The Quiet American referat

The Quiet American

Henry Graham Greene was born on October 2, 1904 in Berkhamsted, Hertfordshire. His father Charles Henry was headmaster of the private school Grraham attended. The fourth of six children, Greene was very shy and sensitive. He disliked sports and was often truant from school in order to read adventure stories by authors such as Rider Haggard and Ballantyne. These novels had a deep influence on him and helped to shape his writing style.
Greene was educated at Berkhamstead School and Balliol College, Oxford. He had a natural talent for writing, worked for the Times of London and published lots of poems, stories, articles and reviews. In 1927 he married Vivien Dayrell-Browning. After the collapse of their marriage he had several relationships. During World War II Greene worked for the Foreign Office in London. Greene died in Vevey, Switzerland, on April 3, 1991. Graham Greene is an English novelist, short-story writer and journalist, whose novels treat moral issues in the context of political settings. Greene is one of the most read novelist of the 20th-century, an excellent storyteller. Adventure and suspense are constant elements in his novels and many of his books have been made into successful films. Greene was a candidate for the Nobel Prize for Literature several times, but he never received the award.

The Quiet American is set in Vietnam 1952, during the end of the French occupation and start of the American involvement. Thomas Fowler, a foreign correspondent for a newspaper in London, who is living there starts feeling comfortable at his new location, although he has to report stories of the war between the French army and the Communists in Vietnam. The consequence of this personal feeling is the neglect of his work. Thomas starts an affair with a Vietnamese girl named Phuong. She is a young dance girl, decades younger than Fowler, but she lives with him and loves him because he provides for her. He is married to a woman back in London, but Phuong tells him all the things he truly wants to hear. With her, he can believe that he is youngl and attractive again. He is important and special. And with him, she feels save from the poverty that has struck so many Vietnamese women. His everyday life consists of drinking tea at the Hotel Continental, having expensive dinners and consuming opium. But when he gets to know Alden Pyle, a young American working for the Economic Aid Mission, his life changes. Pyle seemed to be an idealistic person, extremely friendly and enchanted by the exotic Vietnam, whose desires and wishes are fulfilled here. This attitude irritates Fowler, especially when Alden starts to fall in love with Phuong. So Thomas tries to get a divorce from his wife, who is in London at the time, to keep away Pyle from taking Phuong . Fowler’s aim is to get married to Phuong. Unfortunately, the newspaper Fowler is working for wants to get him back to London and reward him for his efforts in covering the war in Vietnam. But Fowler wants to stay in Vietnam, so he is forced to cover the war.

Graham Greene's 'The Quiet American' offers us a literary prediction of American involvement in Vietnam and the rest of Indochina. This novel works as a catching thriller, and shows the contrasts between, the older, indeed cynical, Englishman Fowler, and his seemingly naive American counterpart, Pyle who wants to create a “third force”. A study in contrasts about their relationship with Phuong, the Vietnamese woman whom Fowler regards as his own, before she is seduced by Pyle. For me the book was difficult to read! 186 pages about war, not the books I prefer. The connection of English and some French phrases and also one German sentence is very unusual the same as giving the knowledge of Pyles death, at the beginning of the book, I think. There were given many political aspects but I can hardly remember, because it was so much information. As I visited China I got to know a bit of the Chinese traditions, culture, climate and the nature. The close relation after short time of the British and the American man seemed strange to me, but as I remembered our sightseeing trip, I understand that they stick together so close. Everything there is so different, you can´t read anything, only few people speek English, the religion is completely different and they have other traditions.


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