The story highlights how a Japanese doctor saves the life of an American prisoner of war and rises above narrow national prejudices. He risks his honour, career, position and life by sheltering a war prisoner of the enemy camp and saving his life. The author has beautifully portrayed the conflict in the doctor’s mind as a private individual and as a citizen with a sense of national loyalty.
The story takes place on a coastal town of Japan in the year 1941 when Japan attacked Pearl Harbor. A war going on between America and Japan. Japanese were hostile to the Americans and ready to kill any American found in their soil.
‘The Enemy’ gives the message that humanism transcends all man made prejudices and barriers. Dr. Sadao upholds the ethics of medical profession in treating an enemy. The story is a great lesson of peace, love, sympathy, fellow feeling and humanism.
- Dr. Sadao Hoki: A Japanese doctor trained by Americans.
- Sadao’s father: much concerned about his son’s education, a true patriot.
- Hana: Wife of Dr. Sadao, met in America, became friends and got married in Japan.
- Tom: An American prisoner of war, a soldier of U.S. Navy.
- The old General: a sick Japanese army General, needed an operation, trusted only Dr. Sadao.
- An officer: A messenger of the General.
- Gardener: an old gardener in the house of Dr. Sadao.
- Yimi: Hana’s maid servant.
- The cook: an old cook in the house of Dr. Sadao.
House of Dr. Sadao: a house built on a narrow beach near the sea.
Sadao was a Japanese surgeon. He studied in America and returned 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 into his uneventful life came an American Navy-man, shot, wounded and 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. Soon his servants left him. Dr. Sadao saw that the soldier was getting well and absolutely alright. Once his patient was no more in need of him, the doctor turned out to be his assassin, conspiring to kill him in his sleep. He informed the General of the American and the General promised, he would send his private men to kill the American. Sadao awaited the American’s death every morning but to his gloom the man was still alive, healthier and posing danger to him. 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 rescues the American. Thus Sadao rises above narrow prejudices and acts in a truly humanitarian way.
GIST OF THE LESSON:
- Sadao, a Japanese surgeon finds a wounded American soldier on the beach near his house.
- He is unable to throw him back though he was his enemy as he was a doctor and his first duty was to save a life.
- Hana, his wife, though initially reluctant because it was dangerous for all including the children to keep the enemy in the house, joins her husband in operating and nursing the enemy soldier back to health, even though the servants desert the house.
- Hana assists Dr. Sadao in operating the soldier in spite of her physical discomfort and hesitation.
- Though it was war time and all hands were needed at the front, the General did not send Sadao with the troops as he is an expert surgeon and the General needed him.
- Sadao tells him about the enemy soldier but he does not take any action as he is self-absorbed and forgets his promise that he would send his private assassins to kill the enemy and remove his body.
- Taking advantage of the general’s self-absorption Sadao decides to save the soldiers life. After the soldier is out of danger Dr. Sadao helps him to escape from his house to safety.