Journey Essay - the Quiet American

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‘The Quiet American’ by Grahame Greene is more of a political statement than anything else, condensing the main characters to represent each country and their involvement in the Vietnam War. But Green makes this political issue into a human and personal one. The novel explores the concept of inner conflict as represented by Fowler’s journey throughout the novel. Fowler from the very beginning insists that he is not engaged, he only reports what he sees because that’s his job. But he realises what Pyle is involved with in Vietnam he finds himself forced onto a path of action to take action against Pyle on a public and personal level. From the start of the novel Fowler maintains his stature of degage in which he only reports what he sees and does not get involved with what’s happening because he is a reporter and that is his job. Fowler even acknowledges his disengagement, stating “I’m not involved… let them fight, let them love, let them murder. I would not be involved... I referred the title of reporter, I wrote down what I saw, I took no action. Even an opinion is a kind of action.” The repetition of the word ‘I’ is used to emphasize that he does not and will not become involved, he is strictly a reporter. Fowler’s use of opium is a symbol for his disengaged self and his escape from his own caged reality with his commitments in the UK and letting his mind free, if only for a while. The use of opium gives Fowler a numbing effect, as an effect of the drug, which reflects the emotional and moral disengagement he has from reality, calming the nerves and stilling the emotions. As the novel progresses Fowler’s inner journey continues, finding himself being pushed onto the path of engage through his experiences with Pyle. He becomes wary and suspicious of Pyle’s true motives as their relationship progresses saying “I never knew a man who had better motives for all the

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