The Quiet American

The Quiet American

Phuong Hei Character Analysis

Phuong Hei is a young, beautiful Vietnamese woman, for whom Thomas Fowler and Alden Pyle compete throughout The Quiet American. Although Fowler and Pyle often treat her as an “object”—a prize to be fought over—Greene suggests that Phuong is an intelligent, motivated woman, capable of making up her own mind about the political climate in Vietnam, as well as her feelings for the two men in her life. Because the novel is narrated by Fowler, Greene gives us limited access to Phuong’s thoughts and feelings, and ultimately, she’s a mystery to us.

Phuong Hei Quotes in The Quiet American

The The Quiet American quotes below are all either spoken by Phuong Hei or refer to Phuong Hei. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Vietnam and the West Theme Icon
). Note: all page and citation info for the quotes below refers to the Penguin Books edition of The Quiet American published in 2004.
Part 1, Chapter 1 Quotes

Pyle was very earnest and I had suffered from his lectures on the Far East, which he had known for as many months as I had years. Democracy was another subject of his—he had pronounced and aggravating views on what the United States was doing for the world. Phuong on the other hand was wonderfully ignorant; if Hitler had come into the conversation she would have interrupted to ask who he was. The explanation would be all the more difficult because she had never met a German or a Pole and had only the vaguest knowledge of European geography, though about Princess Margaret of course she knew more than I. I heard her put a tray down on the end of the bed.

Related Characters: Thomas Fowler (speaker), Alden Pyle, Phuong Hei
Page Number: 4
Explanation and Analysis:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Unlock explanations and citation info for this and every other The Quiet American quote.

Plus so much more...

Get LitCharts A+
Already a LitCharts A+ member? Sign in!

I walked back with Phuong towards my flat. I was no longer on my dignity. Death takes away vanity—even the vanity of the cuckold who mustn’t show his pain.

Related Characters: Thomas Fowler (speaker), Alden Pyle, Phuong Hei
Page Number: 13
Explanation and Analysis:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore e

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

That night I woke from one of those short deep opium sleeps, ten minutes long, that seem a whole night’s rest, and found my hand where it had always lain at night, between her legs. She was asleep and I could hardly hear her breathing. Once again after so many months I was not alone, and yet I thought suddenly with anger, remembering Vigot and his eye-shade in the police station and the quiet corridors of the Legation with no one about and the soft hairless skin under my hand, “Am I the only one who really cared for Pyle?”

Related Characters: Thomas Fowler (speaker), Alden Pyle, Phuong Hei
Related Symbols: Alcohol and Opium
Page Number: 14
Explanation and Analysis:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint oc

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Part 1, Chapter 3, Section 1 Quotes

“Do you think I’d really go near their stinking highway? Stephen Crane could describe a war without seeing one. Why shouldn’t I? Its only a damned colonial war anyway. Get me another drink. And then let’s go and find a girl. You’ve got a piece of tail. I want a piece of tail too.”

Related Characters: Bill Granger (speaker), Thomas Fowler, Alden Pyle, Phuong Hei
Related Symbols: Alcohol and Opium
Page Number: 28
Explanation and Analysis:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Part 1, Chapter 3, Section 2 Quotes

“Home?” I said and laughed, and Pyle looked at me as though I were another Granger. Suddenly I saw myself as he saw me, a man of middle age, with eyes a little bloodshot, beginning to put on weight, ungraceful in love, less noisy than Granger perhaps but more cynical, less innocent, and I saw Phuong for a moment as I had seen her first, dancing past my table at the Grand Monde in a white ball-dress, eighteen years old, watched by an elder sister who had been determined on a good European marriage. An American had bought a ticket and asked her for a dance: he was a little drunk—not harmfully, and I suppose he was new to the country and thought the hostesses of the Grand Monde were whores. He held her much too close as they went round the floor the first time, and then suddenly there she was, going back to sit with her sister, and he was left, stranded and lost among the dancers, not knowing what had happened or why. And the girl whose name I didn’t know sat quietly there, occasionally sipping her orange juice, owning herself completely.

Related Characters: Thomas Fowler (speaker), Alden Pyle, Phuong Hei, Bill Granger
Page Number: 32
Explanation and Analysis:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pari

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laboru

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nullaLorem ipLorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eius

Part 1, Chapter 4, Section 2 Quotes

“Of course,” he said without conviction, “she may choose to stay with you.”
“What would you do then?”
“I’d apply for a transfer.”
“Why don’t you just go away, Pyle, without causing trouble?”
“It wouldn’t be fair to her, Thomas,” he said quite seriously. I never knew a man who had better motives…

Related Characters: Thomas Fowler (speaker), Alden Pyle (speaker), Phuong Hei
Page Number: 52
Explanation and Analysis:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exer

Part 2, Chapter 1 Quotes

Pyle said, “I think I ought to put all my cards on the table. I’m not rich. But when my father dies I’ll have about fifty thousand dollars. I’m in good health—I’ve got a medical certificate only two months old, and I can let her know my blood-group.”
“I don’t know how to translate that. What’s it for ?”
“Well, to make certain we can have children together.” “Is that how you make love in America—figures of income and blood-group?”

Related Characters: Thomas Fowler (speaker), Alden Pyle (speaker), Phuong Hei
Page Number: 69
Explanation and Analysis:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

She gave me a quick look over the needle and registered her mistake. Then as she kneaded the opium she began to talk at random of what clothes she would wear in London, where we should live, of the tube-trains she had read about in a novel, and the double-decker buses: would we fly or go by sea?
“And the Statue of Liberty…” she said.
“No, Phuong, that’s American too.”

Related Characters: Thomas Fowler (speaker), Phuong Hei
Related Symbols: Alcohol and Opium
Page Number: 73-74
Explanation and Analysis:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in volu

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id esLorLorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Exce

Part 2, Chapter 2, Section 3 Quotes

“But she loves you, doesn’t she?”

“Not like that. It isn’t in their nature. You’ll find that out. It’s a cliché to call them children— but there’s one thing which is childish. They love you in return for kindness, security, the presents you give them—they hate you for a blow or an injustice. They don’t know what it’s like—just walking into a room and loving a stranger. For an aging man, Pyle, it’s very secure—she won’t run away from home so long as the home is happy.” I hadn’t meant to hurt him. I only realized I had done it when he said with muffled anger, “She might prefer greater security or more kindness.”

Related Characters: Thomas Fowler (speaker), Alden Pyle (speaker), Phuong Hei
Page Number: 95
Explanation and Analysis:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Part 2, Chapter 3, Section 3 Quotes

“Yes. I wish you hadn’t written it.”
“Why?”
“Because it was a pack of lies. I trusted you, Thomas.”
“You shouldn’t trust anyone when there’s a woman in the case.”
“Then you needn’t trust me after this. I’ll come sneaking up here when you go out, I’ll write letters in typewritten envelopes. Maybe I’m growing up, Thomas.” But there were tears in his voice, and he looked younger than he had ever done. “Couldn’t you have won without lying?”
“No. This is European duplicity, Pyle. We have to make up for our lack of supplies.”

Related Characters: Thomas Fowler (speaker), Alden Pyle (speaker), Phuong Hei
Page Number: 122
Explanation and Analysis:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occa

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Part 4, Chapter 3 Quotes

I said to Phuong, “Do you miss him much?”
“Who?”
“Pyle.” Strange how even now, even to her, it was impossible to use his first name. “Can I go, please? My sister will be so excited.”
“You spoke his name once in your sleep.”
“I never remember my dreams.”
“There was so much you could have done together. He was young.”
“You are not old.”
“The skyscrapers. The Empire State Building.”
She said with a small hesitation, “I want to see the Cheddar Gorge.” “It isn’t the Grand Canyon.” I pulled her down on to the bed. “I’m sorry, Phuong.”

Related Characters: Thomas Fowler (speaker), Phuong Hei (speaker), Alden Pyle
Page Number: 180
Explanation and Analysis:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat c

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Get the entire The Quiet American LitChart as a printable PDF.
The quiet american.pdf.medium

Phuong Hei Character Timeline in The Quiet American

The timeline below shows where the character Phuong Hei appears in The Quiet American. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Part 1, Chapter 1
Vietnam and the West Theme Icon
Inevitability of Death Theme Icon
Friendship, Loyalty, and Betrayal Theme Icon
Romance and Sex Theme Icon
...Anxious, Fowler goes down to the street, where he sees a young Vietnamese woman named Phuong waiting on Fowler’s doorstep. “Phuong” means Phoenix in Vietnamese, but Fowler comments that “nothing nowadays... (full context)
Vietnam and the West Theme Icon
Friendship, Loyalty, and Betrayal Theme Icon
Romance and Sex Theme Icon
Phuong and Fowler go up to Fowler’s apartment. Phuong speaks in simple French, noticing that Fowler... (full context)
Vietnam and the West Theme Icon
Impartiality and Action Theme Icon
Friendship, Loyalty, and Betrayal Theme Icon
Romance and Sex Theme Icon
Phuong tries to comfort Fowler by saying Pyle will be there soon. Fowler wonders what Pyle... (full context)
Vietnam and the West Theme Icon
Impartiality and Action Theme Icon
Friendship, Loyalty, and Betrayal Theme Icon
Romance and Sex Theme Icon
Phuong begins the laborious task of preparing an opium pipe for Fowler to smoke. According to... (full context)
Vietnam and the West Theme Icon
Friendship, Loyalty, and Betrayal Theme Icon
Romance and Sex Theme Icon
Fowler smokes a second pipe of opium and tells Phuong that when she left him for Pyle, he fell back into heavy opium use. Fowler... (full context)
Vietnam and the West Theme Icon
Friendship, Loyalty, and Betrayal Theme Icon
Romance and Sex Theme Icon
Not long after, Fowler and Phuong arrive at the police office. Fowler is still high on opium. The French officer questioning... (full context)
Vietnam and the West Theme Icon
Impartiality and Action Theme Icon
Inevitability of Death Theme Icon
Friendship, Loyalty, and Betrayal Theme Icon
...his innocence. In the present time—at the French police station’s interrogation room with Vigot and Phuong—Fowler guesses that Pyle is dead, which Vigot confirms. The opium makes Pyle’s death less meaningful... (full context)
Vietnam and the West Theme Icon
Impartiality and Action Theme Icon
Friendship, Loyalty, and Betrayal Theme Icon
...Pyle, but the narration suggests that the opium is suppressing some feelings of guilt. With Phuong still in the room but silent, Vigot questions Fowler about his whereabouts earlier in the... (full context)
Vietnam and the West Theme Icon
Inevitability of Death Theme Icon
Friendship, Loyalty, and Betrayal Theme Icon
...him, because he is Roman Catholic, and not a “damned Yankee” like Pyle. Vigot leaves Phuong in the interrogation office and brings Fowler to the morgue to identify the body. Fowler... (full context)
Inevitability of Death Theme Icon
Friendship, Loyalty, and Betrayal Theme Icon
Romance and Sex Theme Icon
After meeting with Vigot, Fowler and Phuong walk back to his apartment. Dwelling on thoughts about death, Fowler is no longer concerned... (full context)
Part 1, Chapter 2, Section 1
Vietnam and the West Theme Icon
Impartiality and Action Theme Icon
Inevitability of Death Theme Icon
Friendship, Loyalty, and Betrayal Theme Icon
...a good target for a bomb. Jumping forward to later in the day, Fowler and Phuong have lunch in his apartment. Fowler reveals that that day is the second anniversary of... (full context)
Part 1, Chapter 2, Section 2
Inevitability of Death Theme Icon
Friendship, Loyalty, and Betrayal Theme Icon
Romance and Sex Theme Icon
Flashing forward to the morning after Phuong stayed with Fowler after Pyle’s death, the two have a casual morning tea and breakfast,... (full context)
Vietnam and the West Theme Icon
Impartiality and Action Theme Icon
Friendship, Loyalty, and Betrayal Theme Icon
Vigot helps Fowler get Phuong’s box of belongings from under Pyle’s bed. Pyle’s black dog is missing. Fowler teases Vigot... (full context)
Vietnam and the West Theme Icon
Impartiality and Action Theme Icon
Inevitability of Death Theme Icon
Friendship, Loyalty, and Betrayal Theme Icon
Romance and Sex Theme Icon
...Pyle end up with an American girl back home. The Attaché knew about Pyle stealing Phuong from Fowler, and says that he was on Fowler’s side in that matter. Fowler walks... (full context)
Part 1, Chapter 3, Section 1
Vietnam and the West Theme Icon
Impartiality and Action Theme Icon
Romance and Sex Theme Icon
The narration flashes back to the first time Pyle met Phuong, an early evening at the Continental Hotel. Fowler sits with Phuong at a table, silently... (full context)
Vietnam and the West Theme Icon
Impartiality and Action Theme Icon
Friendship, Loyalty, and Betrayal Theme Icon
...the unknown drunken man, whom Granger nicknames “Mick,” over to Pyle’s table where Pyle, Fowler, Phuong, and the Attaché are sitting. Granger hits on Phuong and makes Fowler defensive. Granger then... (full context)
Vietnam and the West Theme Icon
Impartiality and Action Theme Icon
...each other for trade. Granger says he’s going to a brothel. Pyle invites Fowler and Phuong to dinner, and Granger convinces them to eat at a restaurant next to the brothel.... (full context)
Vietnam and the West Theme Icon
Impartiality and Action Theme Icon
Pyle, Granger, Fowler, and Phuong take trishaws to the Chalet and brothel, The House of the Five Hundred Girls. Alone... (full context)
Vietnam and the West Theme Icon
Impartiality and Action Theme Icon
Romance and Sex Theme Icon
...Fowler extracts Pyle from the group of women and brings him to the Chalet, where Phuong has been waiting. (full context)
Part 1, Chapter 3, Section 2
Vietnam and the West Theme Icon
Impartiality and Action Theme Icon
Friendship, Loyalty, and Betrayal Theme Icon
Romance and Sex Theme Icon
In the Chalet, Phuong, Fowler and Pyle sit near the dance floor. The orchestra plays an out-of-date Parisian song.... (full context)
Romance and Sex Theme Icon
Phuong’s sister, Miss Hei, enters the Chalet while Pyle and Phuong are dancing. She joins Fowler... (full context)
Impartiality and Action Theme Icon
Inevitability of Death Theme Icon
Friendship, Loyalty, and Betrayal Theme Icon
Romance and Sex Theme Icon
...the idea of permanence. He likens the inevitability of the end of his relationship with Phuong to the inevitability of death. He both envies and distrusts religious people, and believes death... (full context)
Vietnam and the West Theme Icon
Friendship, Loyalty, and Betrayal Theme Icon
Romance and Sex Theme Icon
Pyle and Phuong return to the table after their second dance. Pyle speaks about Phuong as if she... (full context)
Part 1, Chapter 4, Section 1
Vietnam and the West Theme Icon
Inevitability of Death Theme Icon
Chapter 4 begins a few days after Fowler, Phuong, and Pyle’s night of dinner and dancing at the Chalet. Fowler has flown to Phat... (full context)
Part 1, Chapter 4, Section 2
Vietnam and the West Theme Icon
Friendship, Loyalty, and Betrayal Theme Icon
Romance and Sex Theme Icon
...tells Fowler that he’s come to find Fowler himself. Pyle has fallen in love with Phuong, he explains. Fowler finds this hilarious—he wonders aloud why Pyle couldn’t have waited a week... (full context)
Vietnam and the West Theme Icon
Friendship, Loyalty, and Betrayal Theme Icon
Romance and Sex Theme Icon
...name, which is Thomas. Pyle, calling Fowler “Tom,” tells Fowler that he’s going to ask Phuong to marry him. Fowler is dismissive of this news, though he feels envious when Pyle... (full context)
Friendship, Loyalty, and Betrayal Theme Icon
Romance and Sex Theme Icon
...in bed, they hear the sounds of bombs in the distance. Pyle continues speaking about Phuong, and he tells Fowler that they both have Phuong’s “interests” in mind. Fowler angrily disagrees,... (full context)
Part 2, Chapter 1
Vietnam and the West Theme Icon
Impartiality and Action Theme Icon
Friendship, Loyalty, and Betrayal Theme Icon
Romance and Sex Theme Icon
...Saigon, and Pyle has “invited himself” for a drink. Fowler sits in his home with Phuong, who has no idea that he’s planning to leave Vietnam and return to England. Phuong... (full context)
Vietnam and the West Theme Icon
Impartiality and Action Theme Icon
Friendship, Loyalty, and Betrayal Theme Icon
Romance and Sex Theme Icon
After Phuong leaves, Fowler writes a letter to his employers, arguing that, for the “good of the... (full context)
Vietnam and the West Theme Icon
Friendship, Loyalty, and Betrayal Theme Icon
Romance and Sex Theme Icon
Fowler asks Pyle if he’ll be “sensible” and mentally stable if Phuong were to die, and Pyle replies that he would—he’d continue to serve the government of... (full context)
Vietnam and the West Theme Icon
Friendship, Loyalty, and Betrayal Theme Icon
Romance and Sex Theme Icon
After a long pause, Fowler asks Phuong if she’s going to leave him for Pyle. He explains that he’ll be unable to... (full context)
Friendship, Loyalty, and Betrayal Theme Icon
Romance and Sex Theme Icon
As Pyle and Fowler argue, Phuong suddenly says, “No.” Pyle, surprised, asks Phuong, in clumsy French, if she’ll come away with... (full context)
Friendship, Loyalty, and Betrayal Theme Icon
Romance and Sex Theme Icon
Alone with Phuong, Fowler goes to write a letter to his wife, Helen. In the letter, he tells... (full context)
Vietnam and the West Theme Icon
Romance and Sex Theme Icon
Finishing his letter, Fowler goes to bed with Phuong. In bed, he tells Phuong that he’s been ordered home, and that he wants her... (full context)
Part 2, Chapter 2, Section 1
Vietnam and the West Theme Icon
Inevitability of Death Theme Icon
...several times since arriving in Tanyin. Pyle is always friendly to Fowler, and inquires about Phuong frequently. Seeing Fowler, Pyle greets him warmly. He’s eating a “Vit-Health” sandwich, which his mother... (full context)
Part 2, Chapter 2, Section 2
Friendship, Loyalty, and Betrayal Theme Icon
Romance and Sex Theme Icon
...are driving away from the Caodaist festival. In the car, Pyle raises the topic of Phuong. He explains that he’s applied for a transfer out of Saigon, and asks Fowler if... (full context)
Part 2, Chapter 2, Section 3
Vietnam and the West Theme Icon
Inevitability of Death Theme Icon
Friendship, Loyalty, and Betrayal Theme Icon
Romance and Sex Theme Icon
...time drags on, very slowly. Pyle confesses to Fowler that he can’t stop thinking about Phuong. Fowler thinks that Pyle is as innocent as a dog. Pyle confesses that he’s “never... (full context)
Part 2, Chapter 2, Section 4
Vietnam and the West Theme Icon
Impartiality and Action Theme Icon
Inevitability of Death Theme Icon
Friendship, Loyalty, and Betrayal Theme Icon
...intention of dying. Pyle explains that he saved Fowler’s life because he couldn’t have looked Phuong in the eyes if he’d let Fowler die. He tells Fowler that he’ll try to... (full context)
Part 2, Chapter 3, Section 1
Vietnam and the West Theme Icon
Friendship, Loyalty, and Betrayal Theme Icon
...since he and Pyle escaped the fort. In advance of his return, Fowler has sent Phuong a telegram explaining that he is going to be back in to Saigon soon. (full context)
Vietnam and the West Theme Icon
Friendship, Loyalty, and Betrayal Theme Icon
Romance and Sex Theme Icon
When he arrives at his home, Fowler finds Phuong waiting for him. She tells him to lie down and rest, and adds that he’s... (full context)
Friendship, Loyalty, and Betrayal Theme Icon
Romance and Sex Theme Icon
...divorce him—both because of her religious convictions and because she sympathizes with “the poor girl” (Phuong) whom Fowler has claimed to love. She suggests that Fowler must already be planning to... (full context)
Friendship, Loyalty, and Betrayal Theme Icon
Romance and Sex Theme Icon
...reading his wife’s letter, without displaying any outward signs of his distress or anger. When Phuong asks what Helen has said, Fowler says that he doesn’t know—Helen hasn’t made up her... (full context)
Friendship, Loyalty, and Betrayal Theme Icon
Romance and Sex Theme Icon
Later in the evening, Phuong and Fowler go to buy scarves and clothes. As Fowler waits outside a store for... (full context)
Part 2, Chapter 3, Section 3
Vietnam and the West Theme Icon
Impartiality and Action Theme Icon
Friendship, Loyalty, and Betrayal Theme Icon
...but ultimately he gets up and opens the door. There, he finds Pyle standing with Phuong. Pyle accuses Fowler of lying to Phuong: Phuong’s sister, who can read English, has learned... (full context)
Impartiality and Action Theme Icon
Friendship, Loyalty, and Betrayal Theme Icon
Romance and Sex Theme Icon
Pyle tearfully accuses Fowler of manipulating him, along with Phuong, for his own selfish needs. Fowler doesn’t deny any of this. Pyle says that Fowler... (full context)
Part 3, Chapter 1, Section 1
Vietnam and the West Theme Icon
Impartiality and Action Theme Icon
Inevitability of Death Theme Icon
Friendship, Loyalty, and Betrayal Theme Icon
Vigot and Fowler continue to talk and gamble. Vigot asks Fowler about Phuong, and Fowler replies that he and Phuong are “all right,” but then admits that they’ve... (full context)
Part 3, Chapter 1, Section 2
Impartiality and Action Theme Icon
Friendship, Loyalty, and Betrayal Theme Icon
Romance and Sex Theme Icon
...Pyle left Fowler’s home. In the weeks afterwards, Fowler would sometimes come home to find Phuong, and sometimes he’d go days without seeing her. Fowler suspects that she’s going to see... (full context)
Vietnam and the West Theme Icon
Impartiality and Action Theme Icon
Inevitability of Death Theme Icon
Friendship, Loyalty, and Betrayal Theme Icon
...and thinks that it’s better for Pyle to “play with plastic” than to concentrate on Phuong. Shortly after he finishes his story, Fowler goes to visit Mr. Moui, the man Mr.... (full context)
Vietnam and the West Theme Icon
Impartiality and Action Theme Icon
Friendship, Loyalty, and Betrayal Theme Icon
Romance and Sex Theme Icon
...Because there is no one in the warehouse, Fowler leaves and returns to his home. Phuong is not there, and it seems to Fowler that she has taken some of her... (full context)
Part 3, Chapter 1, Section 4
Vietnam and the West Theme Icon
Impartiality and Action Theme Icon
Shortly after discovering that Phuong has left him for Pyle, Fowler decides to go north of Saigon, where he has... (full context)
Part 3, Chapter 1, Section 5
Vietnam and the West Theme Icon
Friendship, Loyalty, and Betrayal Theme Icon
Romance and Sex Theme Icon
...in bed with the prostitute, he realizes that she is wearing the same perfume as Phuong. He finds that he can’t perform sexually with her. He apologizes and blames his impotence... (full context)
Part 3, Chapter 2, Section 1
Friendship, Loyalty, and Betrayal Theme Icon
Romance and Sex Theme Icon
...his home, he is surprised to find Pyle waiting for him, in the chair where Phuong always used to sit. Pyle explains that Joe told him that Fowler went to the... (full context)
Vietnam and the West Theme Icon
Friendship, Loyalty, and Betrayal Theme Icon
Romance and Sex Theme Icon
Fowler asks Pyle if he and Phuong are married yet—Pyle says that they’re not, and that he’s trying to find a way... (full context)
Part 3, Chapter 2, Section 2
Vietnam and the West Theme Icon
Impartiality and Action Theme Icon
Inevitability of Death Theme Icon
Romance and Sex Theme Icon
...where Fowler is standing. A restaurant collapses, shooting broken glass everywhere. Suddenly, Fowler realizes that Phuong must be in the milk bar near the building that has just blown up—it’s her... (full context)
Vietnam and the West Theme Icon
Impartiality and Action Theme Icon
Inevitability of Death Theme Icon
Friendship, Loyalty, and Betrayal Theme Icon
Romance and Sex Theme Icon
...Pyle’s voice—Pyle is trying to move through the crowds as well. Fowler tells Pyle that Phuong is in the milk bar, and may have been injured. Pyle replies that he warned... (full context)
Vietnam and the West Theme Icon
Impartiality and Action Theme Icon
Inevitability of Death Theme Icon
Friendship, Loyalty, and Betrayal Theme Icon
Romance and Sex Theme Icon
...has no qualms about killing dozens of Vietnamese innocents. He dares Pyle to admit to Phuong what he’s done. In response, Pyle can only murmur that Thé would never have caused... (full context)
Part 4, Chapter 1
Impartiality and Action Theme Icon
Inevitability of Death Theme Icon
Romance and Sex Theme Icon
Part Four begins shortly after Pyle’s death. Fowler has given Phuong money to take her sister to the movies—it’s not explained why he’s done this, except... (full context)
Vietnam and the West Theme Icon
Impartiality and Action Theme Icon
Inevitability of Death Theme Icon
Friendship, Loyalty, and Betrayal Theme Icon
...to have seen—Robin Hood. With this, he walks out. Alone, Fowler drinks and thinks about Phuong and Pyle. He admits the truth to himself: he did see Pyle the night he... (full context)
Part 4, Chapter 2, Section 3
Vietnam and the West Theme Icon
Impartiality and Action Theme Icon
Inevitability of Death Theme Icon
Friendship, Loyalty, and Betrayal Theme Icon
...Fowler will get “the accent” wrong. They part, uncertainly. Fowler leaves the restaurant, and finds Phuong waiting for him on the street outside. (full context)
Part 4, Chapter 3
Vietnam and the West Theme Icon
Impartiality and Action Theme Icon
Friendship, Loyalty, and Betrayal Theme Icon
Romance and Sex Theme Icon
The final chapter begins shortly after Vigot questions Fowler about Pyle’s death. Phuong has returned from the film Fowler sent her to see. Phuong mentions that she saw... (full context)
Vietnam and the West Theme Icon
Friendship, Loyalty, and Betrayal Theme Icon
Romance and Sex Theme Icon
Fowler notices the copy of The Role of the West on his bookshelf. He asks Phuong if she misses Pyle at all, and tells her that she says his name in... (full context)
Impartiality and Action Theme Icon
Inevitability of Death Theme Icon
Friendship, Loyalty, and Betrayal Theme Icon
Romance and Sex Theme Icon
Phuong and Fowler kiss. Fowler thinks: everything has gone right since Pyle’s death. Nevertheless, Fowler wishes... (full context)