Analyzing the Love between Phuong and Fowler in "The Quiet American" as it gradually increases as time goes on

Essay by steve_gelvinHigh School, 12th gradeA+, January 2003

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Vague Relationship

In the world of literary novels and movies, one can always find a masterpiece that stands out due to its originality and its perplexing narration. For example, on the Memento official website, many words from the critics, especially the phrases "a psychological brain-teaser" or "intellectually novel film", attract the audience. The outstanding part of the Memento is its arrangement. It separates into two parts; the main part shown in color plays "backwards" from the "real" end of the story to the climax at the end of the movie; while the flashback shown in black-and-white which unfolds chronologically and stops right before the climax. The Quiet American is not as puzzling as this movie. Nevertheless, it echoes the this same structure of the "colored part" juxtaposed with the "black-and-white part." Greene uses this arrangement to make us think that Fowler's feelings towards Phuong are hardly constant, and distances us from the fact that the feelings of Fowler are gradually increasing as time goes on.

In the first part of the novel The Quiet American, Greene uses flashbacks to give us an unsteady feeling about Fowler and Phuong in regard to their relationship. After the death of Pyle, in Chapter 1 (11-22), Fowler treats Phuong as if she was a sexual material and he thinks she is not intelligent. Therefore, he looks down on her. He says,

"Phuong on the other hand was wonderfully ignorant; if Hitler had come

into the conversation she would have interrupted to ask who he was."

"I wonder whether she would consent to sleep with me that night if Pyle

never came, but I knew when I had smoked four pipes I would no longer

want her"(14).

On the other hand, in Chapter 2 and Chapter 3-5, which happen in flashback manner, we notice...