The Quiet American Characters

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Alden Pyle

Alden Pyle is the "quiet American" of the title. He is the opposite of a stereotypical American abroad: the loud obnoxious American in a Hawaiian shirt with a camera. Instead Pyle is thoughtful and intellectual, serious and principled. He comes from a fine East Coast background. His father is a renowned professor of underwater erosion who has appeared on the cover of Time magazine; his mother is well respected in their community.

Pyle is a brilliant graduate of Harvard University. He has studied theories of government and society, and is particularly devoted to a scholar named York Harding. He has read Harding's numerous books many times and has absorbed Harding's thinking as his own. One of Harding's key ideas is that when Communism is at war with a colonial power in a foreign country like Viet Nam, a "Third Force" emerges to provide a new government. Pyle...

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This section contains 1,235 words
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