56 pages 1 hour read

Graham Greene

The Destructors

Fiction | Short Story | Adult | Published in 1954

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“The Destructors”

  • Genre: Fiction; short story; crime/drama
  • Originally Published: 1954
  • Reading Level/Interest: Lexile 760L; grades 9-12; college/adult
  • Structure/Length: Approximately 17 pages; approximately 30 minutes on audio
  • Protagonist/Central Conflict: Set in post-World War II London, the story follows a group of teenage boys, specifically focusing on a character named T, who leads the gang called the Wormsley Common Gang. The central conflict revolves around T’s plan to systematically destroy an old man’s beautiful house from the inside out, which serves as a symbol of a world of which they can never be a part.
  • Potential Sensitivity Issues: Themes of destruction and rebellion; depiction of criminal activities; post-war setting and its psychological implications

Graham Greene, Author

  • Bio: Born 1904; died 1991; English novelist, short story writer, and playwright; worked in British intelligence during World War II (WWII); writing often explores political and moral issues; regarded as one of the greatest British writers of the 20th century; works have been adapted for film and television multiple times
  • Other Works: The Power and the Glory (1940); The Heart of the Matter (1948); The Quiet American (1955); Our Man in Havana (1958)

CENTRAL THEMES connected and noted throughout this Teaching Unit:

  • The Dangers of Populism
  • The Illusion of Order
  • The End of Innocence