The Enemy Summary
-Pearl S. Buck
This is a tale of triumphant humanity that rises above petty differences, obscure biases and incurable hate.
The story revolves around one Dr Sadao Hoki, who is a Japanese surgeon. Born in Japan, Sadao was inspired by his father who was a man devoted to his son, his education and his bright future. At the age of 22, Sadao is sent to America to study surgery. He is excited and proud to be given this opportunity and wants to repay his father’s trust by contributing to his nation’s medical needs and
An expert in surgery and a scientist of medicine he honed his craft in America. The mad of opportunity also gave him his Japanese wife, Hana who meets in America and ends up marrying. His father approves of his son’s choice and Hana proves to be the cornerstone of Sadao’s life. She is devoted and compassionate and takes wonderful are of her husband and their family.
The two return to their home in Japan in the midst of the World War II. They are blessed with two kids and live a quiet life near the sea exactly where Dr, Sadao grew up.
Most of the doctors are conscripted to the army but Dr. Sadao is exempted on the General special requirement and also because he is involved in a special project of war injury and damage.
Dr. Sadao and Hana’s life changes completely one fateful evening. Enjoying some intimate moments near the sea, their attention is diverted by a stumbling man who comes out of the belly of the sea. However, before anybody can react he falls into a heap. On further examination, Dr. Sadao learns that he is severely injured by a bullet shot. Much to their horror he happens to be American and an escaped prisoner of war. They are lost for words as their help can be termed as high treason and an action against national security and interest. However, they were compelled by compassion and humanitarian instinct and decide to help a fellow nearing a painful death.
They drag his body home. They inform their servants about the white American and their plan to nurse him to health. The servants are shocked and unsure over their masters’ decision. However, they agree to remain silent in the issue. They refuse to help the wounded soldier and Yumi, the nanny, objects to cleaning his clothes. Hana, the dutiful wife had to the chore.
Dr. Sadao successfully operated on the American and takes out the bullet from his body. He is duly assisted by Hana. She also treats and nurses him back to health. Her nurture and Dr. Sadao’s medicinal expertise helps the American recover even though he remains under a cloud of uncertain and insecure future.
Finally, the patience of the servants gives way and they decide to squeal about the Ameriacan’s presence. Their pressure is not enough for the couple to give the survivor to the police so they collectively quit their job/
Sadao and Hana always thought of informing the police once the soldier regained enough strength but they could never bring themselves to the point of admission.
Finally, Sadao writes a letter to the Chief of Police and hides it in his drawer.
One day Dr. Sadao is asked to visit the General who was in terrible pain. Looking at his wife’s anxiety, he decides to take this opportunity to disclose their secret to the General.
Ever the opportunist, the General realizes his need for Sadao’s medical services and his dire health. So to keep Sadao out of harm’s way he agrees to send his personal killers and assassins to finish off the American soldier and dispose of his body.
Dr Sadao is helpless and succumbs to the sinister plan even though he doesn’t tell any of it to Hana. After a couple of sleepless nights, his worry grew exponentially as no assassin came and the American grew stronger and healthier.
Dr Sadao then decided to come to the American’s rescue and planned his safe escape from the Japanese shores. He arranges a boat for him and fixes with all his requirements and supplies like drinking water, blankets, food etc. The boat would help him reach a deserted island where he could find a Korean ship to take him into international waters and out of hostile territory. Thus, the soldier was able to escape without any problems.
Now, Sadao focused on the General and his operation. After he recuperated, Sadao concocted a story how the soldier escaped without any trace,
The General also acknowledge that his forgot about the soldier and did not ever send his assassins to murder him.
The couple gazed at the island one day and saw no light coming from it. They realized that the American must have found his ship and his way back home.
The story and humanity of Dr, Sadao and Hana posits a lot of pertinent questions about war, love, peace, suffering, loss and humanity. It also redefines the true enemy and how love always conquers hate, parochial prejudices, violence and war.