Two Different Reactions to the Adult World: Youths in the Works of Graham Greene

Essay by fortobs44High School, 11th gradeA, January 2005

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Graham Greene, in his works, "The Destructors" and "The Basement Room", presents two youthful characters, Trevor and Master Philip, who are affected differently by emersion into the adult world. Trevor, a member of the "lost generation" following World War I, belongs to the Wormsley Common Gang. Trevor is affected by the adult world in that he is seeks to gain, for the Gang, a reputation among the adult gangs. When confronted with this Trevor shows great resolve and never wavers from his intent to destroy Old Misery's house and dispel the air of privilege that surrounds him as he enters into the Gang. In contrast, Master Philip, when confronted with adulthood, is emotionally scarred, in that he witnesses the affair of his butler and the subsequent death of the Butler's wife. These two reactions are very different as Trevor reacts by stepping up to the challenge presented but Philip is unable to withstand with adult influence and breaks under the pressure.

Trevor and his compatriots are members of the "lost generation" which existed after the end of World War I. This generation was forced to 'grow-up' much faster than previous and subsequent generations because of the enormous loss of life as a result of the war. Trevor is Greene's personification of this because, before his entry to the Gang, the boys of Wormsley would pursue more childish endeavors such as, "At Blackie's suggestion the gang was to disperse in pairs, take buses at random and see how many free rides could be snatched from unwary conductors (the operation was to be carried out in pairs to avoid cheating)" (Greene 2). However, Trevor arrives and systematically takes control by assimilating with the Gang, displaying leadership qualities, and a propensity for developing good plans. He performs this with an...