Flowers play an important part in “The Quiet American”¯ by Graham Green because they symbolize innocence. In this respect, the author pays a particular attention to the simplicity and beauty of Vietnam and local people which he conveys through flowers as symbols of this natural beauty and innocence. In such a way, flowers become a symbol of innocence which the author conveys throughout the entire book.
Obviously, the author attempts to show his particular vision of the war in Vietnam as the unjust war, as the slaughter where people die for nothing and where people are forced to take sides, even if it is the side of the enemy, to stay human. In such a situation, horrors of the war and manipulations and scheming of secret services and the military are contrasted to the beauty of flowers, which are symbols of Vietnam, its nature and people:
They say whatever you’re looking for, you will find here. They say you come to Vietnam and you understand a lot in a few minutes, but the rest has got to be lived. The smell: that’s the first thing that hits you, promising everything in exchange for your soul. And the heat. Your shirt is straightaway a rag. You can hardly remember your name, or what you came to escape from. But at night, there’s a breeze. (Green, 43).
The natural beauty and innocence of flowers are contrasted to evil-natured people, especially Americans and those who strive to take the power in Vietnam. In such a context, flowers remind about the original nature of humans about the fact that they are a part of nature, but their life is as easy to destroy as that of a flower.