Graham Greene's The Quiet American: Theme of Idealism vs. Realism

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The author of The Quiet American book; Graham Greene, explores the theme of idealism vs. realism strongly but delicately; because it is present as the background of the novel. In this paper, I will try to give my feelings and arguments of how I think the author managed to deliver a complete story with more than just one theme. The one that caught my attention this time is the most relevant one; the analogy between idealism and realism. One of the most easy-to-recognize fact is that the main characters of the novel perfectly represent the two poles. Pyle is a young and idealistic man and Fowler, is an old and realistic man. This is clearly demonstrated by the innocence of Pyle, who was in contrast with Fowler; the character who tries to knock sense into him. For example, he did not understand the damaged he caused by helping the third force. Moreover, when Fowler tries to make him understand what he has done in the incident of the bombing at Saigon, for example, he seems to be blind from reality, and did not accept his responsibility. Another relationship I could find is the real experience of the author in World War II and how he joined a story of love and war. He blends both the realism of this period and his experience and the idealism of love. The way on how the two men describe love, and more precisely, the Vietnamese woman Phoung, prove it; Pyle’s vision about her is that she is as a delicate flower to be protected, while Fowler’s vision is that she is as a lover to be taken by granted. If we go deeper into Pyle’s personality, we would see that this character is a well developed example of realism vs. idealism. Pyle is the typical today’s American and the typical American from fifty years ago, when wars and abuses were not almost penalized because of the false ingenuity of these people. Americans are well known for their selective memory, which in this case reveals something that goes against human rights. I think that the author created this character...
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