The Quiet American By Graham Greene And For Whom The Bell Tolls Essay

The Quiet American By Graham Greene And For Whom The Bell Tolls Essay

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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 this righteousness is displayed differently.
The Quiet American takes place during the Indochina war that took place during 1946-1954. It is set in Vietnam and is way more modern than the setting of For Whom the Bell Tolls, which takes place during the Spanish War in 1937. The setting of that novel takes place in the mountains and caves, whereas the quiet American takes place in a city.
In the Quiet American Fowler a British journalist introduces us to Pyle who is a young, naive American official and a frenemy to Fowler. There is a lot of conflict between Fowler and Pyle not only because Pyle wants Fowlers woman, but also because Fowler views Pyle as foolish and young; a typical American. Pyle represents the entitled American coming into to save the land; blinded by what he believes that this land needs he is ignorant to the fact that he may be hurting more people than he 's actually helping. “Yes. They killed him because he was too innocent to live. He was young and ignorant and sill...


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...he local people are background characters who are portrayed as inhumane and disposable. Although Americans are displayed similarly throughout both; Robert displays a self-aware resentful American, and Pyle displays an aloof, unsympathetic American. While they both believe heavily in the cause, Robert actually doubts what he is doing is right even though he is insistent on carrying out his American duties. This leaves a question on what good intentions are and if the end really justifies the means. While the Quiet American displays Americans walking against the local people For Whom the Bell Tolls represents the Americans walking with the people. Even though these two depictions are quite different in the end they both payed for the harms they had done as Americans through their deaths. At the end they both fought for the cause no matter who or what got in their way.

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