Why does bullying exist?

Throughout the first term we worked on the genre of War Poetry and analysed several poems regarding that genre. On the contrary, once the second term began we dipped into prose. As the first story of the year we read “The Destructors” by Graham Greene. This one tackled the lives of a gang of kids living in the post-war destroyed London. Respecting this story, we answered a bulk of questions in pairs in order to analyse and comprehend it and later wrote an essay. In this one we were able to deal with the consequences that the Second World War had on the city’s infrastructure and how they assimilate the loss of morals on behalf of society. 

The essay was the following: 

Graham Greene’s portrayal of human nature, in “The Destructors,” conveys the idea that people have the instinctive ability to distinguish, and make a conscience choice, between what they believe to be good and evil. This message is clearly projected by the characters and their actions: that children born to a traumatized society will grow rebellious. Comment closely on this.

 

Nine years before, the city where the story was set, on the outskirts of London, was submitted to a hazardous attack of German bombing raids during WWII, called “The Blitz”, which decimated the whole infrastructure. Throughout Graham Greene’s short story named before “The Destructors”, we can see how far this war affected society not only physically but also psychologically due to the ambiguous perception of what is good and what is evil that the children have, as opposed to human natural reason.

 

On the one hand, we can understand Trevor’s uncanny ability to differentiate good from evil by analysing the effects that war had over his family. Years before the war, he used to live with his family as part of one of the privileged social sectors of society surrounded by people with affluent backgrounds: “It was the word ‘beautiful’ that worried him”. Through Blackie’s thoughts we perceive that Trevor spoke in a different manner than the gang did, for he was used to a more formal atmosphere. As a consequence of war, Trevor’s family went bankrupt and lost everything it had. So it was that he moved to Wormsley, this poor and destroyed neighbourhood. Nevertheless, there was one building that still stood steadily: Mr.Thomas’ house. Seeing this, a resentful feeling was automatically activated inside T, suggesting: “We’ll destroy it”. Trevor decided he wanted to demolish Mr. Thomas house, not because he was against Old Misery, but because he was jealous of the house, if it could be possible to feel that way about an object. Why had the house not been destroyed while his family was? His fast decision to destroy the house as a solution without thinking about the others who might be involved shows Trevor’s lack of consideration in others not realising that though it would be good for him, it was a macabre act that prejudiced Mr. Thomas. T represents society at that time and how war fragmented it. 

 

 However, Trevor does show that he has a reasonable sense of what is good and what is wrong: “ ‘Pinch anything?’//‘No’ “. This dialogue between T and Blackie exemplifies the fact that T was not a such bad kid but was psychologically damaged by the traumas that war caused in him. He just wanted to ravage the house because he hated it for surviving war. He wished to have a clean start as a renewed person, not because he wanted to do something evil against Mr. Thomas, but because by destroying, he would have a clean path ahead to walk through. 

On the other hand, we are able to understand that society was corrupted by war stimulating rebellion due to the fact that, through their actions, the children and the driver portrayed their lack of empathy towards others, especially, to Mr.Thomas: “‘There’s nothing personal, but you got to admit it’s funny’”. This is the last dialogue of the story and shows how the driver did not distinguish the good from the wicked. Old Misery’s house had been completely shattered into solely debris and with no compassion at all the driver just laughed at his situation. In addition, the children were utterly conscience of the fact that they were wrecking Old Misery’s life and still found their actions funny: “ You wouldn’t be comfortable, not in your house, you wouldn’t. Not now”. While Mr. Thomas was suffering of a tremendously mischievous and ill prank, the gang talked to him in a sarcastic tone as if the fact that he no longer had a home was hilarious. This tackles society’s loss of values and what the concepts of good and evil symbolised.

Furthermore, we can notice that the kids are a metaphor of war and the house a representation of London due to the fact that it didn’t survived the “war”. As soon as Trevor suggested to destroy Old Misery’s house, the kids followed him and didn’t care about Mr Thomas. They only wanted destruction, which is what war represents along with violence and hatred: “ ‘We’ve done a lot,’ Blackie said.//‘…No, we haven’t’. Everything was already knocked down, but somehow T still wanted to finish with it; to kill it for good every single piece that conformed it. 

All in all, through “The Destructors” we comprehend that society do have the capacity to distinguish what is good from what is evil by the reason that all humans have. The children decide to destroy Old Misery’s house with all their will and conscience. However, we can explain this by analysing the fact that war fragmented society and its values which makes them to act in this certain way.

 

    By writing this essay I could understand and find a justification for the attitudes that each person adapts. I realised that everyone acts in a certain way due to experiences that marked their lives. In the case of the characters of “The Destructors”, war was the cause of their trauma resulting in nihilism. They began to believe that social values were baseless and that nothing can be nor known or communicated therefore losing any kind of loyalty and morality solely aiming to ravage everything that surrounded them. They no longer have the decency to transmit their feelings through words and resource to destruction. However, I understand that those kids were not wicked or evil, but were emotionally and mentally disturbed on account of the obliteration and fragmentation that war brought turning order into chaos.

    The same way, every human being acts in a certain and different way because of the diverse experiences each one of them has. It is commonly known that in schools exist children who carry out vicious deeds against innocent peers who turn up to have awful school experiences. Professionals have stated that this ‘bullies’ act in this manner because of an specific background story regarding, for example, their parents’ treatment towards them or between the parents.

    This way, I can interpret that especially some young children and teenagers from these days tend to lack the communication of their feelings and emotions and are used to reserving themselves. Simultaneously, they are likely to turn their emotional energy into physical or decide to make others feel the same way they do by mauling and punishing innocent kids.

Throughout the first term we worked on the genre of War Poetry and analysed several poems regarding that genre. On the contrary, once the second term began we dipped into prose. As the first story of the year we read “The Destructors” by Graham Greene. This one tackled the lives of a gang of kids living in the post-war destroyed London. Respecting this story, we answered a bulk of questions in pairs in order to analyse and comprehend it and later wrote an essay. In this one we were able to deal with the consequences that the Second World War had on the city’s infrastructure and how they assimilate the loss of morals on behalf of society. 

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