The main characters in “The Destructors” are young boys in a gang that come up with a plan to destroy a beautiful home that survived the bombings of World War II. The main characters in “The Lottery” run and participate in a lottery tradition that the townspeople have blindly followed for awhile. In the short stories, “The Lottery” by Shirley Jackson and “The Destructors by Graham Greene, each character has a unique personality.
Tessie is the only villager to protest against the lottery. When the Hutchinson family draws the marked paper, she exclaims, “It wasn’t fair!” This protest continues as she is selected and stoned to death, but instead of listening to her, the villagers ignore her. Even her husband tells her to be quiet. Would Tessie have protested the fairness of the lottery if her family had not been selected? Whatever her reason is for speaking out, she is effectively silenced.
Old Man Warner is the oldest man in town. He has participated in seventy-seven lotteries and is an advocate for keeping things exactly the way they are. He dismisses the towns and young people who have stopped having lotteries as “crazy fools.” He is threatened by the idea of change. He believes that the people who want to stop holding lotteries will soon want to live in caves. He believes that only the lottery can keep society stable. He says “Lottery in June, corn be heavy soon” and fears that if the lottery stops, the villagers will be forced to eat “chickweed and acorns.” Old Man Warner is very superstition. He easily accepts the way things are because this is how they have always been. He believes any change to the status quo will lead to disaster. This way of thinking shows how dangerous it is to follow tradition blindly, never questioning beliefs that are passed down from one generation to the next.
Mr. Summers has a frightening amount of power in the village. A married, childless business owner, Mr. Summers is pitied by the townspeople for having a nagging wife. No one seems to question his leadership of the lottery. Perhaps he took on the role himself, or perhaps someone offered it to him. Whatever the case, he now has complete control. Mr. Summers not only draws the names on the day of the lottery, but he also makes up the slips of paper that go into the black box. It is up to him to make the black circle that ultimately condemns someone to death. Why the villagers put such pure faith in Mr. Summers? The assumption that he will continue to conduct the lottery is just one more blindly accepted part of the ritual.
T. is an unhappy, rebellious adolescent and the newest member of the Wormsley Common Gang. He comes from a wealthy background. 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 that Mr. Thomas’ house was built by a famous architect and becomes the leader of the group by convincing the boys to destroy the house. T. is determined to destroy Mr. Thomas’s house because of a desire to rebel against the older generation’s materialism and belief in the superiority of the upper classes.
Blackie leads the Wormsley Common Gang. Blackie takes his leadership seriously and wants the best for the gang. Blackie’s character evolves as his relationship with T. does. At first he sees promise in T.’s way of carrying himself, but has his reservations as to whether T. will share the group’s values despite his upper class roots. Later, Blackie is briefly jealous of T. after he takes over leadership of the gang, but quickly comes to see that T.’s vision for destroying the house promises to bring the gang more prestige than any of his schemes would have because it reflects an even more profound rebellion against ideas of class. This realization inspires his respect for T. and ensures his loyalty at the moment when the rest of the gang turns on T.
Mr. Thomas is an old man who worked as a decorator and builder when he was younger. He lives in a beautiful old house that survived the bombings of the World War II. He believes in the social fabric that existed before the war, in which order ruled according to a strict social hierarchy of class and privilege. He believes in this world view despite the fact that the world from which it came was destroyed by the war. The boys call Mr. Thomas “Old Misery,” and indeed he seems like a sad and lonely figure. Old Misery looks at the boys over his garden wall and reminisces on his boyhood, never realizing that the boys look upon him with disrespect. He is a pathetic figure, symbolizing a world that is too old and stuck in its ways to reinvent itself in the wake of destruction.
All these characters were more similar than different. Characteristics were a lot alike. Selfishness, pride and ignorance to name a few. Revenge was a motivational factor in both stories. The