Ideas of ‘The Quiet American’ Shades of grey No one is completely innocent of inflicting harm on another. “l told myself again I was innocent”. Indeed it is the innocent who Fowler sees as more capable of hurting others of their ignorance, “They killed him because he was too innocent to live. He was young and ignorant and silly and he got involved”. Greene uses many symbols to this demonstrate these shades. Light being one, and the manifestation of an explosion; the Vietnamese people are ageless and often child-like in appearance, although Greene in no way infanticides these people.
Pyle is idealistic and strives for nor – he insists upon being fair, but we do not admire him for these heroic ideals. Indeed, we can see how dangerous and unthinking heroes can be – while they may be trying to help, they risk the lives of other people than their own. But nor do we admire Fowler himself for being a bystander – it is clear to him and to us that he must act to stop the heroic antics of Pyle.
Don’t waste your time!
Order your assignment!
When Fowler is the victim in the love- triangle that dominates much of the narrative, we do not feel sorry for him, but understand that this is the last in a long line of failed romantic relationships that Fowler did not try hard enough to maintain. Inertia is as despicable a reaction to conflict as action. Setting The Quiet American is set for the most part in Saigon, which seems separate from the war, ‘l like it here. At home there are – problems. ‘ Much of the social activity – particularly for the westerners – is drinking and dancing.
The dancing is a symbol of the thin veneer of civilization and of pre tense. Fowler and Pyle are, naturally, very bad dancers. When Fowler goes out to the country-side, to “take a look at the war”, he contrasts the horror and carnage of the war with the softness of the natural light and the beauty of the landscape. It is in the country that Fowler is confronted not only by the war, but by Apple’s declaration of love for Phonon. However, Fowler is seemingly able to separate the war outside of Saigon, almost as though it does not exist, until Hen brings his attention to Apple’s activities in Saigon.
Although he is able to write somewhat callously of the dead bodies in rivers as like ‘meat’, when he sees the dead and dying in the marketplace of Saigon, he is affected, and must act. It is hard to separate yourself From Conflict. Obviously conflict is a recurring idea in Green’s novel and a point he makes about his theme is that you are always drawn into conflict when it presents itself to you, your family or your community, “both he who chooses heads and he who chooses tails are equally at fault”.
Conflict affects everyone no matter who you are-rich or poor, and no matter where it is people of any stature will be affected, and it is for such reasons that it is hard to draw yourself away from conflict. Those that cause conflict aren’t always the mostly affected by it, “we have to go on fighting till the politicians tell us to stop”. Conflict: Graham Greene and Pyle By hoodooed