Study Guide

The Quiet American Isolation

By Graham Greene


Sometimes isolation is a choice, knowingly and willingly taken. It is the chosen way of life for Thomas Fowler, the narrator of The Quiet American. Fowler fancies himself a reporter, not only as an occupation, but as a way of being. He keeps his distance. He doesn't get involved. He refused to be engaged. Fowler keeps himself removed from countries, armies, politicians, and religions at war. Through the character of Fowler, the novel presents us with the haunting question: can you isolate yourself from the world and still be human?

Questions About Isolation

  1. Why does Fowler eventually takes sides?
  2. Is Fowler's non-involvement a source of happiness or anxiety for him?
  3. Is it possible to be a reporter without taking sides? Why or why not? 
  4. Why does Fowler say that "I'm not involved" is an article of his creed? (

Chew on This

Fowler's life was more human before he took sides.

Fowler's life was more human after he took sides.