Theme of Death in "The Quiet American" by Graham Greene

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This theme is connected mainly with Fw. He came to Vietnam to find his death. He knew there was war and he hoped that death would come to him quickly. He was tired, worn. We can feel his weariness with life, with the heat, with the whole human condition. He was pessimistic about everything. From childhood he had never believed in permanence, and yet he had longed for it. Always he was afraid of losing happiness. Phuong was happiness for him. That month, next year, she would leave him. She was young, full of life, as her sister and Pyle said, she needed children. Besides he was married and his wife refused to give him divorce. Pyle was his rival, amore eligible candidate for Phuong. He was young, polite, handsome, strong, secure, healthy, he could marry her. So, death was the only value for him. Lose life and one would lose nothing again for ever. Death was even far more certain than God, and with death there would be no longer the daily possibility of love dying. To kill a man is to grant him an immeasurable benefit. People always love their enemies. It is their friends they preserve for pain and vacuity. He knew life was cruel, full of betrayal, lie, indifference, loneliness, pain, suffering, promiscuity. He envied the officer condemned to the chance of death. But at the same time he contradicted himself. He had Phuong who slept beside him every night, and he didn’t want to die. Moreover, we remember the episode crossing the canal which had been full of bodies and reminded of an Irish stew containing too much meat. The bodies overlapped: one head, seal-grey, stuck up out of the water like a buoy. There was no blood: it had flowed away a long time ago. And Fw took his eyes away; he didn’t want to be reminded of how little they counted, how quickly, simply and anonymously death came. The death, that rotting flash, the human clay looked disgusting. Death takes away vanity. And even though he wanted the state of death, he was afraid like a virgin of the act. He...
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