The Enemy- Main Characters of the Story

By | July 15, 2023
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The Enemy

                                                 By- Pearl S. Buck

Main Characters of the Story


Dr Sadao: Dr Sadao is a Japanese surgeon and Scientist. He was brought up by his father who was a staunch Japanese, devoted to his culture. Dr Sadao became a skilful doctor and scientist to fulfil his father’s wishes. His father sent him to America to study medicine. He wanted him to study for the benefit of his country. Dr Sadao didn’t even marry Hana without his father’s approval. He was so skilled that the General was totally dependent on him. The General has blind faith in him which exemplifies him as a skilful and expert surgeon.

Dr Sadao was a loving husband and a good father. He consults and respects his wife. He is worried ant the future of his kids in case he is arrested. He is meticulous and finally finds out a middle path. He feels happy to save the life of an American and to secure his and his family’s future too.

Hana: Hana is an ideal wife, mother and a true Japanese, She is patriotic and humanitarian with a compassionate heart. She supports her husband in his each and every decision. Though she does not like the idea of saving the enemy, i.e. the American prisoner of war, she cannot neglect that before being an enemy, he was a human being first. She is a dignified lady who carries herself in a very controlled way without sacrificing her dignity when the servants refused to continue their services and defy her orders. Like any caring mother, she is worried about the future of her children in case Dr Sadao is arrested for keeping the American in his house. Despite being worried, tensed and scared, she never loses her cool amid critical situations.

Tom—The American POW: Tom was the American prisoner of war, who was shot and had escaped. Dr Sadao found him on the shore outside his house in a wretched condition. He had bled a lot and had a deep wound. He might have to face tortures and pain and suffering. Dr Sadao saved his life by operating upon him and taking out the bullet. Tom displayed a fighting spirit which was evident from his speedy recovery. He is surprised and overwhelmed by the generosity of Dr Sadao and Hana. He didn’t want to leave their house as he felt secure there. Finally, with the help of Dr Sadao, he is able to escape.

The General: The General is Japan’s Army General. He is Dr Sadao’s patient. He was old and ailing and had faith only in Dr Sadao for treatment. That is one of the reasons that Dr Sadao was not sent abroad with the Japanese army. The General himself was educated at Princeton and had more faith in the doctor trained in America than in Germany as according to him Americans had sentiments but Germans were cruel. He assured Dr Sadao of help in getting rid of the American soldier but due to his self-absorption in his ailment, he forgot. When Dr Sadao told him about the escape of the white man, he took the blame on himself and saved Dr Sadao. The General knew the worth of Dr Sadao as a surgeon and as a scientist didn’t want to lose him so protected him till the end.

Dream of Sadao’s Father

 Took him to the islands and said they were ‘stepping stones’ to the future of Japan. Sadao realized education is important. At 22 went to America to study surgery and medicine. Returned at 30, as a famous surgeon and scientist.

Trusted by general-so not sent with troops.

 Meeting between Hana and Sadao

By chance. At professorHarley’s house in America. Professor and wife kind helped foreign students. Sadao met Hana there. Married after completion of studies. Marriage finalised in the traditional way after his father had seen her. Happy together.

The appearance of the American Soldier

Hana and Sadao leaning on the railing, one foggy evening, saw a man crawling on hands and knees. Fell on the face. Rushed thinking — fisherman. Saw a white man with the reopenedgunshot wound, badly hurt. US Navy insignia on the tattered uniform- realised he was a prisoner of war.

Dilemma of Sadao

As a doctor, he should attend to a dying man and stop the bleeding.

As a patriotic person, he should put him back in the sea or hand him over to the authorities.

Decided not to be callous and took him in.


Would be arrested for sheltering an enemy- a white man, would endanger the lives of their children.

Reaction of Servants

Frightened. Felt they should not heal him — gardener felt he should die or he’d take revenge. Cook felt pride in his skill made him save the American soldier. Felt their years in America had made forget to think of their country first. Left on the seventh day.

Hana’s Role

Washed him. Helped Sadao operate. Gave anaesthesia. Felt nauseated but continued.

General Takima-Cruel Man

Known to beat his wife mercilessly. Hana feared how he would deal with an enemy. Retained Sadao in Japan as he could need an operation.

Reaction to Information about the Fugitive

Felt reassured Sadao had the capability to save. Wanted to save doctor as he would need his services. Suggested he would send two private assassins at night-capable men, familiar with the trick of inward bleeding, would take the soldier’s body away too. Sadao waited three nights, realised General had forgotten.

General party to guilt

Sadao gets to hold on him. Convinces Sadao- not lack of patriotism or dereliction of duty —was self-absorbed as he was suffering. Promised to reward Sadao.

Sadao helps American Escape

Put his boat on the shore at night, with food, bottled water, extra quilts and extra clothing. Told him to row to an island near the coast. He instructed him to stay there till a Korean fishing boat was seen passing by. Gave him a flashlight- Instructed him to signal with two flashes before sunset, if he ran out of food. Warned him to eat fish raw, as cooking over the fire would be noticed. Wrapped a black cloth about his blond head and dressed him in Japanese clothes.

 Sadao’s Recollection of Americans

 Recalled other white faces:

(i)professor at whose house he met Hana.

 (ii) his teacher of anatomy.

(iii) his fat landlady. Recalled how difficult it was to find a place to live in as Americans were prejudiced-had been difficult to live amidst such feelings. As a Japanese, he felt he was superior. Hated the ignorant, dirty woman who rented him a room and looked after him when he was sick. He despised her and could not feel grateful to her. He felt he found all white faces, disgusting and wondered why he could not kill the prisoner.

 Humanitarian considerations override man-made barriers of culture and nationality.

The difference in the reaction of Sadao, Hana and the Servants

Servants — simple, superstitious, patriotic-consider harbouring an enemy to be a crime. Fear for lives, insular. Do not understand the higher level of reasoning, humanitarian considerations.

 Sadao and Hana- Had been exposed to other nationalities, more tolerant. Feel it is unethical for a doctor to let a person die if he can be saved. Even an enemy is a human being first.

Want to Read More Check Below:-

The Enemy- About the Author

The Enemy- Theme & Title

The Enemy- Moral/ Message of the lesson

The Enemy- Short & Detailed Summary

The Enemy- Multiple Choice Questions in Quiz

The Enemy- Important Extra Questions Short Answer Type

The Enemy- Important Extra Questions Long Answer Type

The Enemy- Important Extra Questions Value-Based Answer Type