The Quiet American

The Quiet American

Thomas Fowler Character Analysis

The protagonist and narrator of The Quiet American, Thomas Fowler is a cynical, middle-aged English journalist who has been reporting on the military conflict in Vietnam for more than two years. An experienced journalist who knows how to maneuver his way through the complicated bureaucracy of the French military, Fowler prides himself on not being engagé—in other words, being neutral to the political and military conflicts in the region—but as the novel proceeds, his claims seem less and less true. Fowler is cynical, virtually atheistic, and laconic, and seems perfectly willing to lie and manipulate to get his way. In this way, he succeeds in dissuading his young rival, Alden Pyle, from competing for the affections of his lover, Phuong Hei, at least for a brief time. Despite Fowler’s veneer of cynicism and indifference, it ultimately becomes clear that he is engagé, both morally and politically. In the end, Greene shows that Fowler is caught in an unresolvable dilemma: he’s amoral enough to conspire in the murder of Alden Pyle, but also moral enough to feel tremendously guilty about his actions.

Thomas Fowler Quotes in The Quiet American

The The Quiet American quotes below are all either spoken by Thomas Fowler or refer to Thomas Fowler. 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 numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer 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:

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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:

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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:

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Part 1, Chapter 2, Section 1 Quotes

I liked his loyalty to Harding—whoever Harding was. It was a change from the denigrations of the Pressmen and their immature cynicism. I said, “Have another bottle of beer and I’ll try to give you an idea of things.”

Related Characters: Thomas Fowler (speaker), Alden Pyle, York Harding
Related Symbols: The Role of the West
Page Number: 16
Explanation and Analysis:

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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:

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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:

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From childhood I had never believed in permanence, and yet I had longed for it. Always I was afraid of losing happiness. This month, next year, Phuong would leave me. If not next year, in three years. Death was the only absolute value in my world. Lose life and one would lose nothing again for ever. I envied those who could believe in a God and I distrusted them. I felt they were keeping their courage up with a fable of the changeless and the permanent. Death was far more certain than God, and with death there would be no longer the daily possibility of love dying. The nightmare of a future of boredom and indifference would lift. I could never have been a pacifist. To kill a man was surely to grant him an immeasurable benefit. Oh yes, people always, everywhere, loved their enemies. It was their friends they preserved for pain and vacuity.

Related Characters: Thomas Fowler (speaker)
Page Number: 36
Explanation and Analysis:

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Part 1, Chapter 4, Section 1 Quotes

The canal was full of bodies: I am reminded now of an Irish stew containing too much meat. The bodies overlapped: one head, seal-grey, and anonymous as a convict with a shaven scalp, stuck up out of the water like a buoy. There was no blood: I suppose it had flowed away a long time ago. I have no idea how many there were: they must have been caught in a cross-fire, trying to get back, and I suppose every man of us along the bank was thinking, “Two can play at that game.” I too took my eyes away; we didn’t want to be reminded of how little we counted, how quickly, simply and anonymously death came. Even though my reason wanted the state of death, I was afraid like a virgin of the act. I would have liked death to come with due warning, so that I could prepare myself. For what? I didn’t know, nor how, except by taking a look around at the little I would be leaving.

Related Characters: Thomas Fowler (speaker)
Page Number: 43
Explanation and Analysis:

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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:

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Part 1, Chapter 5 Quotes

We began to throw and it seemed impossible to me that I could ever have a life again, away from the rue Gambetta and the rue Catinat, the flat taste of vermouth cassis, the homely click of dice, and the gunfire travelling like a clock-hand around the horizon. I said, “I’m going back.” “Home?” Pietri asked, throwing a four-to-one. “No. England.”

Related Characters: Thomas Fowler (speaker), Pietri (speaker)
Related Symbols: Alcohol and Opium
Page Number: 59
Explanation and Analysis:

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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:

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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:

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Part 2, Chapter 2, Section 2 Quotes

I have read so often of people’s thoughts in the moment of fear: of God, or family, or a woman. I admire their control. I thought of nothing, not even of the trap-door above me: I ceased, for those seconds, to exist: I was fear taken neat. At the top of the ladder I banged my head because fear couldn’t count steps, hear, or see. Then my head came over the earth floor and nobody shot at me and fear seeped away.

Related Characters: Thomas Fowler (speaker)
Related Symbols: Alcohol and Opium
Page Number: 83
Explanation and Analysis:

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Part 2, Chapter 2, Section 3 Quotes

“I’ve no reason to believe in a God. Do you?” “Yes. I’m a Unitarian.”
“How many hundred million Gods do people believe in? Why, even a Roman Catholic believes in quite a different God when he’s scared or happy or hungry.”
“Maybe, if there is a God, he’d be so vast he’d look different to everyone.”
“Like the great Buddha in Bangkok,” I said. “You can’t see all of him at once. Anyway he keeps still.”

Related Characters: Thomas Fowler (speaker), Alden Pyle (speaker)
Page Number: 86
Explanation and Analysis:

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“That’s just it,” Pyle said. “You shouldn’t be against York, you should be against the French. Their colonialism.”
“Isms and ocracies. Give me facts. A rubber planter beats his laborer—all right, I’m against him. He hasn’t been instructed to do it by the Minister of the Colonies. In France I expect he’d beat his wife. I’ve seen a priest, so poor he hasn’t a change of trousers, working fifteen hours a day from hut to hut in a cholera epidemic, eating nothing but rice and salt fish, saying his Mass with an old cup—a wooden platter. I don’t believe in God and yet I’m for that priest. Why don’t you call that colonialism?

Related Characters: Thomas Fowler (speaker), Alden Pyle (speaker)
Page Number: 87
Explanation and Analysis:

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“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:

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Part 2, Chapter 2, Section 4 Quotes

“You saved my life there,” I said, and Pyle cleared his throat for the conventional response,
“So that I could die here. I prefer dry land.”
“Better not talk,” Pyle said as though to an invalid.
“Who the hell asked you to save my life? I came east to be killed. It’s like your damned impertinence . . .” I staggered in the mud and Pyle hoisted my arm around his shoulder. “Ease it off,” he said.

Related Characters: Thomas Fowler (speaker), Alden Pyle (speaker)
Page Number: 101
Explanation and Analysis:

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Part 2, Chapter 3, Section 2 Quotes

Mr. Heng turned away. “I only want you to remember what you have seen,” he said, walking back in the shadows of the junk-pile. “Perhaps one day you will have a reason for writing about it. But you must not say you saw the drum here.” “Nor the mould?” I asked. “Particularly not the mould.”

Related Characters: Thomas Fowler (speaker), Mr. Heng (speaker)
Page Number: 120
Explanation and Analysis:

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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:

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Part 3, Chapter 1, Section 3 Quotes

I went into the passage. There was a door opposite me marked Men. I went in and locked the door and sitting with my head against the cold wall I cried. I hadn’t cried until now. Even their lavatories were air-conditioned, and presently the temperate tempered air dried my tears as it dries the spit in your mouth and the seed in your body.

Related Characters: Thomas Fowler (speaker)
Page Number: 139
Explanation and Analysis:

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Part 3, Chapter 1, Section 5 Quotes

He watched me as I stretched out for my second pipe. “I envy you your means of escape.”
“You don’t know what I’m escaping from. It’s not from the war. That’s no concern of mine. I’m not involved.”
“You will all be. One day.”
“Not me.”
“You are still limping.”

Related Characters: Thomas Fowler (speaker), Captain Trouin (speaker)
Page Number: 143
Explanation and Analysis:

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Part 3, Chapter 2, Section 1 Quotes

“We are the old colonial peoples, Pyle, but we’ve learnt a bit of reality, we’ve learned not to play with matches. This Third Force—it comes out of a book, that’s all. General Thé’s only a bandit with a few thousand men: he’s not a national democracy.” It was as if he had been staring at me through a letter-box to see who was there and now, letting the flap fall, had shut out the unwelcome intruder. His eyes were out of sight. “I don’t know what you mean, Thomas.” “Those bicycle bombs. They were a good joke, even though one man did lose a foot. But, Pyle, you can’t trust men like Thé. They aren’t going to save the East from Communism. We know their kind.”

Related Characters: Thomas Fowler (speaker), Alden Pyle (speaker), General Thé
Related Symbols: The Role of the West
Page Number: 149
Explanation and Analysis:

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Part 4, Chapter 1 Quotes

“No. I’m not so stupid. One doesn’t take one’s enemy’s book as a souvenir. There it is on your shelf. The Rôle of the West. Who is this York Harding?” “He’s the man you are looking for, Vigot. He killed Pyle—at long range.”

Related Characters: Thomas Fowler (speaker), Vigot (speaker), Alden Pyle, York Harding
Related Symbols: The Role of the West
Page Number: 159
Explanation and Analysis:

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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:

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I thought of the first day and Pyle sitting beside me at the Continental, with his eye on the soda-fountain across the way. Everything had gone right with me since he had died, but how I wished there existed someone to whom I could say that I was sorry.

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

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Thomas Fowler Character Timeline in The Quiet American

The timeline below shows where the character Thomas Fowler 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
The narrator, a middle-aged British reporter named Thomas Fowler, is in his apartment in 1950s Saigon, waiting for a younger American man named Alden... (full context)
Vietnam and the West Theme Icon
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Phuong and Fowler go up to Fowler’s apartment. Phuong speaks in simple French, noticing that Fowler seems troubled... (full context)
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Phuong tries to comfort Fowler by saying Pyle will be there soon. Fowler wonders what Pyle and Phuong talk about... (full context)
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Phuong begins the laborious task of preparing an opium pipe for Fowler to smoke. According to Vietnamese superstition, a lover who smoked opium would always return, “even... (full context)
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Fowler smokes a second pipe of opium and tells Phuong that when she left him for... (full context)
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...at the door, but it is not Pyle. It is a Vietnamese policeman, who tells Fowler in heavily accented French that he is needed at the French Sureté, the police station.... (full context)
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Not long after, Fowler and Phuong arrive at the police office. Fowler is still high on opium. The French... (full context)
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Fowler describes Pyle as a “quiet American” employed by the Economic Aid Mission. Fowler does not... (full context)
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Suspicious of Fowler, Vigot asks him how he knew Pyle was dead. Fowler claims he’s not guilty of... (full context)
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Vigot suggests Pyle did a lot of harm, but is unclear about why. Fowler sarcastically retorts, “God save us always from the innocent and the good,” calling Pyle good... (full context)
Inevitability of Death Theme Icon
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After meeting with Vigot, Fowler and Phuong walk back to his apartment. Dwelling on thoughts about death, Fowler is no... (full context)
Part 1, Chapter 2, Section 1
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Fowler’s narration flashes back to the first day Fowler met Pyle. Fowler had been spending too... (full context)
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In the bar in Saigon on that first day Fowler and Pyle met, Pyle speaks highly of York Harding, a political theorist whom Fowler has... (full context)
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At the bar, Fowler educates Pyle on the current situation in Vietnam, as he has done for many others.... (full context)
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Provoked by the idea of the Caodaists fighting against both sides, Pyle tells Fowler that York Harding wrote that the East needs a “Third Force,” but does not expand... (full context)
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Leaving Pyle, Fowler walks down the rue Catinat to his apartment and thinks about how Vietnam has become... (full context)
Part 1, Chapter 2, Section 2
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Flashing forward to the morning after Phuong stayed with Fowler after Pyle’s death, the two have a casual morning tea and breakfast, much like they... (full context)
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Inside Pyle’s apartment, Fowler runs into Vigot washing his hands in Pyle’s bathroom, which Fowler quietly finds disrespectful. Vigot... (full context)
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Still in the apartment, Fowler says Vigot can rule him out of his investigation and claims he is “not involved,”... (full context)
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Vigot helps Fowler get Phuong’s box of belongings from under Pyle’s bed. Pyle’s black dog is missing. Fowler... (full context)
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...killed Pyle as the beginning of a campaign against American aid, but Vigot still wants Fowler to give him information, as a friend. Fowler tries to shrug it off, and says... (full context)
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As Fowler leaves Pyle’s apartment, he runs into the American Economic Attaché. The Attaché has trouble directing... (full context)
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The Attaché asks Fowler if he knows who killed Pyle and why. Fowler feels sudden anger toward the American... (full context)
Part 1, Chapter 3, Section 1
Vietnam and the West Theme Icon
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...back to the first time Pyle met Phuong, an early evening at the Continental Hotel. Fowler sits with Phuong at a table, silently content to be together, when Pyle approaches and... (full context)
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Fowler and the others watch as Bill Granger, a loud and obnoxious American journalist, arrives in... (full context)
Vietnam and the West Theme Icon
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...there are rumors that the Vietminh have burned down the Phat Diem Cathedral. This piques Fowler’s interest. Pyle hopes the Catholics would be opposed to Communism, but Fowler reveals that to... (full context)
Vietnam and the West Theme Icon
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Pyle, Granger, Fowler, and Phuong take trishaws to the Chalet and brothel, The House of the Five Hundred... (full context)
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When they arrive, Pyle and Granger have already entered the brothel. Fowler feels an instinct to protect Pyle. He goes inside and sees hundreds of women lounging... (full context)
Part 1, Chapter 3, Section 2
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In the Chalet, Phuong, Fowler and Pyle sit near the dance floor. The orchestra plays an out-of-date Parisian song. Fowler... (full context)
Friendship, Loyalty, and Betrayal Theme Icon
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...do, and Pyle is a bad dancer, holding Phuong comically far away from his body. Fowler reminisces that Phuong was the best dancer in the hall when he met her. In... (full context)
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Phuong’s sister, Miss Hei, enters the Chalet while Pyle and Phuong are dancing. She joins Fowler at the table. Fowler explains that Pyle is with the American Economic Mission. Miss Hei,... (full context)
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Fowler thinks about the rumor about the cathedral burning in Phat Diem and wishes his job... (full context)
Part 1, Chapter 4, Section 1
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Chapter 4 begins a few days after Fowler, Phuong, and Pyle’s night of dinner and dancing at the Chalet. Fowler has flown to... (full context)
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Fowler goes on to explain what he learned of the recent attack: Vietminh forces snuck into... (full context)
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Fowler leaves the Bishop and proceeds to a group of officers and soldiers. He introduces himself... (full context)
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The narrative cuts ahead: Fowler has left the soldiers, and is spending the night back at the officers’ quarters. He... (full context)
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It’s 3 in the morning, and Fowler is lying in his bed at the military base. He hears a sudden noise—reflexively, he... (full context)
Part 1, Chapter 4, Section 2
Vietnam and the West Theme Icon
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Fowler has just encountered Pyle, who’s staying with him in the military base. Pyle explains how... (full context)
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Pyle tries to speak frankly with Fowler—he asks Fowler for his first name, which is Thomas. Pyle, calling Fowler “Tom,” tells Fowler... (full context)
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As Pyle and Fowler lie in bed, they hear the sounds of bombs in the distance. Pyle continues speaking... (full context)
Part 1, Chapter 5
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Three weeks after arriving at the military base, Fowler returns to Saigon—he was gone much longer than he’d expected to be. Pyle had left... (full context)
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Fowler learns that Pyle left the military base by convincing a young officer to take him... (full context)
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Fowler attends a Press Conference at the military base. A French officer speaks with an English... (full context)
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Fowler leaves the press conference, thinking that none of the information he’s collected will make it... (full context)
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After leaving the press conference, Fowler goes to a bar, where he plays cards with an old friend, Pietri. As they... (full context)
Part 2, Chapter 1
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A few weeks have passed since the events of the previous chapter: Fowler is back in Saigon, and Pyle has “invited himself” for a drink. Fowler sits in... (full context)
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After Phuong leaves, Fowler writes a letter to his employers, arguing that, for the “good of the paper” he... (full context)
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Fowler hears a knock, and finds Pyle waiting at his door, accompanied by a dog, whose... (full context)
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Fowler asks Pyle if he’ll be “sensible” and mentally stable if Phuong were to die, and... (full context)
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After a long pause, Fowler asks Phuong if she’s going to leave him for Pyle. He explains that he’ll be... (full context)
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As Pyle and Fowler argue, Phuong suddenly says, “No.” Pyle, surprised, asks Phuong, in clumsy French, if she’ll come... (full context)
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Alone with Phuong, Fowler goes to write a letter to his wife, Helen. In the letter, he tells her... (full context)
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Finishing his letter, Fowler goes to bed with Phuong. In bed, he tells Phuong that he’s been ordered home,... (full context)
Part 2, Chapter 2, Section 1
Vietnam and the West Theme Icon
Inevitability of Death Theme Icon
...of Caodaism”—complete with a Pope, and female cardinals—is located in the city of Tanyin, and Fowler goes there to cover the festival for his editor. (full context)
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At the festival in Tanyin, Fowler overhears talk of General Thé. The Pope’s deputy tells Fowler that Thé has kidnapped a... (full context)
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After he leaves the Pope’s deputy, Fowler notices Pyle, whom he’s run into several times since arriving in Tanyin. Pyle is always... (full context)
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Fowler walks around the Caodaist temple, noting, with a little disgust, the garish combination of Christian,... (full context)
Part 2, Chapter 2, Section 2
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Pyle and Fowler are driving away from the Caodaist festival. In the car, Pyle raises the topic of... (full context)
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Fowler and Pyle drive toward a French fortress, using the remaining gas in Fowler’s car. They... (full context)
Part 2, Chapter 2, Section 3
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Fowler has just climbed over the walls of a French fortress. On the other side, he... (full context)
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Pyle and Fowler spend the night at the French fort. Fowler, pointing to the two soldiers defending the... (full context)
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As Pyle and Fowler talk, they hear shouts and gunshots from outside the fort. The two soldiers seem uninterested... (full context)
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The 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... (full context)
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As Pyle and Fowler talk, a voice suddenly speaks from a megaphone outside the fort. Fowler, noticing that the... (full context)
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Fowler and Pyle decide to sneak away from the fort by climbing down the ladder under... (full context)
Part 2, Chapter 2, Section 4
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Pyle and Fowler have just escaped from a fort, and Fowler has been slightly injured in a bazooka... (full context)
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Pyle carries Fowler away from the fort. Fowler criticizes Pyle for his “schoolboy heroics,” and tells him that... (full context)
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Fowler waits by the side of the road for many hours. At one point, he tries... (full context)
Part 2, Chapter 3, Section 1
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The chapter begins with Fowler walking to the rue Catinat, a street of Saigon. It has been a few days... (full context)
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When he arrives at his home, Fowler finds Phuong waiting for him. She tells him to lie down and rest, and adds... (full context)
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Fowler opens the letter from his wife. In it, she tells him that she’ll never divorce... (full context)
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Fowler finishes reading his wife’s letter, without displaying any outward signs of his distress or anger.... (full context)
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Later in the evening, Phuong and Fowler go to buy scarves and clothes. As Fowler waits outside a store for Phuong, he... (full context)
Part 2, Chapter 3, Section 2
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A number of weeks pass in Vietnam, and Fowler continues with his reporting. He knows that he is scheduled to leave Vietnam in April... (full context)
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Fowler visits Dominguez several times. On one particularly memorable visit, Dominguez, who’s become very sick now,... (full context)
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Inspired by Dominguez’s information, Fowler goes to the warehouse in search of a “scoop.” The name of the man who... (full context)
Part 2, Chapter 3, Section 3
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Fowler, having just spoken with Heng and Chou, thinks about Pyle—he hasn’t seen him since Pyle... (full context)
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One night, while Fowler is sleeping, he awakes to hear a knocking at his door. It is Pyle, trying... (full context)
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Pyle tearfully accuses Fowler of manipulating him, along with Phuong, for his own selfish needs. Fowler doesn’t deny any... (full context)
Part 3, Chapter 1, Section 1
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The third part of The Quiet American opens two weeks after Pyle’s death. Fowler goes to visit Vigot, who’s playing cards and gambling in a local club. Fowler joins... (full context)
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Vigot and Fowler continue to talk and gamble. Vigot asks Fowler about Phuong, and Fowler replies that he... (full context)
Part 3, Chapter 1, Section 2
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Fowler “jumps back” to describe what happened after the end of Part 2, when Pyle left... (full context)
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A few weeks after last seeing Pyle, Fowler becomes aware of the “incident of the bicycle bombs.” Dominguez, who’s recovered from his illness,... (full context)
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Fowler notices Mr. Heng standing near the bicycles. When Fowler greets him, Heng, looking at his... (full context)
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Fowler writes a story about the “Bicycle Bombs,” in which he blames General Thé for the... (full context)
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At Mr. Muoi’s warehouse, Fowler finds a dirty cluster of machines. On some of the machines there is a fine... (full context)
Part 3, Chapter 1, Section 3
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After visiting Mr. Muoi’s warehouse, Fowler goes to the American Legation, and asks to speak with Pyle. He says that he... (full context)
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Inside Pyle’s office, Fowler finds Phuong’s sister, who works as Pyle’s typist, and Joe, another American Legation employee. Joe... (full context)
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Fowler decides to leave the office. He goes to the men’s bathroom and weeps for the... (full context)
Part 3, Chapter 1, Section 4
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Shortly after discovering that Phuong has left him for Pyle, Fowler decides to go north of Saigon, where he has friends and associates. He stays with... (full context)
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The flight continues, with Fowler’s pilot releasing many tons of explosives from the plane. Fowler thinks, “I hate war,” and... (full context)
Part 3, Chapter 1, Section 5
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When his plane lands, Fowler spends the evening with Captain Trouin, an important officer of the Gascogne Squadron. As they... (full context)
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Fowler and Trouin continue to talk about the war. Trouin tells Fowler that the French will... (full context)
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Fowler and Trouin smoke opium, and shortly thereafter, Fowler retires to have sex with a prostitute,... (full context)
Part 3, Chapter 2, Section 1
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Fowler returns to Saigon, noting that there is no one to welcome him back to the... (full context)
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Fowler asks Pyle if he and Phuong are married yet—Pyle says that they’re not, and that... (full context)
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Pyle says that he’s glad he and Fowler can talk, and that he still considers Fowler a friend. Fowler nods in agreement. As... (full context)
Part 3, Chapter 2, Section 2
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In the weeks after Fowler’s discussion with Pyle, he looks for a new apartment, without any success. Eventually, he finds... (full context)
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One day, Fowler is walking through the area around his apartment, when he sees a group of Europeans... (full context)
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Fowler runs toward the explosion, pushing past the crowd of onlookers. He tries to make it... (full context)
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Pyle uses his American Legation badge to move past the police, taking Fowler with him. They see dead bodies, including women with their babies. Pyle seems distressed with... (full context)
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Fowler continues to berate Pyle for his actions. Because Pyle has believed in York Harding and... (full context)
Part 4, Chapter 1
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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... (full context)
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Fowler meets with Vigot at 10 PM. He insists that he had nothing to do with... (full context)
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Vigot tells Fowler that Pyle was killed by a “rusty bayonet,”and Vigot can’t imagine that Fowler would use... (full context)
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Fowler tells Vigot, who continues to look at him with a vague suspicion, that he has... (full context)
Part 4, Chapter 2, Section 1
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Shortly after the explosion on the rue Catinat, Fowler walks to Mr. Chou’s warehouse. There, he finds Mr. Chou and Mr. Heng. He tells... (full context)
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In response to Fowler’s protests, Heng nods, and makes another suggestion: Fowler should invite Pyle to dinner at the... (full context)
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Fowler seems to accept Heng’s advice. As he prepares to leave the warehouse, Heng tells him,... (full context)
Part 4, Chapter 2, Section 2
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Fowler leaves a note at the American Legation, asking Pyle to come to his flat to... (full context)
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There is a knock at the door, and Fowler finds Dominguez waiting outside his flat. Dominguez asks Fowler if there’s anything for him to... (full context)
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Inside Fowler’s flat, Pyle explains that he’s seen General Thé that afternoon. He insists that the people... (full context)
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Pyle and Fowler continue to chat in Fowler’s flat. Pyle mentions that his father is a professor and... (full context)
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...out that he’s been talking too much—he senses that something strange is happening that night. Fowler suggests that they cancel the dinner, a suggestion that Pyle dismisses. Fowler reminds Pyle that... (full context)
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As he talks to Fowler, Pyle accidentally knocks over a glass—he seems nervous. Fowler helps him clean up the mess,... (full context)
Part 4, Chapter 2, Section 3
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Having just invited Pyle to dinner, Fowler goes to the Majestic to see a film. On the way, he encounters Wilkins, a... (full context)
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Fowler walks out of Robin Hood early and takes a trishaw to the Vieux Moulin. Arrived... (full context)
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As Fowler waits for news of Pyle’s death, Granger approaches him, and asks him to step outside.... (full context)
Part 4, Chapter 3
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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... (full context)
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Fowler notices the copy of The Role of the West on his bookshelf. He asks Phuong... (full context)
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Phuong and Fowler kiss. Fowler thinks: everything has gone right since Pyle’s death. Nevertheless, Fowler wishes there was... (full context)