Study Guide

The Quiet American Part 2, Chapter 2: Section 1

By Graham Greene

Part 2, Chapter 2: Section 1

  • At a Caodaist festival in Tanyin, Fowler interviews the deputy of the religion's leader, asking him about General Thé, and getting nothing.
  • The deputy tells Fowler to remember God loves the truth, Fowler asks which truth, and the deputy declares that in the Caodaist faith all truths are reconciled and truth is love.
  • Fowler has no interest in this profession or in kissing the holy man's ring.
  • He runs into Pyle trying unsuccessfully to start his Buick. With Pyle is a Caodaist commandant and former assistant to General Thé before the general took to the hills. He goes to get a mechanic.
  • Despise Pyle's protests to the contrary, Fowler senses that the commandant and Pyle were discussing something they don't want him to hear. He decides to go back to the cathedral to get out of the heat.
  • The blend of religious imagery—Christian, Buddhist, and Confucianism—moves him to introspection about his atheism, but nothing else.
  • He goes back out to find Pyle.
  • The mechanic hasn't come yet, so he offers Pyle a lift back to Saigon.
  • The commandant promises to have Pyle's vehicle sent the next day—with the exhaust intact.