Compare And Contrast The Quiet American

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War, love, race, and the meaning of life all play huge roles in The Quiet American by Graham Greene and For Whom the Bell Tolls by Ernest Hemingway. The depiction of Americans intertwined with the themes of war, love, race, and the meaning of life are quite similar, but at the same time very different. In Greene’s novel the depiction of Americans is seen through Alden Pyle who is young, inexperienced, naive, and careless. Alternatively Hemingway’s American character Robert Jordan is Pyle’s complete opposite being that he’s experienced and aware of the actions he does. Whereas Pyle fights against the native people; Jordan fights among the people. While both novels portray a similar idea of American 's self-righteous duty, through these two characters…show more content…
For example in A Quiet American, the Vietnamese are background characters and are seen as useless and disposable. When we do see a Vietnamese character they have little to no dialogue and are seen as very bland and dull characters. The biggest example of this is Phuong, who almost seems like a lifeless robot. She is displayed as a sex object whose only use is to fill Fowlers bed at night. Phuong has very little dialogue throughout the whole book and when she does talk it is without any emotion. Even Phuong’s very own sister speaks about her as if she was an object to be won right in front of her face. Phuong also seems to have no say in who she belongs to as Pyle and Fowler fight over her once again in her face. The other Vietnamese we see in the novel all are the dead bodies. “…a woman and a small boy. They were very clearly dead… “Malchance,” the lieutenant said.” The French lieutenant’s nonchalance of the death of the innocent Vietnamese is displayed throughout the whole novel. In For Whom the Bell Tolls the Spaniards are seen as savages who would turn on their own people. “Of course they turned on you. They turned on you often but they always turned on every one. They turned on themselves, too. If you had three together, two would unite against one, and then the two would start to betray each other. Not always, but often enough for you to take enough cases and start to draw it as a conclusion.”(Hemingway, 75) This shows that the Spaniards are seen as savages to Robert who is an outsider and just like in Greene’s novel the local people are given this inhuman presence to go along with the mindless blood shed of the innocent native

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