In The Quiet American, the character of Fowler is, at first, presented as a selfish and uncaring man. However, this is not how he is perceived at the end of the story. Initially, the reader is shown that Fowler's ego prevents him from thinking of anyone other than himself. Fowler is no hero and spends a lot of time trying to convince us that he is not engage or involved. However, this is not how the reader finally sees Fowler at the conclusion of the story. As Fowler begins to get involved with the situation around him he begins to show that he isn't just an uncaring and selfish man.
At the beginning of The Quiet American, Fowler is portrayed as a cynical and self-centered character. It is expressed that Fowler does not care for anybody but himself, this includes Phuong. He is shown not to care for Phuong, her wants or needs, but only for the companionship she offers to him. This is especially expressed when Fowler says to Pyle "I don't care for her interests. You can have her interests. I only want her body. I want her in bed with me." This in itself is incredibly selfish of Fowler. Although Fowler is constantly sarcastic and cynical to Pyle "Like any other woman she'd rather have a good…" He does still see himself as Pyle's protector, "That was my first instinct - to protect him," this proves the fact that even though Fowler shows himself as a cynical observer, he is actually a compassionate participant in the events throughout the novel.
As the narrator, throughout the story Fowler paints a picture of himself as a reporter, an observer, but continually tries to convince the reader that he is "not involved." However, as the narrative progresses, we see that Fowler's attitude toward the events surrounding him become one of ever-increasing engagement. With this increased level of involvement, he begins to feel somewhat personally responsible for the events occurring around him. Likewise, as his involvement increases so does his true nature arise.