Symbolism In The Quiet American

1259 Words 6 Pages
Greene’s use of Bendrix as an antihero in The End of the Affair helps to portray a struggling moral character. Bendrix is another perfect example of an antihero. He even admits his own mediocrity when he says, “My words were overcharged. I could detect their insincerity” (19). Everything about Bendrix is repugnant: he is a complainer, a hypocrite, a narcicist, a pessimist, a paramour, and an atheist (which has a bad connotation attached in society). In other words he is everything a hero should not be. However by the end, the moral of the story is learned through his mistakes, the moral being to follow and accept God. This is shown through Bendrix’s, “own unreliability… melodramatic exaggeration of [Greene’s] own style into an element in Bendrix’s …show more content…
Pyle is a young, and naive reporter that shows off his democratic diplomacy and “superior” ideals whenever possible. These characteristics create Pyle’s, “pronounced and aggravating views on what the United States was doing for the world” (5). These views of superiority create a condescending view of Pyle that allows him to get lost in Vietnamese policies, much as the United States did later. Pyle’s involvement reflects the American involvement in Vietnam as both got lost in a conflict they had yet to fully understand, endangering and losing many lives in the process as they came to do more bad than good, even with good morale implications. While Pyle comes to symbolize his respective country, Fowler represents Europe in Vietnamese colonialism because, “Fowler… avoids political engagement… which saves him from the mistakes of Pyle” (Kerr 98). Phuong, Fowler’s Vietnamese girlfriend, symbolizes Vietnamese “innocence” and traditionalism as it comes in contact with European influence, represented by Fowler, as Vietnam transitions from European to American, represented by Pyle, occupation; in which Phuong does briefly leave Fowler for Pyle because of Pyle’s promises for a more emotionally and financially stable relationship. However it is Fowler (Europe) that holds promise because Pyle (America) turns the country into a warzone as they try to westernize Vietnam (Phuong) to a great extent. The conservatism of Pyle and the European countries is how Greene shows that traditionalism should be kept and can be argued to be superior to changing the status quo. By characters representing their respective countries, Greene develops distinct moralities and their feasibility in colonial

Related Documents