This story is one that I really liked and tried to dig as deep as possible to find the meaning of it and the themes and, to my conclusion, it all has to so a lot with society and it’s ups and downs. It actually shows how society confronts disaster and it disrupts as a result of the fear and mistrust there is between those that form it. I wrote an essay about this but focalizing on the setting….
The setting for this story is London, nine years after the city survived a series of bombing attacks during WWⅡ. How does this setting contribute to the development of the story?
After a devious and disastrous war, big cities like London are damaged by the German “blitz”. The result is major destruction everywhere, even where the gang members lived. Due to this the destruction can symbolize different situations in society and economy. I’ll explain how this setting contributes to the development of the story.
The first point I would like to point out is how the society falls. The aftermath of the war is a disrupted society with a complete lack of inner trust and hope, and alongside this there are different reactions from the people in it. Kids are rebellious and do not want to follow the orders of grown ups and the law. So, gangs are formed taking inspiration from the U.S. and the children have made one called the Wormsley Common Gang. With the gang, the try to establish their own hierarchy. They have their own meeting spot, which is one of the less damaged places there, and are only a bunch of juvenile vandals. They challenge the law and authority of adults, but also themselves. This is when T. comes in and wants to demolish Old Misery’s house, the only house that stands after the blitz with little damage. The ‘broken down’ society is envious and cannot stand to see others in a better position then they are. There is no morale, no respect, no organization. It is all a fallen bunch of buildings and what is left is debris (that doesn’t let them advance as people) and rubble (broken and shattered after the big hit).
The second point I’d figure to share is how it’s related to the actual war, this time talking about Old Misery’s house. The gang hung out at a parking lot which was in almost perfect conditions. There, they were calm and played ball, and they also talked about plans and ideas. T. and the rest of the gang plan the incursion into Old Misery’s house to destroy it from the safe zone and execute it in the ‘enemy’ zone. I could see a connection between this event and the real war, when Germany plans their raid on England and later do so by destroying from up close (inside English territory).
Summing up this essay, the setting shows how the society disrupts after disaster and how it leads up to the story. It also mimics and mirrors the way of war, the “invasion of privacy” in a sort of way by trespassing (which is also a step of the Rite of Passage) and the similarities there is related to the setting and the development of the story.