The characters dubbed the “Wormsley Common Gang” in Graham Greenes “The Destructors” are a deeply ambiguous group of kids, whose ethics, have been marred by post war society. Even the most virtuous of men are susceptible to the bitter ravages brought forth in the community in times of war. Grief shows no distinction in times of blood shed, all share in the shame of public and domestic dysfunction. Such is the case of this troubled band of youths.
Imagine a community comprised of dilapidated homes, families who share in its likeness, and faces that carry the image of hope and restoration deferred; this was the turf of the Wormsley Common Gang. Their environment mirrored destruction at every turn. The youthful innocence that normally accompanies growing boys was replaced with habitual cynicism and blatant rebelliousness to all outside this band of brothers. The groups distorted view of reality can be seen in their first encounter with Mr. Thomas.
In a typical mid-day setting we see a harmless old man offer a few members of the gang a kind gesture in the form of a few pieces of chocolate. In this charitable context any “normal” child would be overjoyed with the notion of accessible palatable bliss. Not the Wormsley Common Gang. Their response reads, “The gang were puzzled and perturbed by this action”…”bet someone dropped them and he picked’em up”…”it’s a bribe…he wants us to stop bouncing balls on his wall…we’ll show him we don’t take bribes”. Puzzled and perturbed!? It’s a bribe!? These children turned an innocent act of charity into an adverse cause for debate. A cordial “thank you” was replaced with an act of group agitation on the part of Mr. Thomas. Clearly, there is an altered pattern of thinking present in the minds of this circle of friends. As in war, Mr. Thomas was the enemy and the enemy is not to be trusted.
Despite the obvious character flaws present in this crew’s behavior, there also abides an intriguing sense of unity and...
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