The Quiet American

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  • Topic: Opium
  • Pages : 3 (1323 words )
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  • Published : December 3, 2006
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"The Quiet American"

How long can you sit on the fence and not get involved? How long before you're forced to choose sides? Thomas Fowler learns the answers to this dilemma the hard way. Fowler at the onset of our story, describes himself as being an objective observer, purposely not taking sides, just telling over the facts. "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 kind of action. (20)" He even goes to the extent of frequently using opium so as not to have an opinion about his own well being. It came to the point where he felt that being alive was neither a good nor bad thing. "Aren't we all better off dead? the opium reasoned with me. (10)" It seems Fowler doesn't even develop an opinion about the relationship between Pyle and himself. In response to Vigot's statement about being friends with Pyle, Fowler responds "I am a friend…Why not? (9)". Thomas also has a relationship with Phuong, but only views it in terms of a physical aspect and a service aspect, not letting emotions get involved. Thomas uses Phuong for her body and to prepare his opium pipes. Even when faced with the challenge of losing Phuong to Pyle, he only expresses her meaning to him exaggeratedly to his wife back home and not to Pyle or Phuong. And in the end, Fowler only "wins" her back as a result of Pyle's death, not anything he did. Fowler wasn't judgmental of anyone. When trying to accurately describe Pyle to Vigot, Thomas says "A quiet American, I summed him precisely up as I might have said ‘a blue lizard,' ‘a white elephant.'(9)" The final way that Fowler decides to describe Pyle, even after setting him up to be killed is in three words, ‘a quiet American'. Nothing he says is really penetrating about his personality, just that he's quiet and hails from America. Fowler, in a letter from his wife, is again exposed for never taking sides. "You say that we've always tried to...
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