Environment can have a direct influence on a child’s life, often transcending generations for years to come. As shown in Graham Greene`s short story “The Destructors”, the reader sees the effects of World War 2 on the protagonist Trevor or “T”. He demonstrates how children have been changed by war through his persuasive words and malicious actions. Throughout the story, it is revealed that Trevor is a very determined young man. He aims high when he devises a plan to destroy a beautiful two-hundred year old house built by Sir. Christopher Wren that survived the Blitz.
He loved and appreciated the beauty withheld in the property but wants to destroy the house as it was a symbol of his previous life as an upper middle class citizen. His determination took hold as he wanted that house abolished even if the other gang members thought it was too criminal or too harsh: “Haven’t we done enough? ” (372) Trevor disagrees and pushes the limits by saying “we are going to destroy this house” (372). The determination that Trevor possesses may have come from surviving the war and the struggle to live a normal childhood with the hard times that came post-war.
While the war not only strengthened Trevor, it also had a huge impact on his childhood, robbing it from him like a theif. It is discovered later in the story that Trevor had grown up too quickly, “the grey… ash… fell on their heads like age” (372). As a result of this, Trevor has deep anger issues. He is forced to take on responsibilities and problems that are well beyond his years which understandably frustrates him. War effects everyone which leads Trevor to lash out, protesting “with the fury of the child he had never been”(373).
Trevor does not know how to deal or control his anger so he takes it out in a cruel joke on Mr. Thomas. The whole plan of demolishing Mr. Thomas`s house because it reminded him of his past as an upper middle class citizen shows Trevor’s apathetic traits. After the second World War, a person could consider themselves lucky to own a decent property. The fact that Trevor creates and follows through with the plan displays apathy, if not a more malicious undertone. He states at one point that “hate and love… it`s soft, it`s hooey”(372).
This shows that over the years, Trevor has built up walls around himself stopping himself from expressing too much emotion so he will not get hurt by others. An invisible barrier which Trevor is trapped in alone with anger, guilt and rage. Living in the after effects of war has affected Trevor deeply, influencing the way he talks and acts. War is such an all-consuming horror so it is not surprising that it changed a naive child into someone hardened and closed off. War has the power to deeply affect anyone.