The Quiet American Characters

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Thomas Fowler is a British journalist in his fifties who has been covering the French war in Vietnam for over two years. He has become a very jaded and cynical man. He meets Alden Pyle and finds him naïve. Throughout the book Fowler is often caught in lies and sometimes there may be speculation that he is lying to himself. Fowlers relationship with Vietnamese woman Phuong often fuels the conflict in the story, especially between Fowler and Pyle. Fowler is also used as a metaphor to describe the character. The word foul is relatively similar to his last name and connections can be made about the character's actions in the book. Alden Pyle is the "quiet American" of the title. Pyle is thoughtful, soft-spoken, intellectual, serious, and idealistic. He comes from a privileged East Coast background. His father is a renowned professor of underwater erosion who has appeared on the cover of Time magazine; his mother is well respected in their community. Pyle is a brilliant graduate of Harvard University. He has studied theories of government and society, and is particularly devoted to a scholar named York Harding. Harding's theory is that neither Communism nor colonialism is the answer in foreign lands like Vietnam, but rather a "Third Force", usually a combination of traditions, works best. Pyle has read Harding's numerous books many times and has adopted Harding's thinking as his own. Pyle also strives to be a member of this "Third Force". The Pyle character is partly modelled on US military counter-insurgency expert Edward Lansdale, who was stationed in Vietnam 1953-1957.[3] Phuong, Fowler’s lover at the beginning of the novel, is a beautiful young Vietnamese woman who stays with him for security and protection, and leaves him for the same reason. She is viewed by Fowler as a lover to be taken for granted and by Pyle as a delicate flower to be protected, but Greene never makes clear which, if either, of these views is actually the truth. Pyle's desire for Phuong was...
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