The Enemy – Important Questions

The Enemy by Pearl S. Buck deals with a situation in which human considerations overpower narrow considerations of national security. It tells about how people can help enemies on human grounds. This story depicts how a human being rises over his prejudices to help a wounded enemy.

Important Question and Answers

Q. What forced Dr. Sadao to be impatient and irritable with his patient? OR What made a cool surgeon like Sadao speak sharply to his wife and what was her reaction?

Ans. When Dr. Sadao started operating on the wounded American soldier, Hana had to be there to assist him. As someone who had never witnessed surgery before, the sight of blood disgusted Hana and she choked. In a sharp tone, Dr. Sadao told his wife to be strong and not faint. However, Hana ran outside and vomited. Sadao wanted to comfort his wife but at the same time, could not leave the American soldier unattended. This helplessness forced an otherwise calm and composed Dr. Sadao to be impatient and irritable with his patient.

Q. Did Hana think the Japanese tortured their prisoners of war? Why?

Ans. Yes, Hana thought the Japanese tortured their prisoners of war. She thought so because she had heard about stories of suffering of prisoners of war. When she saw the tortured body of the American soldier, it confirmed her fears. She remembered General Takima beat his wife cruelly at home and wondered, if he could be so cruel to his wife, he would surely be more cruel to an enemy soldier.

Q. What help did Dr. Sadao seek from Hana while operating on the wounded white man?

Ans. First, Dr. Sadao asked Hana to fetch towels. Then he told her that she would have to give the anaesthesia to the wounded soldier. Hana had never done this before. So, Dr. Sadao explained that it was easy. All she had to do was soak the cotton with anaesthesia and hold it near the patient’s nostrils. Since Yumi and the other servants had refused to help, Dr. Sadao tend to the American P.O.W, it was Hana who had to wash his wounds.

Q. How did Dr. Sadao ensure that the American sailor left his house but he himself remained safe and secure?

Ans. Dr. Sadao offered his personal boat with food and extra clothing and advised the American soldier to go to a nearby island and escape from there by boarding a Korean fishing boat. One week later, he informed the General about the American soldier’s escape, thus, saving the American and remaining safe and secure himself.

Q. Why did Hana wash the wounded soldier herself? OR Why did Dr. Sadao seek Hana’s help to treat the U.S. soldier?

Ans. Hana had to wash the wounded soldier herself because Yumi, the nanny, refused to wash the American soldier. She and the other servants were frightened when they learned about the enemy being in the house. They did not want to get into trouble of any kind. This is why they refused to help their master and mistress.

Q. How does the writer indicate that Dr. Sadao’s father was a very traditional and conventional man?

Ans. Dr. Sadao’s father wanted his son to marry a girl who had been pure in her race. Dr. Sadao and Hana had fallen in love in America but their marriage was arranged by Dr. Sadao’s father in the traditional Japanese way only after he had approved of Hana.

Q. Why did the messenger come to Dr. Sadao? What did Hana think about it?

Ans. The messenger came to Dr. Sadao to inform him that the old General was in pain again and needed his care. Hana had thought that the servants had betrayed them and the messenger had come to arrest Dr. Sadao for sheltering the American, an enemy soldier.

Q. What was his father’s chief concern about Dr. Sadao?

Ans. Dr. Sadao’s father’s chief concern was his education. He wanted Dr. Sadao to go abroad for higher studies and to see him as the best surgeon in the world.

Q. Why was Dr. Sadao not sent abroad along with the troops?

Ans. Dr. Sadao was an eminent surgeon and a scientist. He was perfecting a discovery, which would render wounds entirely clean. Moreover, the old General was being treated medically for a condition for which he might need an operation. This is why Dr. Sadao was not sent abroad with the troops.

Q. Where, when and how did Dr. Sadao meet Hana? OR What role did the American professor play in bringing Hana and Sadao together?

Ans. Dr. Sadao met Hana during his stay in America where he was studying medicine. It was at Professor Harley’s house that Dr. Sadao met Hana for the first time. The professor and his wife organised a party for their foreign students. Dr. Sadao was reluctant to go. Nevertheless he went there, literally by chance and he met Hana, who was a new student.

Q. What conflict in his mind troubled Dr. Sadao when he came to know that the wounded man was an American POW?

Ans. When Dr. Sadao came to know that the wounded man was an American P.O.W., he was troubled by the conflict between patriotism and professional ethics. Dr. Sadao was caught in the dilemma of handing over the wounded soldier to the Japanese authority who would surely end his life and his humanitarian instincts.

Q. How did the General plan to get rid of the American POW?

Ans. In order to get rid of the American P.O.W the General planned to send private assassins to quietly kill the prisoner in his sleep and then dispose off his body without trace.

Q. How did the servants react when they realised that Dr. Sadao was going to save the life of an enemy?

Ans. When the servants realised that Dr. Sadao was going to save the life of an enemy, the servants were not happy. In fact, they disapproved their master saving the wounded American soldier’s life. They refused to serve the patient and quit their job. They were worried for their lives and their master’s and mistress’ too.

Q. What was Sadao’s father’s dream for him? How did Sadao realise it?

Ans. Dr. Sadao’s father wanted him to go abroad for higher studies and become the world’s best surgeon. Dr. Sadao worked hard and became an eminent surgeon and scientist. He was perfecting a discovery, which would render wounds entirely clean.

Q. Who did Dr. Sadao think the survivor from the sea was when he first saw him?

Ans. When the survivor from the sea first came into Dr. Sadao’s view, the doctor thought that he was a fisherman from nearby village who had been badly wounded.

Q. On the seventh day after the American soldier was found by Dr. Sadao two things happened. Why did Hana feel scared of the second?

Ans. On the seventh day, after the American Soldier was found by Dr. Sadao, two things happened. First, all the household servants quit their job and second, General’s messenger in official uniform came to meet Sadao. Hana felt scared of the uniformed messenger because she thought he had come to arrest Dr. Sadao.

Q. What was the General’s plan to get rid of the American prisoner? Was it executed? What traits of the General’s character are highlighted in the lesson ‘The Enemy’?

Ans. The General planned to get rid of the American prisoner by sending his private assassins to kill him and then remove his body from Sadao’s house. The plan was not executed since the General forgot his promise to send the assassins because of his own pain. The old General seemed to be a cold, calculated ruthless man. He had an unusual sense of humour and seemed to generate fear in others’ hearts quite effortlessly. In his interaction with Dr. Sadao, he comes across as a man who puts his self-interest above everything else. The only reason he did not get Dr. Sadao arrested for treason was because he feared that no other surgeon would be as good as Dr. Sadao if ever the General is fatally wounded again. To save Dr. Sadao from his unusual predicament, the General suggested getting the American soldier killed by his private assassins and getting rid of his body off at the same time. When he admitted to have forgotten to send the assassins, the General asked Sadao not to speak about this carelessness. Nevertheless, the General is not completely devoid of human considerations. He understood that from a surgeon’s point of view, Dr. Sadao did the right thing by saving the wounded soldier’s life, later he even promises reward to Dr. Sadao for proving his loyalty and patriotism.

Q. Explain the reactions of the servants in Dr. Sadao’s house when he decided to give shelter to an enemy in the house.

Ans. When Dr. Sadao decided to give shelter to the enemy, the servants in Dr. Sadao’s house openly expressed their disapproval. The old gardener expressed his concern saying the bullet and the sea wanted the enemy dead. They might take revenge on their master for healing the white man. Although they remained skeptical of their master’s loyalty, they did not disclose the secret to the world. For them, the white man was an enemy who did not deserve their help. Yumi, the nanny of the children, refused to wash the American POW. The wounds took time to heal; Dr. Sadao and Hana took great care of the American soldier. However, None of the servants tried to hide their displeasure and they voiced their opinion loudly for Sadao and Hana to hear. They felt that since both Hana and Dr. Sadao had lived in America for a while, they favoured the American P.O.W. over their own countrymen. The servants constantly pressurised the Hoki family to disclose the secret and get the American caught by the police. Finally, their displeasure at their master’s decision made them leave his household.

Q. ‘The Enemy’ portrays the victory of humanity in a moment of crisis. Illustrate this fact through the actions taken by Dr. Sadao for the enemy soldier. OR Good human values are far above any other value system. How did Dr. Sadao succeed as a doctor as well as a patriot? OR Dr. Sadao was a patriotic Japanese as well as a dedicated surgeon. How could he honour both the values? OR Dr. Sadao faced a dilemma. Should he use his surgical skills to save the life of a wounded person or hand an escaped American P.O.W. over to the Japanese police? How did he resolve this clash of values?

Ans. Dr. Sadao Hoki was not only a trained surgeon but also a fervent patriot who dedicated himself to the cause of serving his country in the wartime through scientific research. However, the dilemma that Dr. Sadao faced on the arrival of the wounded American soldier at his doorstep was a clash between his duties as a doctor and that of a patriotic citizen. Since Dr. Sadao was under the Hippocratic oath to serve the mankind as a whole and put his professional duties first, he decided to save the enemy at any cost. For this he faced difficulties at his home from his wife and servants. He even endangered his own life and that of his family. However, he was able to show his patriotism by informing the General about the wounded American soldier and how he saved him. He requested the General to do whatever was necessary in the matter and even agreed to the arrangement of getting the enemy soldier killed by professional assassins sent by the General. The fact that he informed the General about the American’s escape, even though it was he who helped the soldier, is also a proof that Dr. Sadao was a dedicated surgeon as well as a patriotic Japanese.

Q. How did Dr. Sadao help the American POW to escape? What humanitarian values do you find in his act?

Ans. After waiting for several days for the General’s private assassins to come and kill the American P.O.W., Dr. Sadao decided to help the latter escape. Dr. Sadao arranged for a boat, provided fresh water, food, quilts, flashlight, etc. and instructed him to go to the nearest deserted island. Dr. Sadao asked the soldier to wait there for a Korean fishing boat. He also told him to flash the torch light twice as signal in case he ran out of food. Dr. Sadao also provided the American soldier with Japanese attire and covered his blond hair with a black cloth as a part of his disguise. The young soldier shook Dr. Sadao’s hand and left without a word. One can find universal value of sympathy, humanitarian consideration, love for fellow human beings and compassion in Dr. Sadao’s actions.

Q. How did the arrival of the prisoner destroy the peace of Sadao’s home?

Ans. The arrival of the prisoner of war completely destroyed the peace of Sadao household. The servants in Dr. Sadao’s house were against his action of harbouring an American. Yumi refused to wash the wounded soldier. There was a fierce look of resistance on her face. The cook and the gardener criticised Sadao, saying that sea and the gun wanted the white man dead so, why was Sadao trying to save the enemy. They even threatened to leave the house. As the stay prolonged, all the servants quit their jobs and left, it was only Hana, Dr. Sadao’s wife, who stood by him. However, she too lived in constant fear. When the General’s uniformed messenger came for Dr. Sadao Hana thought that he had come to arrest her husband. Hana feared that Dr. Sadao would be condemned as a traitor. Sadao himself was in a dilemma. Being a patriotic Japanese, he doubted whether his action was right since his professional ethics told him to save the wounded American P.O.W. Later, Dr. Sadao had many sleepless nights when the professional assassins did not come to get rid of the American as promised by the General. Only after the American soldier left, things became normal in Sadao household.

Q. Do you think Dr. Sadao’s final decision was the best possible one in the circumstances? Why/ Why not? Explain with reference to the story, ‘The Enemy’.

Ans. In the given circumstances, Dr. Sadao’s final decision to help the American soldier escape was the best possible decision, because Dr. Sadao was a humanitarian. When Dr. Sadao saw the American soldier washed ashore near his house, badly wounded, the doctor could have refused to treat him and handed him over to the authorities instantly. He did not do so because he was duty bound as a doctor to save the American soldier first, even prior to his motherland. Once the soldier recuperated, Dr. Sadao did what he thought was best for his country. He told the General about the American soldier, after all, he had saved an enemy. Dr. Sadao let the General decide the soldier’s fate and agreed with his decision to get him murdered by assassins. However, compassion is a natural instinct in humanitarians. Therefore, after waiting anxiously for the General’s private assassins for three consecutive nights, Dr. Sadao helped the American soldier escape. To have him stay any longer with them was becoming a matter of concern for Dr. Sadao. It could get him imprisoned for treason and jeopardise his family. Besides, Dr. Sadao had already risen above the narrow prejudices of race, hatred and war by saving the American soldier’s life. By letting him escape, the doctor could assuage his conscience; had the General’s plan of the American’s assassination been carried out, it would have bothered Dr. Sadao gravely.

Q. Why did Sadao help the American soldier to escape? How did he do it?

Ans. First, Dr. Sadao was tired of worrying about the General’s private assassins to murder the American. He had already spent three consecutive sleepless nights waiting for them to show up. It was becoming too much for him to bear. Secondly, perhaps Dr. Sadao was feeling sad and sorry for putting the same man’s life in jeopardy whom he had saved. Lastly, Dr. Sadao was a humanitarian by nature. Life was more important to him than war. These are few of the possible reasons why Dr. Sadao decided to help the American soldier escape. To help the P.O.W. escape, Dr. Sadao loaded his boat with food and bottled water, clothing, food, quilts etc. and asked him to row the boat to the island not far from the coast. He also gave the American a flashlight to be used for signalling. Dr. Sadao told him not to light fire and wait only for a Korean boat. Then, Dr. Sadao gave the American soldier Japanese clothes to wear and covered his blonde hair with a black cloth. At last, both men bid each other adieu.

Q. Dr. Sadao was compelled by his duty as a doctor to help the enemy soldier. What made Hana, his wife, sympathise with him in the face of open defiance from the domestic staff?

Ans. While on one hand, her husband was compelled by his duty as a doctor to help the enemy soldier, on the other hand, Hana had to face open defiance from the domestic staff. Amidst the chaos, Hana understood Dr. Sadao’s dilemma is between patriotism and his professional ethics. This made her sympathise with her husband. Hana was a humane and kind person with a tender heart just like Dr. Sadao. She loved and respected her husband and his decisions. She felt that it would be cruel to leave the wounded American soldier to die. This is why she did not give in to the servants’ defiance. She maintained her dignity and selfrespect in front of them. Hana, was proud of her husband and had faith in his expertise, hence she supported Dr. Sadao.

Q. What explains the attitude of the General in the matter of the enemy soldier? Was it human consideration, lack of national loyalty, dereliction of duty or simply selfabsorption?

Ans. The attitude of the General in the matter of the enemy soldier was strange and unusual. He always portrayed himself as the most patriotic and dutiful General there could ever be. However, when Dr. Sadao told him about treating the American soldier the General did not get Dr. Sadao arrested for treason. He needed the highly skilled surgeon for his own survival. This makes it evident that the General was a self absorbed man, who was concerned only about himself. The fact that he offered to get the American soldier killed by his private assassins, that too as secretly as possible, shows the inhuman side of the General. Dr. Sadao waited for three consecutive nights for the assassins to show up at his house and do their job, but they did not come. Later, the General admitted to have forgotten all about the enemy soldier and the assassins whom he was supposed to send to get rid of the American, because be was distressed by his own pain. Once again, it proves the self-absorbed nature of the General. It is also dereliction of duty to quite an extent on the General’s part because he put himself above his country’s safety.


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