"The Quiet American", by Graham Greene: Fowler and Pyle, comparative synopsis.

Essay by r0xleyCollege, UndergraduateA+, September 2005

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Throughout the novel "The Quiet American", authored by Graham Greene, a conflict of identity is seen to occur within the narrator and protagonist, Fowler. Due to the complexity of his character, Fowler as a narrator provides a valued yet sometimes flawed insight into the turmoil of his mind. This turmoil is none better displayed through his indecisive nature about whether or not he is similar to Pyle, the naive, inexperienced, and serious American operative working under the guise of an economic aid missionary. As we are drawn into Fowler's complex web of determining who he really is, he makes the statement that "Was I so different from Pyle...? Must I too have my foot thrust in the mess of life before I saw the pain?" For as much as Fowler doubts himself here, both him and Pyle and very much two separate entities. The similarities they may share are far outweighed by their differences, not to say that this encroaches upon their genuine friendship; but it is seen through many instances such as valuing life, experience, love, ideologies, and even the way they hold the relationship between themselves.

This is mainly due to the separate worlds they have encountered; with Pyle it is one comprised of books from which he sources experience from theory. However with Fowler, his knowledge comes not from books but reality, his experience being exactly that.

Fowler's realistic views provide a sharp contrast to Pyle's idealistic theories, especially when their political ideologies and their attitudes towards the Vietnam situation come into play. Immediately from the outset, Pyle is eager for action, paying attention to the slightest bang in hope of a grenade. He seeks action, adventure, and has an unwavering desire to change the whole political scope of Vietnam for the better of the people. However,