The Destructors

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Trevor, or “T.” Character Analysis

T. is a brooding, unhappy, rebellious adolescent and the newest member of the Wormsley Common Gang. He comes from a wealthier background than the other boys, but his parents have lost their place in society and moved to the neighborhood. This, and the sense that T. is more caught up in his own thoughts than he is in the way he is seen by others, sets him apart from the other boys. When T. first joins the gang, he is generally silent, but the way he carries himself impresses the other boys. He learns from his father that Mr. Thomas’s house was built by a famous architect and becomes the leader of the group by suggesting the audacious plan to destroy the house. Although T. is determined to destroy Mr. Thomas’s house, it is not out of malice towards the old man, but because of a desire to rebel against the older generation’s materialism and belief in the superiority of the upper classes.

Trevor, or “T.” Quotes in The Destructors

The The Destructors quotes below are all either spoken by Trevor, or “T.” or refer to Trevor, or “T.”. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Class and a Changing World Theme Icon
). Note: all page and citation info for the quotes below refers to the Penguin Classics edition of The Destructors published in 1993.
Part 1 Quotes

There was every reason why T., as he was afterwards referred to, should have been an object of mockery - there was his name (and they substituted the initial because otherwise they had no excuse not to laugh at it), the fact that his father, a former architect and present clerk, had 'come down in the world' and that his mother considered herself better than the neighbours. What but an odd quality of danger, of the unpredictable, established him in the gang without any ignoble ceremony of initiation?

Related Characters: Trevor, or “T.”
Page Number: 7
Explanation and Analysis:

This passage near the start of the story gives a sense of the Wormsley Common Gang’s class concerns and their code of behavior, while also describing T.’s background and personality.

The boys are turned off by the name Trevor, a name that none of their parents would have given them, and which marks T. out as someone born into a higher class than the rest of them. Usually, the boys mock all things that symbolize the upper class for them, and they clearly disdain T.’s mother who does not fit in among their mothers.

T. is not a normal boy though. He impresses the gang with his unusual and dangerous-seeming silence and with his apparent indifference to what they think about him or his name. His personal qualities allow him to be accepted into the group without going through any process of hazing or humiliation, which it seems the gang usually inflicts on new members.

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He was just, he had no jealousy, he was anxious to retain T. in the gang if he could. It was the word 'beautiful' that worried him - that belonged to a class world that you could still see parodied at the Wormsley Common Empire by a man wearing a top hat and a monocle, with a haw-haw accent. He was tempted to say, 'My dear Trevor, old chap,' and unleash his hell hounds.

Related Characters: Trevor, or “T.”, Blackie
Related Symbols: Top Hat
Page Number: 10
Explanation and Analysis:

T. has arrived late to the lot for the day and told the gang about his impromptu visit and tour of Mr. Thomas’s house. Blackie tries to convince himself that he is not jealous, but he likely did feel some threat to his authority in the gang after the introduction of this mysterious new member.

At this moment he is trying to make sense of T.’s strange action. In particular, he must assess whether T.’s behavior fits with the group’s code, which calls for the pulling of provocative pranks that challenge authority. T.’s visit to Mr. Thomas, and especially his description of Mr. Thomas’s house as beautiful, seems to be a respectful show of homage to the old man and his home. Further, if T. is impressed by this old house, it suggests to Blackie that T.’s beliefs about class are admiring of the old, pre-war class order, and thus out-of-step with the gang’s.

T. was giving his orders with decision: it was as though this plan had been with him all his life, pondered through the seasons, now in his fifteenth year crystallized with the pain of puberty.

Related Characters: Trevor, or “T.”
Page Number: 12
Explanation and Analysis:

Blackie finds this scene when he walks back to the group after going off by himself to a different corner of the parking lot to consider T.’s plan and the fact that the rest of the gang has suddenly accepted T.’s authority over Blackie’s. He comes back to find that T.’s personality and way of carrying himself have altered. During the weeks since T. entered the gang when he hardly spoke at all, it seems he was brooding and thinking up a way to rebel with special resonance for him. He is brought to life and confidence by this plan to destroy the old architectural gem that his father pointed out to him as special. The plan is tied to the “pain of puberty” which suggests it is part of the process by which T. will prove his independence from his parents and their beliefs, including their belief in status symbols like Old Misery’s house.

Part 2 Quotes

'Of course I don't hate him,' T. said. 'There'd be no fun if I hated him.' The last burning note illuminated his brooding face. 'All this hate and love,' he said,' it's soft, it’s hooey. There's only things, Blackie,' and he looked round the room crowded with the unfamiliar shadows of half things, broken things, former things. 'I’ll race you home, Blackie,' he said.

Related Characters: Trevor, or “T.” (speaker), Blackie, Mr. Thomas, or “Old Misery”
Page Number: 16
Explanation and Analysis:

Blackie and T. remain at Mr. Thomas’s house on the first day of destruction after the others leave. T. has Mr. Thomas’s savings and the two boys set about burning each bank note. Blackie probes T. and, wanting to understand T.’s motivation for destroying Mr. Thomas’s house, asks T. if he hates the old man. T. denies any personal dislike for Mr. Thomas and even denies that such emotional connections like hate and love are real. For T., burning the money is a celebratory act. Burning the money and looking around the room at all the things that the gang has already destroyed puts T. in an innocent and playful mood, and he challenges Blackie to race him home. This seems further to tie this act of adolescent rebellion to the unhappy fixation on material possessions that has (the story implies, but never shows) dominated T.’s home life since his parents’ loss of money and status.

Part 3 Quotes

'Oh no, we haven't. Anybody could do this -' 'this' was the shattered hollowed house with nothing left but the walls. Yet walls could be preserved. Facades were valuable. They could build inside again more beautifully than before. This could again be a home. He said angrily, 'We've got to finish. Don’t move. Let me think.'

Related Characters: Trevor, or “T.” (speaker)
Page Number: 17
Explanation and Analysis:

Mike has warned the gang that Mr. Thomas has come home early from his vacation and will soon arrive. The other boys, especially Summers, want to give up on completing the total destruction of the house to avoid being caught, but T. is determined to finish. He wants to strip the house of any value as a material possession and make certain it can never be used as a home again. For destruction to be a kind of creation, it must be carried out as it was envisioned and completed. If the house is not utterly demolished, then the damages to it may be repaired, and no new thing will come to be created in the space where it once stood.

T. stood with his back to the rubble like a boxer knocked groggy against the ropes. He had no words as his dreams shook and slid. Then Blackie acted before the gang had time to laugh, pushing Summers backward. 'I'll watch the front, T.,' he said, and cautiously he opened the shutters of the hall.

Related Characters: Blackie (speaker), Trevor, or “T.”, Summers
Page Number: 18
Explanation and Analysis:

Summers, who wants the boys to flee the scene before Mr. Thomas arrives, has just undermined T. by using his full first name. T. has been a confident leader since proposing his plan, but now seems rapidly to transform back into the silent, brooding figure that the gang first met at the beginning of the summer. At this moment, Blackie takes back his position as leader by boldly, spontaneously throwing his support behind T. and physically shoving Summers. Throughout the story Blackie’s feelings towards T. have evolved from suspicion to jealousy and now, finally, to loyalty. The boy’s code of behavior views Blackie’s act of physical aggression as trumping Summers’s attempt to mock T., and so the boys fall in line and follow Blackie in his support for T.

It is worth considering what motivates Blackie’s loyalty, though. While it might be that he feels loyalty to T. after their conversation while burning Mr. Thomas’s money, it seems perhaps even more likely that Blackie has grown loyal not so much to T. as to T’s plan. Blackie, after all, now understands how the destruction of the house is a more profound form of rebellion than anything the gang has done before. And, further, Blackie recognizes that in completing the job that the gang is likely to gain respect from other gangs. Blackie’s loyalty to the plan, then, shows his loyalty to the gang and its prospects, and his belief in the meritocratic success-based world. He supports the plan because he thinks the plan will bring the gang, and him personally, success.

He said to the boy beside him, 'I'm not unreasonable. Been a boy myself. As long as things are done regular. I don't mind you playing round the place Saturday mornings. Sometimes I like company. Only it's got to be regular. One of you asks leave and I say Yes. Sometimes I'll say No. Won't feel like it. And you come in at the front door and out at the back. No garden walls.'

Related Characters: Mr. Thomas, or “Old Misery” (speaker), Trevor, or “T.”
Page Number: 19
Explanation and Analysis:

Mr. Thomas is being led by T. to the outdoor lavatory, where T. tells him one of the boys has gotten trapped. Although Mr. Thomas is indignant at the boys coming onto his property without permission, he maintains a firm but kind tone, in keeping with his code of behavior. This code sees those in the upper classes as superior and in charge of setting the rules, but it also requires that they show benevolence to those younger and lower class.

In the eyes of the reader, who knows how much control Mr. Thomas has already lost over what happens on his property, this speech is ridiculous. Mr. Thomas and the well-mannered, hierarchical code of behavior that he represents are utterly obsolete.

Mr. Thomas also seems to relate to the boys, recalling his own adolescence. This only serves to emphasize the distance the boys see between themselves and an old man like Mr. Thomas. To them, he has never been a boy, and they themselves will never be like him.

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Trevor, or “T.” Character Timeline in The Destructors

The timeline below shows where the character Trevor, or “T.” appears in The Destructors. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Part 1
Class and a Changing World Theme Icon
Codes of Behavior Theme Icon
...because the menacing way he carries himself inspires their respect, they call the new boy “T.” and allow him to enter the group without going through any humiliating process of induction. (full context)
Class and a Changing World Theme Icon
Codes of Behavior Theme Icon
T. surprises the group when he breaks his customary silence to tell them that his father,... (full context)
Class and a Changing World Theme Icon
Codes of Behavior Theme Icon
The next day T. arrives late to the lot, after the rest of the boys have already put an... (full context)
Codes of Behavior Theme Icon
Money and the Value of Things Theme Icon
Adolescence, Age, and Rebellion Theme Icon
T. reveals that he has a plan for a prank that will surpass all the gang’s... (full context)
Codes of Behavior Theme Icon
Blackie walks away to ruminate on this sudden turn of events: he sees that T. has replaced him as the leader of the gang. At first he considers abandoning the... (full context)
Destruction and Creation Theme Icon
T., who suddenly seems to be filled with confidence and leadership skill, instructs the boys to... (full context)
Part 2
Destruction and Creation Theme Icon
...abandoned as he approaches it and he wonders if the gang has given up on T.’s idea. But once he comes close, he can hear the sounds of destruction going on... (full context)
Class and a Changing World Theme Icon
Adolescence, Age, and Rebellion Theme Icon
Destruction and Creation Theme Icon
...working to destroy everything from the floors to the banisters, while leaving the walls intact. T. is the only one not working, he is sitting in the non-functioning bathroom listening to... (full context)
Destruction and Creation Theme Icon
...house. They agree to meet at eight the next morning, and everyone except Blackie and T. hops over the garden wall and goes home. (full context)
Codes of Behavior Theme Icon
Money and the Value of Things Theme Icon
T. shows Blackie the special thing he has found: seventy one-pound notes that Mike overlooked when... (full context)
Money and the Value of Things Theme Icon
Adolescence, Age, and Rebellion Theme Icon
Destruction and Creation Theme Icon
Instead, T. says that he and Blackie should burn the notes as a celebration. They burn the... (full context)
Part 3
Destruction and Creation Theme Icon
...sounds. Summers has become bored and wants to go play on the slot machines, but T. tells him that they are nowhere near finished. The next step is to get each... (full context)
Class and a Changing World Theme Icon
Codes of Behavior Theme Icon
...away before they get caught, and the rest of the boys seem to agree, but T. is adamant that they finish destroying the house. He says two boys should run to... (full context)
Class and a Changing World Theme Icon
Codes of Behavior Theme Icon
Money and the Value of Things Theme Icon
Mr. Thomas is indignant that his property has been broken into, but realizes he recognizes T. from when he showed the boy around his house. T. hurries Mr. Thomas, who can... (full context)
Codes of Behavior Theme Icon
Adolescence, Age, and Rebellion Theme Icon
Mr. Thomas stumbles, but T. catches him and Mr. Thomas automatically thanks T. Mr. Thomas tells T. that he likes... (full context)
Codes of Behavior Theme Icon
Money and the Value of Things Theme Icon
Destruction and Creation Theme Icon
...lavatory, Mr. Thomas asks what is wrong, but receives no reply from the boy inside. T. suggests that the boy may have fainted, and Mr. Thomas yanks open the door. He... (full context)