Women and Honor Essay

Often, the view on women in the society is extremely biased and determined by the existing stereotypes, which are formed in terms of the patriarchal tradition that dominates in the society. In this respect, literary works are not exceptions and it is possible to find numerous examples when women are depicted as deceitful and mercantile beings. Among such works, it is possible to name “The Quiet American” by Graham Green. At this point, views of female authors on female characters traditionally differ from views supported by male authors. For instance, Adrienne Rich, in her “Poetry and Prose”, lays emphasis that women may be highly honorable and noble people. In such a way, the views of Graham Green and Adrienne Rich on the concept of women and honor differ consistently.

In this respect, it should be said that Adrienne Rich tends to view women and men as equal in their relationships.

Hence, the concept of women and honor are relevant and Adrienne Rich lays emphasis on the fact that women can possess the same values as men do. At this point, it should be said that the honor of women, as Adrienne Rich sees it, may be traced through the relationship and love between men and women:
“An honorable human relationship ”“ that is, one in which two people have the right to use the word “love” ”“ is a process, delicate, violent, often terrifying for both persons involved, a process refining the truths they can tell each other” (Rich, 199).

In such a way, it is obvious that Adrienne Rich views women and men as equal in their love relationship and they may be equally honorable. In stark contrast, Graham Green creates quite a different image of women in his “Quiet American”. To put it more precisely, he creates rather negative images of women in his book. The major female character of the book, Phuong, is depicted as a woman that pursues her pragmatic goals. In fact, her only goal is to escape from the war and move abroad, in the USA or the UK. It seems as if it does not matter for her what a man will take her away from Vietnam suffering from terrors of the war. This is why she develops her relationships with the narrator, Fowler, hoping that he will take her with him to Great Britain. At the same time, the author reveals that she is not only mercantile but she also proves to be quite deceitful and treacherous since, on realizing that Fowler will not get an agreement from his wife to divorce, she makes another try with Alden Pyle, an American who falls in love with her and promises to take her to the USA. However, his death throws Phuong back to Fowler who does not look like as her beloved, but rather a tool which she uses to achieve her goals. In such a way, the general female image is very negative. In fact, the main female character, Phuong, is depicted as absolutely inferior to men. Moreover, the traditional concept of honor can never be applied to this character because of her pragmatism and treacherous nature.

Thus, it is possible to conclude that views on women and honor may vary dramatically from total denial as it is the case of Green’s “Quiet American” to the confirmation of the possibility of women being honorable as it is the case of Adrienne Rich.

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