Analysis of The Quiet American by Graham Greene

Title: The Quiet American

Author: Graham Greene

Context: The Quiet American (1955) is a post colonial novel by Graham Greene. The novel combines a cautionary story of involvement of the West in Vietnam with a murder mystery. It concerns different relationships between a naïve and quiet CIA operative, Alden Pyle an American, Thomas Fowler the narrator of the story and a world-weary journalist from England.

Synopsis: The story is about a young brash idealist name Pyle who is assigned a secretive assignment to Saigon, by Washington. During that time in Vietnam the Vietminh guerillas the French Army are struggling against each other. Pyle intentionally indulges in a blunder which ends up in bloodshed.  A cynical and seasoned British reporter named Fowler is a silent observer but finds it difficult to stand aside and maintain silence on this.

However his intentions for intervening seem distrustful to both himself as well as the police. The reason behind this is that Pyle has stolen away the charming Vietnamese mistress of Fowler. The novel has been adapted to film twice and remains a prescient and portrays innocence at large in the most prophetic and terrifying manner. The Quiet American is a classic investigation of morality, innocence and love in Vietnam. Doings of the well-intentioned agent of the government of America in Vietnam in the middle of the anti-French uprising there during the early 1950s is chronicled in Graham Greene’s novel, The Quiet American.

Other works by the Author:

Select Works

1929 – The Man Within

1932 – Stamboul Train

1934 – It’s a Battlefield

1935 – England Made Me

1936 – A Gun for Sale

1936 – Journey Without Maps

1938 – Brighton Rock

1939 – The Confidential Agent

1940 – The Power and the Glory

1943 – The Ministry of Fear

1948 – The Heart of the Matter

1949 – The Third Man

1951 – The End of the Affair

1954 – Twenty-One Stories

1955 – Loser Takes All

1956 – The Potting Shed

1958 – Our Man in Havana

1960 – A Burnt-Out Case

1961 – In Search of a Character

1966 – The Comedians

1969 – Travels with My Aunt

1971 – A Sort of Life

1973 – The Honorary Consul

1978 – The Human Factor

1980 – Ways of Escape

1980 – Doctor Fischer of Geneva

1982 – Monsignor Quixote

1985 – The Tenth Man

1990 – The Last Word (Short Stories)