Study Guide

The Quiet American Part 2, Chapter 2: Section 3

By Graham Greene

Part 2, Chapter 2: Section 3

  • The tower isn't empty. Two men crouch against the wall. They're armed, but they don't shoot.
  • Fowler calls to Pyle, telling him to climb up.
  • Fowler teases Pyle, asking him if they ought to inform the scared sentries that they're fighting for democracy.
  • The two get deep in discussion about deep matters: God, religion, the limits of human knowledge, the morality of war, what the Vietnamese want and don't want, whether one should be against colonialism, ideas versus facts, and why Fowler doesn't get involved or choose a side. It's one of those heated philosophical discussions that would get over a hundred comments on Facebook.
  • It's tense, but it keeps their minds off the prospect of an attack.
  • Fowler gets up to get a blanket from the car. Fear is one thing. Cold is another.
  • An explosion in the distance unnerves him.
  • Back in the tower, Pyle springs to get one of the guns. He doesn't like being unarmed.
  • A tank drives by.
  • More explosions are heard in the distance.
  • They try to sleep.
  • Both men think of Phuong and discuss her.
  • Their discussion again turns philosophical as they cover the topics of love, sex, and death. Fowler talks a little about women he loved and lost.
  • Just as Pyle is about to share something, a magnified voice enters the tower.
  • They've been discovered.
  • Fowler suggests they clear out fast before a bazooka or a Viet kills them.
  • They jump.