"When faced with conflict we can’t help but be involved"

This is my prompt for the novel "The Quiet American".
What are some ideas about this prompt that I could explore?

So far there are a few ideas that I have in mind (It'd be helpful to indicate which of the below is best to explore in this context)
- Why do we feel like we need to be involved in conflict - is it a choice?
- Does being involved in someone else's conflict make it our conflict
- Consequences of being involved
- How do we become involved
- Is it always possible to remain neutral - do we need to choose a side?
- Every individual can choose to embrace or reject conflict - why is this?
- We can not avoid conflict because it will only escalate
- Once we are involved are we able to opt out?
-“The world is a dangerous place, not because of those who do evil, but because of those who look on and do nothing.” – Albert Einstein

Just a few of my ideas here. Some of your ideas would be very helpful, thanks in advance

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Thanks for the Q. Wasn't this answered here? http://merspi.com.au/111779/context-the-quiet-american

1 Answer

Best answer

Yes, these are all great ideas ... but tying them into an essay that draws on the context and the narrative tensions that this develops (as well as your exploration of them) is what makes the "context essay" a true challenge.

In regard to this context, and TQA, you might also take into consideration "conscience" in regard to any "conflict" - individual (secular moral and religious) conscience, ideological conscience and the apathetic conscience - supposed impartiality V neutral observer V self-survival V private revenge and jealousy motives V ideological involvement - which of these wins out in the end?

In exploring the context be aware that there are always choices to be made - more often than not dilemmas - but as the writer of the "context essay" you choose to explore these dilemmas based on your interpretation of the context prompt - "When faced with conflict, we can't help but be involved."

What is your answer to this assertion? Are there choices to be made here? What alternatives are there for Fowler? Does he debate them? Why does he have to? What forces him to act? Does he have an authentic conscience? Is his "guilt" manufactured to provide some form of redemption? Did Pyle deserve what Fowler did to him? Could Fowler have walked away from the conflict or did he feel compelled to act - if only from the distance of betrayal?

Perhaps a reading here will develop your ideas and give them focus: http://theplacetolearn.files.wordpress.com/2012/12/the-quiet-american-ec-focus-on-bystanders-and-involvement.pdf

In pointing you to another site, I could point you to many others (many!) but ultimately your conception of the "issues" within the prompt should guide the uniqueness of your essay.

You could look at Megan Stack's "Every Man in this Village is a Liar" (also on the VCE text list) for a comparison between a journalist's experiences of recent conflict (Partial or impartial? The consequences of becoming involved?) and Graham Greene's fictionalized account through "doubting" Thomas Fowler and his Catholic conscience (Morally flawed, ideologically biased and confused (?), but a very human and middle-aged journalist). Does "age" have anything to do with a reluctance to become "engage"?

Is there a justification for not being involved - as a journalist or as a human being? As a "man"? Yes, there are gender issues ... Is there a doctrine of "conscientious objection" to conflict that could be followed? If so, what are its consequences? If not, what are its consequences? How are "we" drawn into conflicts? Once a conflict become "personal" or when "we" perceive of the conflict as "inevitable"? What is a journalist's role and does that "protect" you from becoming "involved"?

Hope that helps?

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