Short summary - The Quiet American - Henry Graham Greene

British literature summaries -

Short summary - The Quiet American
Henry Graham Greene

Alden Pyle is a spokesman for the economic department of the US embassy in Saigon, an antagonist to Fowler, another hero of the novel. Being a generalized image of very specific political forces and methods of struggle on the world stage, the figure of O. P. carries in itself a deeper and broader meaning. We are faced with a fairly familiar type of human behavior that emerged precisely in the 20th century, in the era of acute ideological confrontation between states and systems, when the ideological conviction of a person who is not able to think independently and critically turns around at the mental level with a kind of programmed judgments and actions, stereotyped thinking, aspiring to enclose the complexity of human relations in ready-made frameworks and schemes. For O. P. there is nothing individual, private, unique. Everything that he sees is experienced by himself, he seeks to bring under a system of concepts, correlate with some supposedly forever given rules, a model of relations: he compares his love experience with the findings of Kinsey statistics, his impressions of Vietnam with the point of view of American political commentators. Everyone killed for him is either a "red danger" or a "warrior of democracy." The artistic originality of the novel is based on the juxtaposition and contrasting of the two main characters: Fowler and O.P. O.P. looks much more prosperous: he graduated from Harvard, he is from a good family, young and rather rich. Everything is subject to the rules of morality, but morality is formal. So, he takes the girl away from his friend Fowler, and explains this by saying that she will be better off with him, he can give her what Fowler cannot: marry her and give her a position in society; his life is reasonable and measured. Gradually O. P. turns into a carrier of aggression. «In vain, I already did not pay attention to this fanatical gleam in his eyes, did not understand how his words, magic numbers hypnotize him: the fifth column, the third force, the second coming ...» - Fowler thinks about him. The third force that can and should save Vietnam, and at the same time help establish US domination in the country, according to O.P. and those who direct it, should be national democracy. Fowler warns O.P .: «This is your third power — these are all book inventions, not more. "General Tkhe is just a thug with two to three thousand soldiers, this is not the third democracy.» But O.P. cannot be persuaded. He organizes an explosion in the square, and innocent women and children die, and O.P., standing in the square filled with corpses, cares about the insignificant: «He looked at the wet spot on his shoe and in a fallen voice asked: - What is it? «Blood,» I said, «have you never seen, or what?» «You must definitely clean it, you cannot go to the messenger,» he said ... «By the time the story begins, O.P. is dead — he appears before us in Fowler’s thoughts:« I thought: «What is the point of talking to him? He will remain righteous, but can the righteous be blamed - they are never guilty of anything. They can only be restrained or destroyed. The righteous is also a kind of insane. » but is it possible to blame the righteous - they are never guilty of anything. They can only be restrained or destroyed. The righteous is also a kind of insane. » but is it possible to blame the righteous - they are never guilty of anything. They can only be restrained or destroyed. The righteous is also a kind of insane. »

Thomas Fowler is an English journalist based in South Vietnam from 1951–1955. A tired, mentally devastated man, in many ways similar to Scobie, the hero of Graham Green's other novel, Essence. He believes that his duty is to report only facts to newspapers, his assessment does not concern him, he does not want to interfere in anything, seeks to remain a neutral observer. In Saigon, T.F. has long been, and the only thing he cherishes that keeps him there is love for the Vietnamese girl Phu-ong. But the American Alden Pyle appears, who takes Fuong away. The novel begins with the murder of Payla and with the fact that Fuong returns to T.F. But then comes the retrospection. The police are looking for a criminal, and at the same time T.F. recalls Paile: he saved him during the attack of the Vietnamese partisans, literally taking him to a safe place, risking his own life. Like a good deed? Pyle annoys T.F. with his ideas, his peremptory behavior bordering on fanaticism. Having finally found out that the explosion in the square, arranged by the Americans, which killed women and children, was not done by Pyle’s handiwork, T. F. could not stand it and passed it into the hands of the Vietnamese partisans: «You would have looked at him ... He stood there and said that all this was a sad misunderstanding that a parade was to take place ... There, in the square, a woman was killed by a child ... She covered him with a straw hat. " After Pyle’s death, the fate of T. F. somehow settles itself: he remains in Vietnam - «this honest country», where poverty is not covered by shy covers; the woman who had once easily left him for Pyle, with the same naturalness of gain, now comes back easily and sadly. its peremptory behavior bordering on fanaticism. Having finally found out that the explosion in the square, arranged by the Americans, which killed women and children, was not done by Pyle’s handiwork, T. F. could not stand it and passed it into the hands of the Vietnamese partisans: «You would have looked at him ... He stood there and said that all this was a sad misunderstanding that a parade was to take place ... There, in the square, a woman was killed by a child ... She covered him with a straw hat. " After Pyle’s death, the fate of T. F. somehow settles itself: he remains in Vietnam - «this honest country», where poverty is not covered by shy covers; the woman who had once easily left him for Pyle, with the same naturalness of gain, now comes back easily and sadly. its peremptory behavior bordering on fanaticism. Having finally found out that the explosion in the square, arranged by the Americans, which killed women and children, was not done by Pyle’s handiwork, T. F. could not stand it and passed it into the hands of the Vietnamese partisans: «You would have looked at him ... He stood there and said that all this was a sad misunderstanding that a parade was to take place ... There, in the square, a woman was killed by a child ... She covered him with a straw hat. " After Pyle’s death, the fate of T. F. somehow settles itself: he remains in Vietnam - «this honest country», where poverty is not covered by shy covers; the woman who had once easily left him for Pyle, with the same naturalness of gain, now comes back easily and sadly. as a result of which women and children died, the work of Pyle’s hands, T. F. does not stand up and passes it into the hands of the Vietnamese partisans: «You would have looked at him ... He stood there and said that all this was a sad misunderstanding that he had to a parade will take place ... There, in the square, one woman killed a child ... She covered him with a straw hat. " After Pyle’s death, the fate of T. F. somehow settles itself: he remains in Vietnam - «this honest country», where poverty is not covered by shy covers; the woman who had once easily left him for Pyle, with the same naturalness of gain, now comes back easily and sadly. as a result of which women and children died, the work of Pyle’s hands, T. F. does not stand up and passes it into the hands of the Vietnamese partisans: «You would have looked at him ... He stood there and said that all this was a sad misunderstanding that he should have a parade will take place ... There, in the square, one woman killed a child ... She covered him with a straw hat. " After Pyle’s death, the fate of T. F. somehow settles itself: he remains in Vietnam - «this honest country», where poverty is not covered by shy covers; the woman who had once easily left him for Pyle, with the same naturalness of gain, now comes back easily and sadly. There, in the square, one woman killed a child ... She covered him with a straw hat. " After Pyle’s death, the fate of T. F. somehow settles itself: he remains in Vietnam - «this honest country», where poverty is not covered by shy covers; the woman who had once easily left him for Pyle, with the same naturalness of gain, now comes back easily and sadly. There, in the square, one woman killed a child ... She covered him with a straw hat. " After Pyle’s death, the fate of T. F. somehow settles itself: he remains in Vietnam - «this honest country», where poverty is not covered by shy covers; the woman who had once easily left him for Pyle, with the same naturalness of gain, now comes back easily and sadly.