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The quiet american

            A Reply to DeVitis' "Transitions: The Quiet American-.
             Since its first publication in 1955, Graham Greene's The Quiet American has been praised and abused by critics for more than forty years. Even though Greene was no communist, his readers acknowledged his feelings about the American presence in Vietnam. Apart from the anti-American attacks, many writers portrayed interesting opinions in their essays, which proved useful in understanding certain aspects of the novel. Such is the case of "Transitions:The Quiet American- by A. A. DeVitis.
             The author starts with the notion of both internal and external themes presented in the book. He then defines The Quiet American as being "primarily about human beings involved in a political and ethical dilemma- (DeVitis 110). Throughout the novel, we observe Fowler's struggle of «engagement », in which he becomes tormented by making the right decision and taking sides. Here, DeVitis believes that Greene uses Sartre's branch of existentialism to define Fowler, because it "denies God and makes atheism the reigning philosophy governing individual conduct- (110). The essay further emphasizes on the fact that "idealism, when uninformed by experience, is a dangerous weapon- (112). We can clearly notice this statement in Pyle's «good intentions » and his ignorance when he ends up helping General Thé bomb civilians. In the middle of all this, we find Phuong, "the pawn in the game of experience versus innocence- (112), who attaches herself to both men; to Fowler and his incapability to remain loyal and to Pyle and his promises of a stable future. Furthermore, the author presents pity as a theme and proceeds to its consequences: betrayal of Pyle, Fowler's official involvement and victory over Phuong. Finally, he concludes that the protagonist's lack of faith was left questionable to readers when, at the end of the novel, Fowler "wishes there were someone to whom he could say that he was sorry- (114).

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