How does the novel present reporters? How do they function? What restraints are placed on them?

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kimfuji eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In The Quiet American, Fowler tells the story. He is not objective however because he is, in part, responsible for Pyle's death. He judges Pyle because he believes in something. He(Pyle) has a sense of morality. Fowler doesn't believe in anything . He has affairs. He is not rooted. He doesn't have his bearings. However he is good at doing what he does, reports.

Greene is saying that the reporter must not take sides and he must also not believe in anything, so he doesn't get caught up in a position. If he get's caught up in a position(political) he can be used by the enemy (the natives). Worse than that, if he gets caught up he can be torn emotionally and his reporting will suffer.


They killed (Pyle) because he was too innocent to live. He was young and ignorant and silly and he got involved. He had no more of a notion than any of you what the whole affair's about, and you gave him money and York Harding's books on the East and said, "Go ahead. Win the East for Democracy." Part 1 Chapter 2, pg. 32


The restraints on the reporter are that he has to act--report the news--however he cannot judge. (Is that possible?) He cannot get involved emotionally. In a sense he has to put his humanity aside to do a job.

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The Quiet American

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