• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Discuss the presentation of the differences in the social, personal, and sexual freedom of the main characters in "The Quiet American"

Extracts from this document...


Discuss the presentation of the differences in the social, personal, and sexual freedom of the main characters in "The Quiet American" The Quiet American compiles many differences in social, personal and sexual freedom; Graham Greene portrays an almost explicit class system that exists in Vietnam. The main protagonists provide evident support for such a notion as Fowler represents an upper class westerner and Phuong a working class Vietnamese. Phuong is a symbol of Vietnam's social restriction and sexual exploitation of women and although from a good background is reliant on Fowler. This microcosm relationship of Phuong and Fowler represents much of the macro situation of Vietnam, of how the Vietnamese are dependent on the western presence. To the contrary, in elements this argument can incorporate Fowler's reliance on Phuong and how the west is in turn reliant on the Vietnamese which will be discussed in more depth within this essay. The social divisions plague the country and exist between north and south (communism and democracy), also a Vietnam and foreign divide and a gender divide. The is an ever growing divide as the story elaborates more of a "third force" which causes an extremist breakaway militant force that begins to become more important to the plot of the story as it evolves. The underlying parable in the novel of vices and virtues of a morality novel, follow a distinct religious path that is central too much of Greene's previous work but is less apparent in this novel as with previous works. ...read more.


The bloody murder at the end combines to support this culture. The government before was no different being a totalitarian leadership style. The Vietnamese are the only who could have pursued such a grim defensive fight for so long without a deep underlying yearning for freedom because of there previous government. Fowler and Phuong symbolise the western and Vietnamese relationship as Fowler is demanding or at least controlling at times over Phuong as she initially plays a stereotypical Vietnamese partner. She bowls down to this domineering way of Fowler as she is feeble Vietnamese girlfriend. This oppression that exists But we later find out, she's not as feeble as she seems when she leaves Fowler and we see Fowlers independence and pride dented and broken as he is now reliant on Phuong emotionally and physically. Phuong's independence and expression of sexual, social and personal freedom she was previously restricted to with Fowler can also be compared to how socially the Vietnamese want to abandon western control to adopt a more traditional culture run by the Vietnamese them selves instead of foreign influence. The obvious personal freedom which dominates the novel is that of Fowler. This has been criticised because all the other characters receive little depth and explanation, John Lehman of the New Republic newspaper (1955), an original reviewer of the book when it was published described the characters as plain to the reader as "two dimensional cardboard". He went on to state that their purpose in the novel was of "little or no reality outside their function in the narrative". ...read more.


Social freedom is again evident through the character of Phuong as Fowler's character is dominating and controlling of Phuong, mainly because of his fear of loosing her. The social freedom of the general population is limited from the totalitarian leadership that existed from government them by the military forces in place of government followed a similar style of leadership. This fuelled the Vietnamese people, to rebel from the oppression that existed to obtain freedom eventually. Personal freedom is most evidently expressed in the case of Fowler's personal freedom. This is where we most see the underlying parable of religions Vices and moral. His Roman Catholic wife is not allowing him to divorce. The domino effect of this is that he has no freedom to re-marry and Phuong wishes him to marry her so she feels more secure in a world of insecurity and little hope. So this reduces his relationship chances and possibilities. His personal freedom is not only due to this marriage problem but his own internal battle for perhaps more freedom from his naivety and personality. He self contains and doesn't get involved which restricts his freedom. Nothing is more effective in Greene's bid to express his dark nature than when Fowler casually comments on the film he sees just before Pyle's murder: "it was what they call a film for boys, but the sight of Oedipus emerging with his bleeding eyeballs from the palace at Thebes would surely give better training for life today" Paul Cocks 13RW ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level International History, 1945-1991 section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level International History, 1945-1991 essays

  1. THe Quiet American - Pyle is nice and reliable. Discuss

    The situation also establishes that Pyle is very honorable as he risks his life to tell Fowler about his love for Phuong and insists he "wouldn't split up a man from his wife." Pyle also saves Fowler's life at the watchtower, even though the Englishman is his rival for Phuong.

  2. Take two of the leading characters in the Brecth play you have studied and ...

    are for Mother Courage stock items that lead to orders, and thus captial. War accoding to the Seargant and Mother Courage, is just 'bussiness'- no war no orders. War therefore is a continuation of bussiness, that makes the humabn virtues fatal to even their possessors.

  1. Jane Austen's novel Pride and Prejudice is a tale of love and marriage in ...

    arrogance, (his) conceit, and (his) selfish disdain of the feelings of others". Elizabeth Bennet is a spirited character. She has a playful and light-hearted disposition. She is confident, loyal, clever and funny. She found delight " in anything ridiculous", which included an insult to her beauty.

  2. China's Relationship With The West

    She then said, "We determined some time ago that it's not a good idea to link human rights with trade." During her visit to China, she put a lot of pressure on them about the issues of human rights. However, she made a point of treating them better before she

  1. Free essay

    To what extent are Walter Scott(TM)s novels a product of the Scottish Enlightenment? Discuss ...

    Voltaire's quotation above and by the title of James Buchan's book Crowded With Genius: The Scottish Enlightenment. From Glasgow University arose the names Francis Hutcheson, Adam Smith, Thomas Reid, and John Millar; from the University of Edinburgh, Adam Ferguson, Dugald Stewart, and William Robertson (Herman, 2001: p.29).

  2. Ugly or Quiet American

    and blundering Alden Pyle serves as a metaphor for Greene's critique of American foreign policy. Although it fancied itself different from Europe in its "lack" of colonial aspirations, the United States ended up assuming many of Britain's colonial responsibilities after World War II.

  1. Discussing Freedom.

    Why, you ask? - to defend our freedom. Today, because of the philosophers, you have what is called 'academic freedom'. Because of the work of some anarchists you have freedom of speech and _expression. Because of the civil rights leader, you have the freedom to dream.

  2. American Culture Today.

    Each person that flies the stars and stripes on the United State's flag should understand what they are flying. The pride associated with the American flag is known all over the world. Not every country understands and supports the ideal of America, and these countries have an opinion based on obscured knowledge.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work