Study Guide

The Quiet American Part 1, Chapter 2: Section 2

By Graham Greene

Part 1, Chapter 2: Section 2

  • Back in the present moment, Fowler and Phuong have awoken. Neither mentions Pyle.
  • Phuong agrees to stay the night again, but wants her box that's at Pyle's residence.
  • Concerned that the police may be there investigating, Fowler says he'll come with her.
  • Once there, a Vietnamese police officer won't let Phuong into Pyle's apartment, so Fowler goes in search of a French officer.
  • He finds Vigot in Pyle's bathroom.
  • They found Pyle's car in the garage, empty of gas.
  • Vigot asks Fowler if he has any theories for why Pyle was killed. Fowler runs down a list of possible culprits and possible motives, each as likely as the next.
  • Vigot admits he's not really looking for the people who killed him. There's a war going on, after all. He needs only make a report.
  • Fowler says he can rule him out as a suspect. He's not involved.
  • Finally Vigot asks why Fowler is even there.
  • They go in search on Phuong's belongings. The two men pack her belonging in her box.
  • On the bookshelf Fowler sees several works by York Harding. With Vigot's permission, i.e., looking the other way, Fowler takes one of these.
  • Vigot asks if Fowler can tell him anything in confidence about Pyle. Fowler has nothing to say.
  • Vigot reminds him that he can delay his exit visa, to which Fowler responds that he has no wish to return home. Too many problems there.
  • The arrival of the American Economic Attaché prompts Fowler to leave. He doesn't seem to like the guy all that much.
  • They run into each other outside, however, and exchange words about the news. The man doesn't care for Fowler's flippant remarks. Fowler says he sorry and asks what the man reported in his cable to Pyle's parents. The Attaché replies "Grieved to report that your son died a soldier's death in cause of Democracy" (1.2.2.80).
  • Fowler says that's a confusing thing to say about a man who worked the Economic Aid Mission.
  • The Attaché admits that Pyle had special duties.
  • Fowler, knowing this already, gets angry and says that Pyle's innocence and ignorance and idealistic commitment to spreading democracy got him killed.
  • The Attaché assumes that Fowler is upset because Pyle stole his girl.