The Destructors: Indirect Vs. Direct Presentation

1118 words - 4 pages

"The Destructors" Indirect vs. Direct PresentationIn "The Destructors," by Graham Greene, both indirect and direct presentation is implemented to provide a multidimensional portrayal of the characters in the story. This device is effective because each type of presentation provides the reader with a different perspective into each character. The author presents the characters directly by telling the reader details about the characters and presents the characters indirectly by showing the reader. Direct presentation allows for more of a complete understanding of the characters while indirect presentation forces the reader to make inferences based on dialogue and occurrences throughout the story.Direct presentation is effective especially in the beginning of a short story because the reader gets a primary and absolute insight into each character's emotions, which will in turn allow them to interpret actions and developments later on in the story. Mike's young age, and childish naïveté is immediately exposed when Greene directly presents him as "nine [and] surprised by everything" (111). Mike's character is clearly defined with little left for the reader to interpret. The author can best express his purpose through this type of presentation.Greene uses direct presentation when he introduces major members of the gang such as Blackie, Trevor, and Mike. Greene reveals Blackie's acceptance of his class standing as he describes Blackie's reservations with Trevor's plan. "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" (114). In this instance, direct presentation is quite effective because Greene reveals that Blackie is not a resentful character; this is a truth that would be very difficult for a reader to infer.Old Misery is also presented directly. Greene provides direct insight into Old Misery as he describes his background early in the story. "Old Misery-whose real name was Thomas-had once been a builder and decorator. He lived alone in the crippled house, doing for himself" (112). This saves the author from having to digress from the plot in order to indirectly characterize Old Misery, which would in essence detract from the true purpose of the story.Indirect presentation is used throughout the story to reveal subtleties and more importantly, to accentuate the story's many paradoxes. Greene's usage of indirect presentation in exposing these truths adds to the profundity of the story.Greene cleverly shows Blackie's insecurity when Blackie attempts to avoid Trevor's plan of destroying Old Misery's house as he feebly states, "there wouldn't be time, I've seen housebreakers at work. None of us know how" (115). When Trevor taunts him and his leadership position seems compromised Blackie "uneasily...

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