched by war, can’t compute this kindness and find every possible way to make it negative, saying, “bet someone dropped them and he picked em up”. This is when Trevor decides to destroy Old Misery’s house, which he himself said was “beautiful”. This made me get the feeling that he wanted to destroy his house just because he could and for the heck of it. However later when Mr. Thomas comes back earlier than expected, Trevor throws a fit saying, “He protested with the fury of the child he had never been, ‘It isn’t fair’”. This reaction makes me think again about the effects of the war on these people and how much suppressed anger they must be holding. Perhaps he wanted to destroy the house because he resented its beauty.

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  19. I can understand why T had destroyed Old Misery's house had it been out of jealousy.. but if he was jealous, wouldn't it make more sense if he simply took the things that he wanted instead? He had the perfect opportunity to steal the old man's money but chose to burn it. I'm still trying to understand T's motives.

    I can relate to Dino's comment as I too was shocked and had questioned why anyone would do such a horrible thing as to completely destroying someone's home who had done nothing whatsoever to harm them. And then I began to understand a little bit more as our class discussion progressed and each student had talked about their own personal stories and how they just destroyed something simply because it was there. I think Old Misery's house just happened to be "at the wrong place at the wrong time," if that makes sense. Having been the only house left standing in perfect condition surrounded by ruined houses due to the bomb blast, it was the perfect target.

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  20. Kristina Wade
    Period 2


    I agree with Jennisha in that the group of boys represents the “new” generation, growing up in a time of war, so destruction is all they know. This is seen when they destroy Mr. Thomas’, also known as Old Misery’s, house for absolutely no reason and they do not realize that what they are doing is wrong. An example of this is seen in a quote also used by Jennisha, “they worked with seriousness of creators- and destruction after all is a form of creation”. The generational conflict throughout this story brings me to believe that bringing down Old Misery’s house symbolized the bringing down of the old, pre-war generations. In the start of the story Blackie is worried by T’s use of the word “beautiful” when he is describing Old Misery’s house. It worries Blackie because it was a thing “that belonged to a class world” we see the top hat reference soon after which can also symbolize the old fashioned, pre-war generation. As opposed to what Dino said about the destructors not burning the money and this being Graham Greene’s way of showing the kids immaturity, I believe this symbolizes the fact that the kids wanted to get rid of every last trace of the pre-war generation and start their new modern society.

    During our class discussion many people brought up T’s actions and his motivations for wanting to take down Old Misery’s house. When characterizing Trevor he came off as a silent and very frustrated teenager. He barely spoke besides the occasional “yes” or “no” this may symbolize the built up anger inside of him. He also uses the gang to get back at society the society that brought down his parents. I would like to see how other people have characterized Trevor and maybe to see what people think of his relationship with Blackie.

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  21. Justin Abadejos
    Period One

    I've come to an understanding about the motivation and purpose of destruction of the house, and how the generational conflicts affect their view on the house, and ultimately representing the perspective of the new generation on the old. As Moenette stated, the children did grow up in a chaotic society, rather than an average, innocent society, which may lead to their viewpoint on the destruction of the house. As Mr. Domingo stated during our socratic seminar, the children may represent an aspect of a new world order, as if their purpose was to eliminate everything about the old generation/WWII and progress to the new generation.

    In response to Dino's question about the loo, I believe the loo symbolizes the old generation and how "Old Misery" continues to live in the past, which is why the children stuck him in the loo. Additionally, it represents how inferior the old generation is. But I also am confused about the loo, and I believe it symbolizes much more than just a holding place.

    As discussed through our period's Socratic seminar, "The Destructors" also symbolize the distinction between "top hat people" or high class, wealthy people, and poverty strucken people in the post WWII era. This distinction reflects how the relationship between the high class and the low class is corrupt and conflicting. The shift in power within the group and the democratic aspect of the group discussed by Eric above may represent the new world government and how the shift in power between Blackie and Trevor also represents the shift in power between the major countries associated with WWII.

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  23. Krystin Llanes
    Period 4

    I agree with what Pauline said about how there is conflict between new and old (or young and old). In response to her question as to what T’s motivations were to destroy Old Misery’s house, I feel like it was because he had lost his own house because of the war. He used to be rich, which made him different from everyone else because they were all poor, but the war stripped him from his wealth and even caused his father to lose his job. On the other hand, Blackie’s motivation for destroying the house could be associated with the fact that he is in a gang, and has always been poor so he has nothing else to lose. These kids grew up with the war and have nothing else to compare it to, and are used to violence and chaos. It is Post World War II after all. I also feel like the did it so that they could take pride into destroying something and leaving their mark on it.

    Also, I find it ironic how T’s father was an architect and Old Misery was a builder and creator, and T ends up destroying the house. It is evident that T did not have a very close relationship with his parents, “his father, a former architect and present clerk, had “come down in the world” and that his mother considered herself better than the rest of her neighbors” (864). This could be the reason why he does not like to be called by his first name, Trevor, because it is the name his parents had gave him and is instead referred to as “T”, his nickname. Though I question why the other kids continously laugh at his name at the beginning of the story. Why do they find it amusing?

    At the end, when the truck driver (who is part of the working class) laughs when he sees the ruins of what was Old Misery’s house, he says it is not anything personal, but I feel as if he is laughing because the lower class feels some sort of resentment towards the upper class. He does not feel sorry or sympathetic. “One moment the house had stood there with such dignity between the bomb sites like a man in a top hat, and then bang, crash, there wasn’t anything left” (873) This ties to Old Misery's perception of how wealth is trivial and can easily vanish in a short amount of time. He realizes this after he finds out that children of the lower class destroyed his home. With everything said, I think the house could represent wealth and the status quo.

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  25. Daniel Miranda
    Period 1

    I agree with the posts above, saying that this story represents the tensions and differences between the old pre-war generations and the new post-war youths. In my period's socratic seminar we established that Mr. Thomas also represented the rich aristocrats while the children or gang represented the poor working class of the era.

    I found it ironic that Mr. Thomas was given the nickname "Old Misery" because of his wealth and the description of his house. On the other hand, this could of represented the misery inside of Mr. Thomas or even the author himself because in the background it stated that Graham Greene was living a miserable life. "Old Misery", also may have represented foreshadowing, describing the feeling Mr. Thomas would feel at the end of the story.

    To answer Dino's question about burning Mr. Thomas' money i feel that the children were trying to make a statement. I think that by burning the money instead of stealing it, the children were intending to put themselves above the rich and wealthy, by saying we don't need your money to be better than you.

    However, I still have trouble understanding why Trevor's name is considered funny and why he prefers to be called T.

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  26. Adrian Navarro
    Period 2

    I see what everyone is saying about how T. is angry or jealous of Mr. Thomas for what his wealth. But, I believe there is a deeper meaning to all of this. I think that T., represents the new post war generation, that is tired or even angry at the older generation, represented by Mr. Thomas. By destroying Mr. Thomas' home, the last standing beautiful structure, it is a way to break down the old ways and bring new world order. In a way I believe that T. blames all this war's chaos on the previous generation, and is infuriated by them. And the only way to move forward is to reject them and destroy what they created, like a phoenix's rise from the ashes of the mess that their predecessor's left for them.

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  27. Angeleen Lardizabal
    Period 1

    Along with what the others before me have suggested, the story certainly draws heavily from the disparity between generations and the tensions that surface from those differences. The new, post-war generation that emerges is raised in an atmosphere of disorder and chaos, and in this way, they come to accept all the destruction around them as the “norm”, like Ryan stated. Dealing with the repercussions of the war and the period of backwardness embeds only the notion that what they see is acceptable, especially when the idea of hope is a completely foreign concept to them. Greene makes it evident that these kids are forced into an austere society that demands that they adapt quickly to all the chaos. In my period, many people pointed out Greene’s careful use of detail to display this—in one instance, T., who maintains an undaunted and collected exterior throughout the process, shies away from those attributes in an uncharacteristic moment of panic. Greene uses the specific words, “he protested with the fury of the child he had never been” to describe T. in those lines as the boy himself proclaimed, “It isn’t fair”. His deprivation from the ideal, carefree childhood clearly represents his early introduction into the stark world and the cold, bitter reality.

    The point Krystin brings up about Old Misery and his father both having a knack for creation—as suggested by their professions—makes the son’s inclination towards destruction an especially glaring difference. This, too, could possibly be attributed the idea of his deprivation from a real childhood. It was suggested many times that T. was attempting to detach himself from his past, whether it was his parents or the things that they stood for, this “top hat” class and their pretensions. T.’s perspective of the situation from the start is incredibly unwavering and atypical of child that age, which to me really communicated the severity of their conditions. His motive clearly wasn’t self-gain, which would have been my initial presumption of him and the other kids—but T.’s character is shown as resolute in his efforts to completely defy any sort of materialism in his life (and in others, for that matter).

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  28. Tatiana Quiapo
    Period 2

    I see how my peers above have a set explanation as to why T. decides to burn the house - but somehow I think T. burns the house down was to feed off of the fact that he did something cool, or feed off of the reaction of Mr. Thomas, because of his high position in the gang. He said that "There'd be no fun if I hated him [Old Misery]." (pg 869) which shows that he didn't do it out of hatred; and when T says "I'd like to see Old Misery's face when we are through." demonstrates how T. feeds off the fact that he did something in the gang and Mr.Thomas' reaction. When T. mentions that "All this hate and love...it's soft, its hooey. There's only things, Blackie." This could further demonstrate how T. wasn't after the material things like when he burns the Mr.Thomas' bank notes. Unless if there were other "things" that T. is referring to?

    When I thought about how the story was about a gang and the setting was world war II I automatically inferred that there could be a historical connection between the gang and the Nazi's; and how their way of leadership goes. I'm not sure if this is accurrate, but I had to put it out there, because it would symbolize how Hitler's climb to the top is somewhat similar to the climb in leadership to T. and how they wanted to destroy things. The fact that both of these leaders fed off the support and loyalty of its gang and supporters further shows how their dictatorship effects the actions of their group. And since the burning of the house could be the representation of rejection on the old ways of society is also similar to motive of Hitler's actions on making a new society in the world.

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  29. Suzanne Khan
    Period 2

    I think that way that these kids were raised by being in war and seeing chaos and destruction makes them think that there is nothing wrong with it. Since Trevor was rich at one point in his life, he only destroyed Mr. Thomas' house out of jealousy. He probably was not fully jealous because he did not want to steal anything from Mr.Thomas' house, he only wanted to destroy what he did not have anymore.These kids seemed to think that destroying things was humorous.

    I also believe that the top hat that is mentioned at the beginning and end of the story plays a significant part in the story. It symbolizes high society and how rich Mr.Thomas is. At the beginning, Mr.Thomas is proud of what he has, but by the time his house is destroyed, he loses everything. This shows how wealth can be taken away quickly.

    Did anyone notice a special relationship between Blackie and T? And also, what is the significance between the different leaderships of the group?

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