The Quiet American

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About The Quiet American The Quiet American Summary Character List Glossary Themes Quotes and Analysis Part One, Chapter 1 Part One, Chapter 2 Part One, Chapter 3 Part One, Chapter 4 Part One, Chapter 5 Part Two, Chapter 1 Part Two, Chapter 2 Part Two, Chapter 3 Part Three, Chapter 1 Part Three, Chapter 2 Part Four, Chapter 1 Part Four, Chapter 2 Part Four, Chapter 3 Symbols, Allegory and Motifs Metaphors and Similes Irony Imagery Film Adaptation of The Quiet American (2002) Film Adaptation of The Quiet American (1958) Literary Elements Related Links Essay Questions Quiz 1 Quiz 2 Quiz 3 Quiz 4 Citations

The Quiet American is a novel by Graham Greene that is set in Vietnam in the early 1950s. The story takes place in the midst of the conflict between the Viet Minh and the South Vietnamese, who are supported by the French. The novel is narrated by the protagonist, Thomas Fowler, a British war journalist who has been living in Saigon for an extended period of time. He refuses to engage in the conflict or to form opinions - he instead prefers to simply report the facts. Fowler frequently disagrees with a young American named Alden Pyle, who works for the Economic Aid Mission. The novel begins with Pyle's death, but the circumstances of his murder are unknown until the novel's final chapter. Vigot, a French policeman, initially suspects Fowler in Pyle's demise, but he adamantly denies the charge. From there, the novel goes into a series of flashbacks that illustrate the erratic history between Pyle and Fowler. Soon after Pyle's arrival in Saigon, he falls in love with Phuong, Fowler's Vietnamese lover. Pyle decides that he wants to woo Phuong away from Fowler, who cannot marry her because he has a wife at home in London. Their love triangle has many twists and turns, but the climax of the novel occurs when Fowler finds out that Pyle is involved in deadly espionage with the hopes of establishing the guerrilla General Thé as an American-backed Third Force in the war. Pyle believes that the death of Vietnamese civilians is necessary to further the cause of "democracy," but Fowler is disgusted by Pyle's overly simplified point of view. The narrative unfolds in a non-linear fashion, allowing Greene to build up the suspense surrounding the question that forms the novel's core: Did Thomas Fowler have anything to do with the death of Alden Pyle? In the final chapter of The Quiet American, Fowler finally reveals - to the reader, not to any of the other characters - that he assisted a Communist leader in assassinating Pyle after finding out that Pyle was involved in the bombing of a public square.

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  • Study Guide Navigation
  • About The Quiet American
  • The Quiet American Summary
  • Character List
  • Glossary
  • Themes
  • Quotes and Analysis
  • Summary And Analysis
    • Part One, Chapter 1
    • Part One, Chapter 2
    • Part One, Chapter 3
    • Part One, Chapter 4
    • Part One, Chapter 5
    • Part Two, Chapter 1
    • Part Two, Chapter 2
    • Part Two, Chapter 3
    • Part Three, Chapter 1
    • Part Three, Chapter 2
    • Part Four, Chapter 1
    • Part Four, Chapter 2
    • Part Four, Chapter 3
  • Symbols, Allegory and Motifs
  • Metaphors and Similes
  • Irony
  • Imagery
  • Other
  • Literary Elements
  • Related Links
  • Essay Questions
  • Quizzes - Test Yourself!
  • Citations
  • Related Content
  • Study Guide
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  • Q & A
  • Lesson Plan
  • Mini-Store
  • Graham Greene Biography

The Quiet American Questions and Answers

The Question and Answer section for The Quiet American is a great resource to ask questions, find answers, and discuss the novel.

I think that themes are more effective than morals. Still, if you need a moral, you might consider that violence is always bad for both a people and their country. Check out the GradeSaver themes page below:

Asked by Jana T #567169

Answered by Aslan on 10/22/2016 4:43 PM View All Answers

I'm not sure what you are asking here. What "development process" are you referring to?

Asked by SAMMU M #512236

Answered by Aslan on 3/19/2016 6:58 PM View All Answers

The novel can seem anti American due to the fact Americans are seen as murderers. For example when a bomb goes off in a crowd of people. The Vietnamese are seen as the victims.

Asked by jon e #269113

Answered by tracey c #171707 on 5/26/2014 8:10 PM View All Answers
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Study Guide for The Quiet American

The Quiet American study guide contains a biography of Graham Greene, literature essays, quiz questions, major themes, characters, and a full summary and analysis.

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Essays for The Quiet American

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