The Enemy is another wonderful story for class 12 Core English Syllabus. This is the story of Dr. Sadao Hoki who runs through a dilemma followed by the arrival of an American soldier whom he tends against the wish of his servants.
- Dr. Sadao Hoki – A Japanese doctor. He studied medicine in America and later returned to Japan.
- Hana – His wife, Japanese. The two met in America, became friends and married there legally. It is unlikely that Hana was a medical student.
- Sadao’s father – A true, die-hard Japanese, blindly patriotic. He did not allow any foreign articles at home.
- The old General – Japan’s army General; Sadao’s patient. He was a cruel man in his prime years.
- Tom – An American soldier who got ashore near Sadao’s house following a serious injury. Tom was treated by Sadao.
- Yumi – Sadao’s maid, in charge of the babies. She was attached to the babies.
- Gardener – Sadao’s gardener, an old man, in service since Sadao’s father’s time.
- The cook – Sadao’s cook, an old man, in service since Sadao’s father’s time.
- An officer – A messenger of the General.
Settings & Background
- The story happens on a coastal town of Japan.
- Most probably in the year 1941 following Japan attacking Pearl Harbor where US army was camping and controlling.
- Japanese were hostile to the Americans. Any Japanese was ready to kill any American found in their soil.
Opening – Dr. Sadao – a happy husband, father and doctor
- Sadao was a Japanese surgeon. He studied in America and returned to Japan with Hana, a Japanese girl whom he met there, and married her in Japan and settled down comfortably.
- While most of the doctors were sent to serve the Japanese army in the World War II, Sadao was allowed to stay home because he was wanted by the old General who was dying.
- But one night, an American soldier got ashore near Sadao’s house. The couple saw that it was an American Navy man and that he was shot, wounded and was dying.
- Though unwilling to help his enemy, Sadao took the young soldier into his house and provided him with medical aid. He was in danger from that moment.
- His servants advised Sadao to let the American die but Sadao could not. He told them that he would turn the American to the police but the servants didn’t believe Sadao.
- They suspected Sadao’s honesty to Japan. They thought that because Sadao was in America for a while he had developed love for America.
- Then one day the servants left him. Thereafter Hana had a very hard time coping with a hill of work that she had not done in life. Hana didn’t complain.
- The American’s name was Tom. He was very young. Tom recovered from the wounds and regained health.
Questions & Answers
- Why did Sadao wait to fall in love with Hana?
Both Sadao and his wife Hana were Japanese. Sadao met Hana in America where both were students. Though he was impressed by her, Sadao hesitated to propose to her until he was sure that Hana was pure in her race because he knew that his father wouldn’t love to have her as his son’s wife if she were not pure Japanese.
- Why was Sadao not sent with Japanese troops that were in war with America?
Sadao was not sent with the Japanese troops even when the country was in war. Being a renowned surgeon, he was highly required by the old general who was under treatment. Also, Sadao was inventing a new medicine that was supposed to clean wounds entirely.
- How patriotic was Sadao’s father?
Sadao’s father lived a perfect Japanese life. He was blind about his country and loved it throughout his life. He never used anything made in a foreign country. He could not think of a foreign daughter in law. He wanted his son study abroad so that he could serve Japan for its growth.
- What were the servants’ superstitions against keeping the American soldier at Sadao’s home?
The servants didn’t like the American soldier being helped by Sadao and Hana because they were superstitious. According to them, first the bullet, then the sea and finally the sharp rocks in the sea tried to kill the soldier but he escaped from all of them. Now, if Sadao helped the man then the bullet, the sea and the rocks would turn against him and ruin him and his family.
- What was Yumi’s excuse for not washing the young American?
Yumi was Sadao’s maid servant, especially in charge of the children. She, like the other servants, had greatly disliked Sadao’s decision to take care of the American soldier. She equally disliked washing the man because he was her enemy and she didn’t want to take risk by helping Sadao and Hana, who she believed, would be arrested by the police.
- What were Sadao’s strange habits while performing surgery?
Sadao used to talk to the patients while operating them. When the patient cried or groaned during the operation, he used talk to him, calling him his friend.
- What was the most remarkable instruction of his American professor Sadao had taken into his heart?
Sadao’s anatomy professor used to remind his students that the biggest crime of a surgeon is his poor knowledge in human anatomy. If a surgeon operates a patient without perfect knowledge of the human body, he would be killing the patient.
- How did the servants react to Sadao’s act of taking the American soldier into the house?
The servants were from the beginning against Sadao’s idea of taking the American soldier in for whatever reason, to kill or to treat. They openly expressed their dissatisfaction and made clear that Sadao should not treat the American because Americans are Japan’s enemies. When they found that Sadao was not yielding to their wishes, the servants quitted their service at Sadao’s house amidst great pain of separation.
Next – Dr. Sadao, the Patriot
- When Sadao saw that Tom was alright, he starts thinking of getting him killed.
- At this point, Sadao decided to disclose the secret to the old General whom he treated. The General appreciated Sadao’s kindness towards the enemy but advised him to get the American killed.
- The General offered to help Sadao. He asked Sadao to leave the American’s room open so that his trained assassins (killers) could enter, kill and remove his dead body.
- Since that day, Sadao waited for the General’s trained assassins at night. He could not sleep.
- You can imagine how a doctor feels when his patient, whom he brought back from death, was going to be killed near his room.
- What happened was disappointing. Each morning Sadao woke up with a hope to see the American ‘gone’ but he found that the General had forgotten his promise.
- Tom was healthier and livelier.
Questions & Answers
- Why did Sadao plot plans to kill the American?
Sadao was a kind-hearted doctor who valued life and considered saving any life to be his prime concern. Though for this reason he admitted the American in his home and provided him with all medical support, Sadao turned out to be plotting plans to kill him because the American was perfectly cured and therefore the doctor-patient relation was snapped and he was the American’s enemy.
- Did Sadao show the equal degree of honesty in rescuing the American at the end of the story as in operating him? Give instances.
Sadao was very honest towards rescuing the American soldier. It was not for the sheer pleasure of showing his surgical skills to a small audience of his wife and servants that Sadao did it. Keeping all his fears and anxieties, he cured the American for humanitarian reasons. The same degree of honesty was shown when he rescued him, too. Sadao was not getting rid of a menace. He made sure that the man really escaped. By providing him with a boat, clothes and food, his favorite torch light and further instructions in case the food was over, Sadao sent the man into the sea. He was restless for days concerning the safety of the man wandering in the dark sea and got his peace of mind only after getting an assurance that the man was really safe.
- What does the old general mean by the American sentimentality and the German brutality? What did he expect from combining both?
The General believed that the Americans were highly emotional and the Germans very brutal. According to him, a perfect doctor should have both these qualities. The doctor should love the patient on one side and be brutal towards his physical pains. By combining both these qualities, the General expected to make a perfect doctor out of a man.
- Sadao was a perfect doctor, a pure patriot and clearheaded human being. Explain.
Sadao’s life was a happy one. He was one of the happiest men in Japan during the war. While most of the doctors were on board with the troops, Sadao was allowed to remain home with his family. He was rich and enjoyed more liberty and privilege because he was the old General’s personal surgeon. The entry of the American soldier was going to strip all this happiness off him. Sadao could easily have ignored the American or handed him over to the police or thrown him back to the sea. The dedicated doctor in him behaved like a savior for the dying man. In spite of the servants’ protest, he took the man in his house and gave him all the medical aid. He continuously attended to the man and made sure he was getting better. Once the American was perfectly out of danger, the doctor in Sadao died and a perfect, patriotic Japanese took birth. Suddenly he became the enemy and began to plot plans to kill American enemy. He awaited the private killers of the General every night and grew disappointed in the morning to see that the American was still alive. His nights became sleepless. Having passed through this disappointing time, Sadao finally shifted to the next and last of his person; he once again wanted to rescue the American. This time it was not for the fun of exhibiting his surgical skills, nor to get rid of his enemy. This time he did so because he realized that the concept of ENEMY was abstract. He broke the barriers of narrow mindedness and became a universal brother. Thus, Sadao was a perfect doctor, a perfect enemy and a perfect human being.
Finally – Dr. Sadao, the Human Being
- At this point Sadao becomes the real man in him: a true human being who realizes the essential worth of human life and universal brotherhood.
- He thinks beyond countries and continents and races and wars. He finds no reason to believe that the American is his enemy. Sadao informs Tom that he was in danger. He arranged for his journey.
- Sadao gave him his boat, Japanese clothes, his pen-torch and food.
- He asked Tom to row the boat to the island at a distance from his home and wait for Americans or Korean fishermen who would help him.
- He was really concerned. Sadao instructed Tom to flash the pen-torch if he needed help or food.
- When Tom was gone, Sadao felt relieved. The next day he went to the General and said that the American was gone.
- The General confessed his not sending his assassins to kill the American. He said that everything went well with Sadao.
- He even said that Sadao was a great man. He promised him a reward for his goodness. He also told Sadao that he trusted only him in the country.
- That night, waiting for the flash of the pen-torch, Sadao saw no flash from the distant island. Tom was really gone.
- Was he really rescued? Was he killed? We don’t know.
Questions & Answers
- Why did Sadao decide to let Tom go?
Sadao was at the verge of chaos when he decided to to let the American navy man Tom escape from Japan. He had already lost his peace of mind since the day Tom had been brought in to his happy family. He lost his servants – the cook, the gardener and the girl who took care of the babies – and that was more than he and Hana, his wife, could handle. In addition to this chain of inconvenience, Sadao was gripped with a fear of arrest. The most immediate reason for his letting Tom escape was the realization that Tom was not his enemy. Sadao rose above the walls of nationalism and patriotism and saw no reason to believe that Tom was his enemy.
- What was the old General’s reaction on learning that the American had escaped?
- What did Sadao see while he looked for signs from Tom? How did he feel?
- The Enemy presents the meaning and meaninglessness of War, enmity and Patriotism. How?