Themes Surrounding The Vietnam War. Essay

1423 words - 6 pages

Graham Greene's novel, "The Quiet American," explores a wide range of themes surrounding the dilemma in Vietnam during the Indochina War. Being published in 1955, well before US direct military involvement in Vietnam, gives a perspective of Greene as himself as he was living during the time of turmoil in Vietnam through the main character Thomas Fowler. One can see the interest Greene had in Vietnam and his opinions surrounding the chaotic atmosphere in Southeast Asia. Different characters represent different political views, and sometimes lack there of. Although Greene lives through Fowler, each character holds equal weight in the scheme of the book and the underlying political environment created by Greene.Not only are characters of the book key components to the personal views of Greene but also serve as the conflicts and accords between interests of the United States, powerful and influential people of the world, the Vietnamese people and Vietnamese Nationalists. The relationship these characters form between each other is representative of different sects during this time in history.Alden Pyle, a humble do-gooder who also runs an arms trade under wraps while posing as a humanitarian agent of the Economic Mission. He is an American hiding behind the façade of someone with a legitimate purpose. His involvement in against the Japanese and French occupations is noble. He however goes wrong when he becomes too involved. His involvement leads to his death; which may have been a premonition Greene had of future US involvement in Vietnam. Greene makes his views of a resistance towards involvement in other countries' issues clear. Foreign powers should stay foreign countries.Pyle also is involved in a love triangle with Fowler and Phuong is also of intrigue. He can care of little more than he does of Phuong whom he wishes to marry and would have had Fowler not been overcome by his jealousy. So powerful can love be, enough to want to end another person's life. Phuong, however, is not prone to being emotionally attached to either of these men. She simply wants free of the country she lives in as the people of Vietnam want free of the foreign reign which has governed them for eons.Phuong, the beautiful young dancer of a mere twenty years of age. Siagon's finest, and if only Fowler could make her his he may have been satisfied. She was as the Vietnamese people were, she wanted what the Vietnamese people wanted, a way out. Regardless of the route to be taken, she wanted to take the best route she could without thought of the men who loved her. She is ready to do what it takes to have a better life.Phuong's older sister, Miss Hei, also wants a better life. She has expressions Nationalism to a degree. She want for her sister, Vietnam, to wed a westerner (Pyle), the US. She represents those who are ready to form an alliance with the west if it means bettering their situation, which can also be seen as Ho Chi Minh. What may come of an alliance between...

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