Mayra will introduce the setting of the

Mayra Diaz

Professor Gei


December 13, 2017

Prompt # 2

            I am going to compare/contrast the two novels, The Quiet
American and Second-Class Citizen on the basis of gender identities, gender roles
and social issues in both novels. I am going to start by introducing both
novels by their social background, and then I will introduce the setting of the
novels and the characters.

            The Quiet American was written in 1955 by Graham Greene.
It is a Vietnam novel between these
two men, Fowler and Pyle over politics as well as over a beautiful young
Vietnamese lover Phuong. It is deeply intriguing, and Greene wrote this when he
went driving back to Saigon from Ben Tre on October in 1951. While he was there
he was escorted by an American aid worker who addressed him on finding the
third force in Vietnam. Like his other novels of this considerable age of
writing, The Quiet American associates
Greene’s interest in unfamiliar environment with his interest about political
conflicts and crisis of faith in a century that, already at the time of
writing, had experienced the dismay of colonialism, two world wars, a
holocaust, and the hazard of communism East Asia.

            The novel, Second Class Citizen was written by Buchi
Emecheta and was published in 1974. The story is about Adah Ofili from her childhood to her early years in
London that begins with a debate of ideas. Emecheta gets her ideas when she
visits Nigeria twice a year just keeps writing and writing. When she sees something
new she writes in a story. As a black writer you must stick it out there is no
shortcuts either for a man or women when becoming a writer. Emecheta writes:
“Writing is something that requires complete commitment” (451), the evidence
that Emecheta points out is that writing must be your priority and that you
should be fully committed. That if you want to be taken seriously you must be
dedicated to your writing.

            The gender identities that the
characters faced which masculinity from the males from both novels. In the
Quiet American its setting is in Vietnam and the two male characters are Fowler
and Pyle. Fowler is British, and Pyle is American. Fowler is a journalist while
Pyle is on assignment from Economic Aid Mission. Pyle is an idealist and an optimist
while Fowler is a well-read and contemplative man.
Pyle wants to protect Phuong while Fowler wants to dominant her. For instance,
“He’s such a punctual man” (4), essentially, Fowler is saying that Pyle is a ‘man’
who comes on time. That he hasn’t come late and that he always comes on time,
that he is dependable. Another example “This isn’t suitable for her” (37), essentially Pyle is talking
to Fowler that the place they are which is the cabaret isn’t suitable for
Phuong because it showed “young Air Force officer” (37), whistling at the women
there which included Phuong. For Fowler his masculinity is the Phuong is her
pet and that’s different from Pyle. For instance, “Don’t you think we might
call it off and dice for her?” (69) approximately, Fowler is suggesting that he
and Pyle should let a dice decides who takes her. In the Second-Class Citizen
which its setting is in England, the male character in the novel is Francis.
Francis is a someone who is currently finishing his studies to be an
accountancy. Francis’s masculinity towards Adah is that he decides because he
is the husband. For example, “But to him, he was the male, and he was right to
tell her what she was going to do” (28) The evidence suggest that Francis
thinks of himself as the one in charge of their marriage because he is male and
just because of that he could do what he wants, to tell her what to do. When
Francis went to England he wrote Adah a letter saying why didn’t she cried when
he left and that she was happy he left, that she does not care for him. For
instance, “You did not cry for me” (32), essentially Francis is saying since he
left to another place to continue his studies that Adah should had cried for
him because he was going away for a while and he was accusing her that she was
happy that he left, that she doesn’t care for him. The similarities between Fowler,
Pyle, and Francis is their masculinity towards their love ones who they care for.

The gender roles that the characters faced in
feminist in both novels. In Quiet American, Phuong, “whose name means phoenix”
(398) essentially that is what Phuong’s name means. Phuong worked as a dancer
at the Rainbow and that’s where she met Fowler. Her devotion to Fowler is no
more adventurous or sensual; she is not however inadequate fidelity. For
instance, “She leaves Fowler and attaches herself to Pyle” (398), who promises
her a position she pursues. Essentially the evidence points out that Phuong
wants security, a place to leave, and someone to support her which in this case
it was Fowler, but she switched to Pyle when Phuong found out that Fowler can’t
marry her. In the Second-Class Citizen Adah is different than Phuong, Adah
support herself, she’s educated, she works as at a library, “British Library
Association Professional Certificate” (40), The evidence points out the
certificate that Adah has obtained proves that she works at a library. Adah
supports her husband, she is the breadwinner in the family unlike Phuong. Adah
is a mother with children and wants what is best for her children. For
instance, “All I have to do is to work, look after Francis and attend classes
in the evening” (33). Essentially the evidence pints out that for Adah to go to
England is that she’ll work twice as hard, keep an eye on Francis and attend
classes to support her family. Phuong and Adah
are so different yet similar, but they do things that might benefit themselves
and others.

social issues that the male characters faced in both novels. Pyle, Fowler, and
Francis that things that bind them together is they traveled to a different
place temporary. Fowler is from England, Pyle is from America, and Francis is
from Nigeria. They went to different places because of their jobs. Also, Fowler
is married and so is Francis unlike Pyle. They are all male dominant who seeks
something in their lives. The language they have common is they all speak
English. For instance, “Business of life” (396) In every story there is
business in one’s life that portrays who you are and what others see you as. They
all have different minds, for Fowler as a journalist, “even an opinion is a
kind of action” (20) approximately Fowler as journalist he has no opinion he
writes what he saw that even an opinion is not good. For Pyle its, “Of course I
always like to know what the man on the spot has to say” (16) essentially the evidence
suggests that Pyle who is talking to Fowler says he likes to hear opinions of
others and keep the conversation going to know more about people. For Francis
is, “Are you not like my mother to me in this country?” (86) substantially,
Francis has annoyance towards Adah as he is talking to her, even though he
moved to England to finish his studies and he doesn’t like the way Adah is
talking to him like his mother. He wants to be free and make his own decisions without
being mothered. These three male characters has a lot of similarities and
differences between that distinguish them from each other.

            The social issues the female characters faced in both
novels. Phuong is from Vietnam and Adah is from Nigeria but went to England to
pursue a better life unlike Phuong cannot leave her home because that’s all she
knows. Adah is married with children unlike Phuong who is a mistress to Fowler.
Adah as a female is making more than her husband, “she was in a white man’s job”
(69) approximately the evidence points out that Adah as a woman she was doing a
‘white man’s job’. Adah learned English at a young age, so she is fluent unlike
Phuong whose English is not so good. For instance, “I came to school” (11)
typically Adah from a young age knew she wanted to go to school but her parents
would not send her, so she decided to take matters into her own hands. For
Phuong, “Her English is not very good” (68) virtually the evidence suggest that
Phuong’s English isn’t very good. For Adah and Phuong, they are both women,
both from different places, and they are just trying to fit in society. 

            Overall, both novels deal with gender identities, gender
roles, and social issues in the society. Second Class Citizen explores more on
gender roles more deeply than The Quiet American. Adah can support herself
unlike Phuong who needs support there is nothing wrong with that but, its
rather rare for a female to make a living and make more money than any male.
Though they were really well written novels The Second-Class Citizen has more
depth then The Quiet American. Second class citizen deals with a woman who goes
to England to make a living and not to be called second class citizen but along
the way she experiences many things. For Phuong she had some hardships as well,
but she is in her country and though she goes back in forth with Fowler and
Pyle she just wants security like any other women. Adah in the other hand wants
to change the way people perceive her and wants to prove that she is first
class citizen not second-class citizen and that why it’s a better novel to