The Quiet American

The Quiet American - Margaret Stebbins Humanities 160...

Info iconThis preview shows pages 1–3. Sign up to view the full content.

View Full Document Right Arrow Icon
Margaret Stebbins Humanities 160 September 4, 11 The Quiet American The Quiet American , a novel by Graham Greene, is set in Vietnam during the first Indochina War from 1951-1954. The story is told from the point of view of the main character in the novel, Thomas Fowler, who is a British war correspondent working in Vietnam. Throughout the novel, Fowler struggles with multiple ethical dilemmas, ranging from what to do about his affair with a Vietnamese woman, Phuong, and his marriage to a woman back in England, to his indecision about what to report in his articles in order to get them published. One of Fowler’s main ethical problems is his reluctance to become involved in the conflict in Vietnam between the Vietnamese, the French and his friend Alden Pyle, the leader of the newly involved American force. Fowler’s eventual ethical dilemma is whether it is justifiable to kill Pyle to prevent Pyle’s further destruction of innocent people. Both choices involve death, and Fowler struggles with whether he is justified in killing Pyle for a greater good. Greene uses the idea of Fowler’s apathy at the beginning to suggest a larger, anti-war message. At the end of the novel, Fowler abandons his indifferent stance and makes a decision to aid in the murder of Pyle. Through Fowler’s out of character decision at the end, Greene presents the idea that one cannot stand back and watch while innocent people are murdered. He suggests that the motives and benefits, if they can even be called benefits, of war are not worth the costs of achieving them. The novel begins with Fowler insisting on his indifference to the war. When referring to his own apathy, Fowler explains, “It had been an article of my creed. The human condition being what is was, let them fight, let them love, let them murder, I
Background image of page 1

Info iconThis preview has intentionally blurred sections. Sign up to view the full version.

View Full DocumentRight Arrow Icon
would not be involved. My fellow journalists called themselves correspondents; I preferred the title of reporter. I wrote what I saw. I took no action—even an opinion is a
Background image of page 2
Image of page 3
This is the end of the preview. Sign up to access the rest of the document.

Page1 / 6

The Quiet American - Margaret Stebbins Humanities 160...

This preview shows document pages 1 - 3. Sign up to view the full document.

View Full Document Right Arrow Icon
Ask a homework question - tutors are online