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Unit 4 English


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What is "The Quiet American" about? That's a very broad question, while I could point you to the basic plot - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Quiet_American or various downloadable study guides at http://xavier.vic.libguides.com/content.php?pid=293511&sid=2409889 - having read the book I would try a couple of learning strategies to help you develop general perspective on the novel.

  1. Flash Summary: Write three (3) brief summaries about what you think that the story is about - write the summary in no more that 10 words. (e.g. (1) Middle-aged male journalist discovers a guilty conscience has consequences. (2) Fence-sitter finally makes a choice but no one will know. etc.)

  2. Write a 50 word summary answering the "5Ws + H" - Who did What to Whom? When? Where? Why? How and with what consequences?

  3. Write a three paragraph summary of no more than 250 words (the paragraphs should consecutively follow the beginning, the middle and the end of the story).

Look at the following themes to develop a deeper and more insightful understanding of Graeme Greene's personal and ideological perspective on life as an adulterous journalist living in Vietnam in the early 1950s:

  1. Love as Symbolic of War - “War and Love – they have always been compared.” (p. 152)

  2. Guilt, repentance and atonement, conscience, belief and the question of a higher authority. How much is Fowler’s sense of guilt based on western religion and his beliefs about the existence or non-existence of “God” and the values of Christianity?

  3. Personal Salvation of Fowler (pp. 130, 138, 140, 168, 171). How can Fowler redeem himself? Or is he doomed to live a life plagued by guilt?

  4. One cannot remain innocent, detached, and yet human too. (pp. 152-153, 174, 183, 185). Don’t we all have to take sides and then get involved? Can we live our lives without being involved?

  5. Youth and Aging/Experience and Innocence. Fowler, Phoung and Pyle - Just how innocent are they all? With what consequences?

“Suddenly I saw myself as he saw me, a man of middle age, with eyes a little bloodshot, beginning to put on weight, ungraceful in love. cynical and less innocent.” (40).


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