The Enemy


Pearl Buck

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The Gardener Character Analysis

The elderly gardener is one of the servants who works for Dr. Sadao Hoki and Hana. Like the cook, he’s been an instrumental part of the household ever since Sadao was just a boy. He is fiercely loyal to Sadao’s father, who is dead at the outset of the story. The gardener is especially skilled with flowers and moss; in his younger years, he created “one of the finest moss gardens in Japan” for Sadao’s father. He refers to Sadao’s father as “my old master” and Sadao as “my old master’s son,” demonstrating his lopsided loyalty to Sadao’s father over Sadao. This, coupled with his old age, suggests that the gardener clings to traditions, superstitions, and mindsets of the past. Even though Sadao and Hana are fairly traditional, the gardener aligns himself with Sadao’s father’s belief in racial purity, Japanese superiority, and the “old Japanese way” of doing things. Like the other servants, the gardener resents Sadao for saving Tom—besides his racist reasons for believing Tom should die, he also superstitiously believes that saving Tom from the sea will make the sea take revenge on Sadao and his family. The gardener eventually cuts ties with the family and leaves the household because of Tom. However, like the other servants, the gardener returns once Tom is gone, suggesting that the gardener was too engrained in the household—and too devoted to the memory Sadao’s father—to truly leave.
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The Gardener Character Timeline in The Enemy

The timeline below shows where the character The Gardener appears in The Enemy. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
The Enemy
Decisions and Duty Theme Icon
Meanwhile, Sadao tells the gardener about the white man. When Sadao is out of earshot, the gardener firmly tells Hana... (full context)
Decisions and Duty Theme Icon
Racism and Nationalism Theme Icon
Snipping a bud off of bush, the gardener proclaims that his “old master’s son knows very well what he ought to do.” The... (full context)
Decisions and Duty Theme Icon
Racism and Nationalism Theme Icon Hana is devastated but doesn’t show it. The servants are all crying—the cook and the gardener have been part of the household since Sadao was a child, while Yumi is distraught... (full context)