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The Quiet American

  • Study Guide
Writing Help

Suggested Essay Topics

Writing Help Suggested Essay Topics

1. Despite their obvious differences, in what ways and to what extent do you think that Fowler and Pyle resemble each other?

Based on the various French characters who appear in The Quiet American (nspector Vigot, Captain Trouin, the rubber planter, etc.), how would you describe the novel’s attitude toward the French colonial presence in Vietnam?

Do you think Fowler’s assessment of Pyle (or of America) is sound? Why or why not?

The characters in The Quiet American belong to many faiths, from Catholicism to Caodaism, and even to Fowler’s atheism, which is a faith in there being no God. What role (or roles) do you think faith plays in the novel? How do conflicting faiths shape relationships?

Why do you think Fowler becomes so upset when Pyle saves his life during the watchtower episode? Do you think this event changes their relationship in a significant way?

At several points in the novel, we see Fowler lying to others and to himself. To what extent do you trust Fowler as the narrator of this story?

The Quiet American features several characters who influence the story but never actually appear in the novel (e.g., Mr. Muoi, General Thé, Helen). What role do you think these unseen characters play? Are the roles they play similar to or different from one another?