Mikhail Bakhtin first introduced the term heteroglossia into literary discussion through his essay “Discourse in the Novel.”  Bakhtin writes, “Authorial speech, the speeches of narrators, inserted genres, the speech of characters are merely those fundamental compositional unities with whose help heteroglossia can enter the novel; each of them permits a multiplicity of social voices and a wide variety of their links and interrelationships (always more or less dialogized)” (263).  Bakhtin, in short, suggests that the novel comprises not one, monolithic voice that articulates its “meaning,” but a multiplicity of voices that speak in dialogue, competition and cooperation with each other.

This is certainly the case in The Quiet American.  The novel’s heteroglossia is informed of course by Greene himself, but also by Fowler’s narration and dialogue, Pyle’s dialogue, other characters, and historical events and contexts.  Using images obtained from the web and any simple graphics program (MS Paint, for example), this exercise asks you to create a digital collage representing the heteroglossia at play in The Quiet American.  I leave this prompt relatively open-ended: it is up to you to express, according to your perception of the novel, which voices are present, and which are most prevalent.

If, however, the entire novel’s heteroglossia seems too vast to tackle in this fashion (surely, it does have to be simplified, to say the least), you may, as an alternative, pick one chapter or section’s heteroglossia to map out.

Include, also, 100-150 words of commentary explaining your method and intentions.

View a sample response.