NCERT Solutions for Class 12 English Vistas Chapter 4 The Enemy

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The Enemy NCERT Solutions for Class 12 English Vistas Chapter 4

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Q1. Who was Dr Sadao? Where was his house?

Answer:Dr Sadao Hoki was an eminent Japanese surgeon and scientist. He had spent eight valuable years of his youth in America to learn all that could be learnt of surgery and medicine there. He was perfecting a discovery which would· render wounds entirely clean. Dr Sadao’s house was built on rocks well above a narrow beach that was outlined with bent pines. It was on a spot of the Japanese coast.

Q2. Will Dr Sadao be arrested on the charge of harbouring an enemy?

Answer:Dr Sadao knew that they would be arrested if they sheltered a white man in their house. The wounded man was a prisoner of war who had escaped with a bullet on his back. Since Japan was at war with America, harbouring an enemy meant being a traitor to Japan. Dr Sadao could be arrested if anyone complained against him and accused him of harbouring an enemy.

Q3. Will Hana help the wounded man and wash him herself?

Answer:The wounded American was in a very bad state and needed to be washed before being operated on. Hana did not want Dr Sadao to clean the dirty and unconscious prisoner, and so asked their servant, Yumi, to do so. However, Yumi defied her master’s order and opted out of it. As a result, Hana had no other option but to wash him herself. Although this act was impulsive and dipped in a sense of superiority over her servant, Yumi, she did it with sincerity.

Q4. What will Dr Sadao and his wife do with the man?

Answer:Dr Sadao and Hana found an unconscious wounded war prisoner who posed a huge threat to their own safety. However, Dr Sadao decided to go with his gut feeling and operate on him. He saved his life even though it was for the time being. Though half heartedly, both took good care of the patient’s health and other needs. Hana even washed and fed him with her own hands. Although they knew that they would have to hand him over to the army sooner or later, they did their best to help the injured man.

Q5. Will Dr Sadao be arrested on the charge of harbouring an enemy?

Answer:Dr Sadao, on humanitarian grounds as well as professional grounds, tended a wounded war prisoner which was officially a serious crime. However, he did not get punished for this offence as it was never revealed to anyone, except his wife, loyal but timid servants, and a General who was too self-obsessed with his own treatment that he would never let the doctor leave him.

Q6. What will Dr Sadao do to get rid of the man?

Answer:With the injured American’s health gradually improving, Dr Sadao and Hana were in a fix as to what should be done with him. Their loyal servants had left them and keeping him in their house could pose a threat to their lives. As Hana’s impatience and distress grew, Dr Sadao revealed the matter to the General who decided to send assassins to kill the young American in his sleep. Keen on getting rid of the escaped war prisoner, Dr Sadao agreed. However, the matter could not be resolved because the assassins never came.
Dr Sadao then planned another way to get rid of him which was overpowered with sympathy and a distant gratitude towards the people he had been linked to in America. He decided to save his patient one more time. He secretly sent him to an isolated island with food, bottled water, clothes, blanket and his own flashlight on a boat from where he boarded a Korean ship to freedom and safety.

The Enemy Reading with insight

Q1. There are moments in life when we have to make hard choices between our roles as private individuals and citizens with a sense of national loyalty. Discuss with reference to the story you have just read.

Answer: A conflict of interest arises in a situation when someone in a position of trust, such as a doctor, has competing interests. Such competing interests can make it difficult to fulfill his or her duties impartially. A conflict of interest can create a situation of conflict, like in the story when a white American soldier falls into the hands of a Japanese physician, in enemy territory during the Second World War. The Japanese physician, Sadao, disliked the whites and struggled with issues of loyalty, duty, and racism. As a Japanese national, it was his duty to hand over the escaped prisoner to the police, while as a doctor, it was his duty to save his life.

Sadao risked his safety and saved an enemy. He feared the consequences of harbouring an enemy. Subconsciously, he overcame his dislike for Americans and addressed the soldier as “my friend”. He, then, helped the soldier escape.

The character of Sadao can be aligned to that of a hero for his qualities of bravery, helpfulness, and professional competence. He, like a real hero, stood up for what he believed and cared less for repercussions. One definitely admires him for saving the soldier’s life like a true hero.

Q2. Dr Sadao was compelled by duty as a doctor to help the enemy soldier. What made Hana, his wife, sympathetic to him in the face of open defiance from the domestic staff?

Answer:Dr Sadao and Hana knew that their decision to save the enemy soldier would be questioned by everyone. However, they firmly followed their sense of duty. For Dr Sadao this sense of duty came from the profession he was in; but for Hana, the duty was purely humanitarian. From bearing the unrest in her domestic staff to being forced to do all the chores of house-hold herself, she does all with grace and dignity. Hana’s loving, considerate and sympathetic nature shines out. She washed and fed the soldier although it was not her job. Her care helped recuperate the soldier fast. It is also apparent from the story that she respected her husband, and as a sense of duty towards him, did the needful. This explains why she, even after feeling sick, comes back to the room and readily does whatever is told by her husband during the operation.

Q3.How would you explain the reluctance of the solider to leave the shelter of the doctor’s home even when he couldn’t stay there without risk to the doctor and to himself?

Answer:As the American, Tom, recovered from his wound, he was weak and trusted Sadao to save his life. Though Sadao does not gracefully accept the gratitude the wounded soldier offered him, he was attentive as a doctor and eager for his patient to recover. However, Sadao was also concerned for his safety, and asked Tom to leave at his earliest. Though Sadao was momentarily tempted by the General’s offer to arrange for the prisoner to be secretly assassinated, the doctor showed unrest and finally arranged for the prisoner to escape.

Tom understood that he posed a risk to the doctor’s family and his own self, but he was reluctant to leave. He felt safe at the doctor’s and admitted that he was the finest Japanese he came across. Fear of arrest and death led him to seek shelter with Sadao and his family. In this story, Tom bonds with the Japanese family as fellow humans, who have looked after him, and looked up to them as his saviour. The mutual hatred, that their respective country festered in them, fell away at the time of crisis.

Q4. 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 self absorption?

Answer:The General was totally governed by self absorption. He was a patient of Dr Sadao and did not trust anyone except him when it came to his health. He could not take the risk of living unprotected if the doctor was executed for treachery. He had personal assassins whom he promised to use for killing the injured soldier. But ironically, he ‘forgot’ his promise to help the doctor. Human consideration was not his cup of tea.

Q5.While hatred against the enemy race is justifiable, especially during wartime, what makes a human being rise above narrow prejudices?

Answer:Sadao had grown up believing that the Japanese were a superior race. He also disliked Americans as his own experience in America had not been pleasant. He had faced racial bias. He thought Americans were full of prejudice. Despite this, he couldn’t let the young American soldier bleed to death. While his logic and reasoning revolted against saving his ‘enemy’, his inherent humanity won over. Humanity and compassion often tide over hatred and prejudice.

Sadao was a fine example of how his patriotic and parochial attitude acted as a constant voice of conscience. He, however, was led by the superior feelings of compassion and humanity. As a doctor, he valued his promise to help any fellow human and he failed to compromise on his personal and professional ethics.

Q6. Do you think the doctor’s final solution to the problem was the best possible one in the circumstances?

Answer:The doctor tried his best to save the injured soldier as a part of his duty. But the ultimate question was what to do next. It cannot be said that he betrayed his country as he told the truth to the General. However when he noticed that the soldier was to be killed not for the benefit of the country but only to save the doctor’s life, he decided to help him flee. In such a situation, the doctor’s final solution to the problem was the best possible one.

Q7.Does the story remind you of “Birth” by A J Cronin that you read in the Snapshots last year? What are the similarities?

Answer:“The Enemy” is about an American-trained Japanese surgeon, working in Japan during Second World War, who saves an American POW first by operating on him and then by helping him escape. Sadao realized that the white man in the US navy uniform had a bullet wound. He was in a dilemma for a moment but the doctor in him took over and he treated the bullet wound and saved the soldier.

In “Birth”, A J Cronin deals with medical ethics through the protagonist, Andrew Manson. It brings out that medicine is not merely a business whose goal is to enrich its practitioners materially, the essence of being a doctor is the use of one’s senses, knowledge, and experience to reduce suffering and improve people’s lives. Manson overlooks the disappointment caused to him by his relationship, and seeks tremendous satisfaction in saving a mother and child.

Both the stories underline the medical ethics—a doctor’s responsibility to the patient is of the greatest importance. In light of this, both Sadao and Andrew are true to their profession and their duty as doctors.

Q8. Is there any film you have seen or novel you have read with a similar theme?

Answer:The story ‘The Enemy’ is built on the pillars of selflessness, sense of duty, kindness and generosity. There have been many films and novels based on this theme. One such example is the film ‘My Name is Khan’, where the protagonist, with a sense of duty and generosity, goes to the flooded Georgia to save the lives of his friends, Mama Jenny, Joel and other natives. He selflessly works to save the town without thinking twice about the possible dangers to his own life.

The Enemy Extra Questions and Answers

Q1.What were Dr Sadao Hoki’s memories about his house?

Answer:Dr Sadao Hoki had very pleasant memories about his house that was built on a spot in the Japanese coast. As a little boy he had often played on the beach. The low, square stone house was set upon rocks well above a narrow beach that was outlined with bent pines. As a boy Sadao had climbed the pines, supporting himself on his bare feet, as he had seen men do in the South Seas when they climbed for coconuts.

Q2.What was his father’s advice to Dr Sadao?

Answer:Dr Sadao Hoki’s father had taken him often to the islands of those seas, and told him that the islands were the stepping stones to the future for Japan. The future was limitless and it depended on what one made it.

Q3.Why had Dr Sadao not been sent abroad with the troops?

Answer:Sadao had become famous not only as a surgeon but as a scientist. He was kept back to tend to the old General, lest he needed an operation. Sadao was required to stay back in the capacity of a doctor.

Q4.Where had Dr Sadao first met his wife? What had been his initial reaction?

Answer:Dr Sadao had met Hana, presently his wife, in America, at an American professor’s house. They were invited by the couple as foreign students. Sadao had waited before falling in love, until he was sure she was Japanese. His father would never have received her unless she proved to be a Japanese, pure of race.

Q5.How did Dr Sadao discover the American soldier?

Answer:Standing on the porch of their house, Dr Sadao and his wife saw a man flung up, out of the ocean, by a breaker. He staggered a few steps, his body outlined against the mist. Sadao and Hana saw him on his hands and knees, crawling. Then they saw him fall on his face and lie there. It was only when they rushed to rescue him that they realized that he was an American.

Q6.What was Dr Sadao’s first reaction? What was the dilemma?

Answer:Dr Sadao and his wife, Hana, thought of putting the injured soldier back in the sea; they were scared of being marked as someone who was sheltering an enemy. But they also realized that if they turned him over as a prisoner, he would certainly die. They stared at the stranger with repulsion, but eventually decided to carry him into the house.

Q7.How was the servants’ reaction different from that of Sadao?

Answer:The two servants, employed by Sadao, were frightened. The old gardener, felt that his master should not shelter and treat a white man. Yumi also refused to wash a white man. The servants were defiant and made their displeasure evident. They even threatened to leave till their masters turned away the white man.

Q8.What was the American prisoner’s first reaction on regaining consciousness? How did Hana reassure him?

Answer:When the wounded soldier awoke, he was weak, and his blue eyes were terrified when he perceived where he was. Hana felt compelled to apologize. She begged him not to be afraid. She knelt and fed him gently with the porcelain spoon. He ate unwillingly.

Q9.Why had the messenger in official uniform come to Sadao’s place? What was their reaction?

Answer:The messenger had come to summon Dr Sadao as the old General was in pain. The Hokis were terrified as they wrongly guessed that they were being officially summoned for sheltering an American prisoner.

Q10.What was the General’s reaction to Sadao’s saving the enemy?

Answer:The General was happy, much to Sadao’s surprise, as the General felt that his success at saving the prisoner made him all the more indispensable to himself. He felt the doctor could save anyone as he was extremely skilled. The self-centred General felt safe and reassured in Dr Sadao’s care.

Q11.What was the General’s plan to do away with the soldier?

Answer:The General suggested that it would be best if he could be quietly killed, by someone who did not know him. For this, he planned to send his private assassins to the doctor’s house at night. He wanted the doctor to leave the outer partition of the white man’s room open, to provide an easy access to the soldier.

Q12.How did Sadao finally get rid of the prisoner?

Answer:Sadao put the prisoner on a boat with food and extra clothing. He advised the prisoner to row to a little island not far from the coast. Nobody lived on it. He advised the American to lie low till he saw a Korean fishing boat pass by. Tom followed his instructions and Sadao was glad to see that his prisoner was gone within a few days of helping him escape to the island.

The Enemy Long Answer Question

Q1.Dr Sadao was a dutiful son who had not disappointed his father. Justify.

Answer:When Sadao was a little boy, his father showed him the islands not far from the shore and told him that those islands were the “stepping-stones to the future of Japan”. Listening attentively to all that his father said, Sadao realized that his education was the most important thing in the world to his father. At twenty-two, he was sent to America to study surgery and medicine and he returned at thirty not only as a famous surgeon, but as an accomplished scientist. Since he was working on an important medical discovery, he was not sent abroad with the troops. The old General, too, trusted Sadao’s skill more than any other doctor. He had become a sought-after surgeon, thereby fulfilling his father’s wishes.

Q2.How did Sadao and Hana come across the American solider? How did they send him off?

Answer:The American soldier came into the lives of the Japanese couple quite suddenly, one day. Sadao and Hana saw from their house, overlooking the beach, a man crawling out of the ocean, on his hands and knees who fell on his face and lay there. They rushed out to help him thinking it was a fisherman. It was only on coming closer that they saw the man was badly hurt. He had a gunshot wound and his clothes were wet rags. They turned his head and saw he was a white man whose gunshot wound had reopened. Looking at the “US Navy” insignia on his tattered uniform, they realized that he was a prisoner of war.

The “enemy’s” exit from the couple’s lives was equally dramatic. After Sadao confided in the General about the American in his house, the General said that he would send his private assassins to his house to kill the white man. Though Sadao waited for three nights, the assassins did not turn up. Unable to live in such tension, Sadao suggested to the American that he would put him in a boat at night, with food and extra clothes in it, and Tom could row it to the little island not far from the coast. This plan was executed and it was the last that Sadao and his family saw of him.

Q3.Describe Sadao and Hana’s chance meeting which turned into a very fruitful relationship.

Answer:Sadao had met Hana by chance at the American professor’s house while both of them were students in America. Professor Harley and his wife had been kind people who wanted to do entertain their few foreign students. On one such occasion, Sadao had met Hana, a new student, there. They had not married, in haste, while in America. On the contrary, Sadao and Hana had waited for the completion of their studies and their love to mature. After finishing their studies, Sadao and Hana returned to Japan. After his father had seen her, and had realized that she too valued traditional Japanese values, the marriage was arranged in the old Japanese way, although Sadao and Hana had talked everything over before. They were perfectly happy and Sadao thought about how lucky he was that he had met her.

Q4.Why did the servants in Sadao’s family not approve of Sadao and Hana’s decisions?

Answer:When Sadao and Hana got the wounded American home, they were apprehensive about the reaction of the servants. They decided to explain to the servants that they would hand the man to the police as soon as he recovered. The two servants were frightened hearing about the wounded American soldier. They felt that Sadao ought not to treat the wounds of a white man. The old gardener felt that the white man ought to die.

If he was saved; he would take revenge on them. When the American needed to be washed, Hana called Yumi for help she refused to wash a white man and Hana had to do it herself. Sadao operated on the man and saved his life. But the servants disapproved of their actions. They felt that since Hana and Sadao had been in America for a long time, they had forgotten to think of their own country first. They felt that the soldier should have been left to die. On the seventh day after the wounded soldier’s arrival, the servants left.

Q5.Why did the servants leave? Were they justified? Give reasons.

Answer:The servants were frightened when they learnt about the white man’s presence in the house. They felt it was wrong for Sadao to heal the wounds of a white man. They could not understand when Sadao, who had been trained not to let a man die if he could help, agreed that Americans were their enemies, but treated him nevertheless. The old gardener felt that the white man ought to die. If he were saved; he would take revenge on them. Yumi refused to wash a white man. She was sad that Sadao and Hana did not think of their children who would suffer if their father was punished as a traitor. The cook said that it was Sadao’s pride in his skill that made him save the American soldier. As the days passed, the servants were as polite as ever, but their eyes were cold. But, on the seventh day, they left.

The servants were not justified because compassion and love are fundamental to all human beings. It was unethical to let a human die if he could be saved. The enemy should be first treated as a human. Man-made barriers like political enmity need not always translate into a personal one.


Servants’ actions can be justified because harbouring an enemy is an offence or a crime. Unfettered by education, they simply followed the dictates of their society and country. They also feared for their lives, and their instinct of self-preservation made them unwillingly abandon the household.

Q6.Do you think the General was a self-centred man? Justify your answer.

Answer:General was a self-centred man. In spite of a war, Sadao was kept in Japan to tend to the old General, lest he needed an operation. General Takima beat his wife cruelly but no one talked about that after he fought a victorious battle in Manchuria. Hana believed that if a man could be so cruel to a woman in his power, he would be worse to an enemy. When Sadao visited the General, he told him about the white man at his place. The General, instead of reacting furiously, felt reassured that Sadao could save anyone.

He wanted to save the . doctor more than ever as he might require his services. He suggested that he would send two of his private assassins to the doctor’s house at night. They would also take the soldier’s body away. However, no action was taken for three nights after that. On the fourth day, Sadao put Tom on a boat with provisions and told him to row to the island nearby. He later learnt that although the General had promised to send assassins, he had forgotten to send them in his anxiety about his own health.

Q7.Discuss Sadao’s feelings for the Americans.

Answer:The wounded soldier brought back memories of his time in America. Sadao recalled the other white men he had known in America. He thought of the professor at whose house he had met Hana. He remembered his old teacher of anatomy and his fat landlady. He recalled how difficult it had been to find a place to live in America because he was a Japanese. The Americans were full of prejudice. It had been tough to live with such antagonistic feelings. As a Japanese, he had believed that he was superior to Americans.

He had hated the ignorant and dirty old woman who had agreed to rent him a room in her miserable house. She had taken care of him when he was sick. He had tried to be grateful to her but it proved difficult for him. He thought she was disgusting, even though she was kind to him. But then, white people were disgusting to Sadao. Then he remembered the young, tired face of his prisoner. It had been white and disgusting and he wondered why he could not kill him.

Q8.What was the dilemma that Sadao faced when he found the injured American soldier? How did he resolve it in “The Enemy”?

Answer:The two main principles of medical ethics state “A physician shall, while caring for a patient, regard responsibility to the patient as paramount” and “A physician shall support access to medical care for all people”. In light of this, Sadao’s primary duty as a doctor was to help his patient without caring for his identity. He had to struggle between loyalty to his country and his training as a doctor to save a life. He instinctively chose the latter. Though rationality told him to hand over the prisoner to the police, humanitarian feelings and professional ethics made him act otherwise.

Sadao, who had grown up believing that the Japanese were a superior race, had not had a pleasant experience in America because he was a Japanese. The Americans were full of prejudices. He had found it tough to live with such feelings. Also, his socio-cultural values made it even more difficult for him to accept the Americans. But he could not let the young American soldier bleed to death. Neither could he kill him himself. While operating on him, he had called him “my friend” and had for the moment forgotten that he was his enemy. His instinctive sympathy to a suffering being conflicted with his duty as a loyal Japanese.

Q9.Discuss the message in Pearl S. Buck’s in “The Enemy”.

Answer:Human beings have the ability to reason. However, thoughtful consideration is not always used in determining actions which are driven by motivation. What complicates the decision, at times, is how a person may have contradicting motives due to his internal conflicts.
Sadao, a Japanese surgeon, lived in Japan during the Second World War with his wife Hana and the servants. Earlier, he had spent several years in the United States during medical school where he had experienced cultural prejudice and bias first hand. He did have a few positive experiences including those with his teacher and landlady, but most Americans had not welcomed him.

Despite this, he put his life in jeopardy to save an American prisoner of war. Pearl S. Buck shows how humanitarian considerations override man-made barriers of rationality and culture. Man’s affinity, despite cultural prejudices, is instinctive.

Q10.There are moments in life when we have to make hard choices between our roles as private individuals and as citizens with a sense of national loyalty. Discuss with reference to the story you have just read.

Answer:Sometimes a conflict of interest between duty and loyalty can create an appearance of impropriety. A white American soldier falls into the hands of a Japanese physician during World War II in enemy territory. The Japanese physician, Sadao, who dislikes whites struggles with issues of loyalty, duty, wartime medicine and racism.

However, Sadao risks his safety and saves the enemy. Although he fears the consequences for harbouring an enemy, he addresses the soldier as “my friend” after successfully saving him. Once the American soldier recovers, Sadao helps him escape. While Sadao does not come across as a “nationalist”, he can be viewed as a hero for his qualities such as bravery, helpfulness, and professional competence. Like a real hero . he stands up for what he believes in, and does not restrict himself for fear of repercussions. He is admirable for saving the American soldier’s life.

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