The Quiet American

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The Quiet American Part 4, Chapter 2, Section 3 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Having just invited Pyle to dinner, Fowler goes to the Majestic to see a film. On the way, he encounters Wilkins, a fellow reporter. They chat about their journalistic projects. Wilkins invites Fowler to dinner, but Fowler says that he’ll be at the Vieux Moulin. Wilkins mentions that Granger will be there, as well. Wilkins and Fowler part ways, and Fowler watches Robin Hood in the theater.
The presence of Granger at the Vieux Moulin gives Fowler a clear reason not to go to the restaurant that night. Similarly, there’s no particular reason why Fowler needs to leave the film early to go to the restaurant. It’s as if Fowler is trying to punish himself as much as possible for killing Pyle—but he still isn’t willing to save Pyle’s life.
Themes
Vietnam and the West Theme Icon
Impartiality and Action Theme Icon
Inevitability of Death Theme Icon
Friendship, Loyalty, and Betrayal Theme Icon
Fowler walks out of Robin Hood early and takes a trishaw to the Vieux Moulin. Arrived at the restaurant, he asks for a table for one. Saying this out loud almost makes him admit to himself that Pyle is dead. Inside the restaurant, he sees that Granger is sitting in the back with a few friends. Fowler sits and waits, though he’s not sure what he’s waiting for. Perhaps Pyle will be killed by a bomb as he walks to the Vieux Moulin, or perhaps he’ll be shot or stabbed.
Fowler tries to conceal his own guilt, but he finds this (understandably) impossible—even the act of asking for a table for one reminds him of how important a role he’s played in Pyle’s death.
Themes
Vietnam and the West Theme Icon
Impartiality and Action Theme Icon
Inevitability of Death Theme Icon
Friendship, Loyalty, and Betrayal Theme Icon
As Fowler waits for news of Pyle’s death, Granger approaches him, and asks him to step outside. Fowler obliges—outside, Granger tells Fowler that he doesn’t like him in the least, because Fowler is an effeminate Englishman. Nevertheless, Granger wants Fowler to help him travel north of Saigon so that he can report on politics in Hanoi. Fowler seems reluctant, but Granger insists that Fowler must help him— Granger’s son has polio. Fowler offers to complete Granger’s story for him. Granger seems reluctant to accept this offer, since he’s worried that Fowler will get “the accent” wrong. They part, uncertainly. Fowler leaves the restaurant, and finds Phuong waiting for him on the street outside.
For the first time in the novel, we see how other people regard Fowler. In spite of his heavy drinking and nihilistic cynicism, Fowler appears weak and generally un-masculine to Granger, the loud, arrogant American. It’s not clear how Granger and Fowler leave their conversation—but the fact that Fowler offers to help Granger suggests that he’s trying to atone for his sins by doing something positive for someone else.
Themes
Vietnam and the West Theme Icon
Impartiality and Action Theme Icon
Inevitability of Death Theme Icon
Friendship, Loyalty, and Betrayal Theme Icon