The Sympathizer

The Sympathizer

by

Viet Thanh Nguyen

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The Communist Agent Character Analysis

A twenty-two-year-old North Vietnamese sympathizer who tries to swallow a list with the names of important members of the South Vietnamese Army, including the narrator and the General. She is raped by three policemen in a movie theater that is sometimes used as an interrogation room while Claude, the crapulent major, and the narrator watch. She is then sent to prison. After three years in holding, her eyes have faded and her hair is thinning. The narrator promises himself that he will soon have her released.

The Communist Agent Quotes in The Sympathizer

The The Sympathizer quotes below are all either spoken by The Communist Agent or refer to The Communist Agent. 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:
Cultural Duality Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Grove Press edition of The Sympathizer published in 2016.
Chapter 20 Quotes

We're revolutionaries, my friend. Suffering made us. Suffering for the people is what we chose because we sympathized so much with their suffering […] Only without the comfort of sleep will you fully understand the horrors of history. I tell you this as someone who has slept very little since what has happened to me. Believe me when I say that I know how you feel, and that this has to be done.

Page Number: 337
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 21 Quotes

They were good students, just like me. They learned their lesson well, and so have I, so if you would please just turn off the lights […] if you would remember that the two of us were once and perhaps still are the best of friends, if you could see that I have nothing left to confess […] if I had become an accountant, if I had fallen in love with the right woman […] if my father had gone to save souls in Algeria instead of here […] if we had not fought a war against each other, if some of us had not called ourselves nationalists or communists or capitalists or realists […] if history had never happened, neither as farce nor as tragedy, if the serpent of language had not bitten me, if I had never been born, if my mother was never cleft, if you needed no more revisions, and if I saw no more of these visions, please, could you please just let me sleep?

Related Characters: The Narrator (speaker), Man / The Commissar , The Communist Agent
Page Number: 353-354
Explanation and Analysis:
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The Communist Agent Character Timeline in The Sympathizer

The timeline below shows where the character The Communist Agent appears in The Sympathizer. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 10
Asian Identity in the United States Theme Icon
...in actual sweat, mucus, vomit, and tears. The narrator looks at him and thinks of the communist agent . For the next scene, the Auteur requires several takes. It’s the last one in... (full context)
Chapter 20
Loyalty vs. Duplicity Theme Icon
Moral Ambivalence and Purpose Theme Icon
...returns to the subject of the narrator’s confession and asks him what he did to the Communist agent . The narrator insists that he did nothing to her. He begs again to sleep.... (full context)
Chapter 21
Loyalty vs. Duplicity Theme Icon
Moral Ambivalence and Purpose Theme Icon
...nose and the taste of battery in his mouth would go away. He recalls that the Communist agent was interrogated in a movie theater. She lay in the center of the large room,... (full context)
Loyalty vs. Duplicity Theme Icon
Moral Ambivalence and Purpose Theme Icon
...the three policemen in the movie theater, while he sat watching from a folding chair. The Communist agent cried out that she was innocent, while the police officers decided on who would rape... (full context)
Chapter 22
Loyalty vs. Duplicity Theme Icon
Moral Ambivalence and Purpose Theme Icon
The Commandant accuses the narrator of being unwilling to sacrifice himself to save the Communist agent , though she was willing to sacrifice her life to save the Commissar’s. The narrator... (full context)