The Enemy

Tom / The American Character Analysis

Tom is a teenage American prisoner of war who was captured and tortured by the Japanese but somehow escaped. He washes up on the beach near Dr. Sadao Hoki and Hana’s isolated house, and they discern that he’s a prisoner of war from his recent bullet wound (reopened by one of the rocks out at sea), his blonde hair, and his U.S. navy cap. Even though Tom is unconscious or sleeping for much of his time with Sadao and Hana, his mere presence forces them to grapple with their conflicting impulses to help a fellow human and to be loyal to one’s country. When he is conscious, Tom is scared of Sadao but also deeply grateful to the surgeon for saving his life—praise that Sadao coldly shrugs off. After saving Tom’s life through surgery, Sadao knows that he can’t allow the American to stay, but nor can he turn the American over to the authorities—the boy will surely die a torturous death. Sadao arranges for the General, an influential patient of his, to have a few assassins come to Sadao’s house in the middle of the night to silently kill Tom and do away with his body. When the assassins fail to show up night after night, Sadao decides to take matters into his own hands by helping Tom escape by boat to a nearby island, where he’s bound to be saved by a Korean fishing boat. The plan works, and Sadao is ultimately baffled as to why he couldn’t just kill Tom, given that Americans are his enemies and he hates all white people. In the story, Tom is the catalyst for human kindness, forcing Sadao and Hana to consider the universality of humankind and the inherent human impulse to be kind.

Tom / The American Quotes in The Enemy

The The Enemy quotes below are all either spoken by Tom / The American or refer to Tom / The American. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Decisions and Duty Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the National Council of Education Research and Training edition of The Enemy published in 2015.
The Enemy Quotes

“What shall we do with this man?” Sadao muttered. But his trained hands seemed of their own will to be doing what they could to stanch the fearful bleeding. He packed the wound with the sea moss that strewed the beach. […]

“The best thing that we could do would be to put him back in the sea,” Sadao said, answering himself. Now that the bleeding was stopped for a moment he stood up and dusted the sand from his hands.

“Yes, undoubtedly that would be best,” Hana said steadily. But she continued to stare down at the motionless man.

Related Characters: Dr. Sadao Hoki (speaker), Hana (speaker), Tom / The American
Page Number: 27-28
Explanation and Analysis:
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Sadao hesitated again. “The strange thing is,” he said, “that if the man were whole I could turn him over to the police without difficulty. I care nothing for him. He is my enemy. All Americans are my enemy. And he is only a common fellow. You see how foolish his face is. But since he is wounded…”

“You cannot throw him back to the sea,” Hana said.

Related Characters: Dr. Sadao Hoki (speaker), Hana (speaker), Tom / The American
Page Number: 28
Explanation and Analysis:
Quotes explanation short mobile

“This man,” he thought, “there is no reason under heaven why he should live.”

Unconsciously this thought made him ruthless and he proceeded swiftly. In his dream, the man moaned but Sadao paid no heed except to mutter at him.

“Groan,” he muttered, “groan if you like. I am not doing this for my own pleasure. In fact, I do not know why I am doing it.”

Related Characters: Dr. Sadao Hoki (speaker), Tom / The American
Page Number: 34
Explanation and Analysis:
Quotes explanation short mobile

Watching him, she wondered if the stories they heard sometimes of the sufferings of prisoners were true. They came like flickers of rumour, told by word of mouth and always contradicted. In the newspapers the reports were always that wherever the Japanese armies went the people received them gladly, with cries of joy at their liberation. But sometimes she remembered such men as General Takima, who at home beat his wife cruelly, though no one mentioned it now that he had fought so victorious a battle in Manchuria. If a man like that could be so cruel to a woman in his power, would he not be cruel to one like this for instance?

Related Characters: Hana, Tom / The American, General Takima
Related Symbols: Tom’s Scars
Page Number: 34
Explanation and Analysis:
Quotes explanation short mobile

“It is not quite at the kidney, my friend,” Sadao murmured. It was his habit to murmur to the patient when he forgot himself in an operation. “My friend,” he always called his patients and so now he did, forgetting that this was his enemy.

Related Characters: Dr. Sadao Hoki (speaker), Tom / The American
Page Number: 35
Explanation and Analysis:
Quotes explanation short mobile

“You say you think I can stand one more such attack as I have had today?”
“Not more than one,” Sadao said.

“Then certainly I can allow nothing to happen to you,” the General said with anxiety. His long pale Japanese face became expressionless, which meant that he was in deep thought. “You cannot be arrested,” the General said, closing his eyes. “Suppose you were condemned to death and the next day I had to have my operation?”

“There are other surgeons, Excellency,” Sadao suggested.

“None I trust,” the General replied. “The best ones have been trained by Germans and would consider the operation successful even if I died.”

Related Characters: Dr. Sadao Hoki (speaker), The General (speaker), Tom / The American
Page Number: 40
Explanation and Analysis:
Quotes explanation short mobile

“That prisoner,” he said with some energy, “did I not promise you I would kill him for you?”

“You did, Excellency,” Sadao said.

“Well, well!” the old man said in a tone of amazement, “so I did! But you see, I was suffering a good deal. The truth is, I thought of nothing but myself. In short, I forgot my promise to you.”

“I wondered, Your Excellency,” Sadao murmured.

“It was certainly very careless of me,” the General said. “But you understand it was not lack of patriotism or dereliction of duty.” He looked anxiously at his doctor. “If the matter should come out you would understand that, wouldn’t you?”

Related Characters: Dr. Sadao Hoki (speaker), The General (speaker), Tom / The American
Page Number: 45-46
Explanation and Analysis:
Quotes explanation short mobile

The Americans were full of prejudice and it had been bitter to live in it, knowing himself their superior. How he had despised the ignorant and dirty old woman who had at last consented to house him in her miserable home! He had once tried to be grateful to her because she had in his last year nursed him through influenza, but it was difficult, for she was no less repulsive to him in her kindness. Now he remembered the youthful, haggard face of his prisoner—white and repulsive.

“Strange,” he thought. “I wonder why I could not kill him?”

Related Characters: Dr. Sadao Hoki (speaker), Tom / The American, The American Landlady
Page Number: 46-47
Explanation and Analysis:
Quotes explanation short mobile
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Tom / The American Character Timeline in The Enemy

The timeline below shows where the character Tom / The American appears in The Enemy. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
The Enemy
Humanization, Kindness, and Antagonism Theme Icon
Racism and Nationalism Theme Icon
...present, Sadao and Hana suddenly notice “something black” in the mist and realize it’s a man. He slogs through the breaking waves and stumbles onto the beach, soon falling to his... (full context)
Humanization, Kindness, and Antagonism Theme Icon
Racism and Nationalism Theme Icon
When they reach the beach, Sadao realizes the man is badly wounded, as his blood is already seeping into the sand. He turns the... (full context)
Decisions and Duty Theme Icon
Racism and Nationalism Theme Icon
Sadao’s “expert fingers” look for the man’s wound. Sadao finds that the man has a gunshot wound in his lower back, and... (full context)
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Humanization, Kindness, and Antagonism Theme Icon
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Sadao says that if they brought the man into their house, both Sadao and Hana would be arrested; however, if they turned the... (full context)
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After a moment, Hana says they need to put the man back into the sea, though she refuses to be the one to do it. Sadao... (full context)
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...tell the servants; Hana says they “must” tell the servants that they’re only bringing the man into the house to then turn him over to the police—“as indeed we must.” She... (full context)
Racism and Nationalism Theme Icon
Sadao and Hana bring the man to the room that once belonged to Sadao’s father. The room is still in immaculate... (full context)
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Humanization, Kindness, and Antagonism Theme Icon
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...Yumi, the servant who tends to the children, should be the one to wash the man. Sadao stoops down to check the young man’s pulse; it’s fainter than ever, and Sadao... (full context)
Humanization, Kindness, and Antagonism Theme Icon
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...leaves the room, and Hana follows, not wanting “to be left alone with the white man.” Although she went to college in America, this is the first white man she’s seen... (full context)
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Hana and Yumi go to the white man, and Hana instructs the servant girl to wash him. She refuses, declaring that she has... (full context)
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...care,” Sadao simply says, “Yes, it is ruined.” He instructs his wife to give the man an anesthetic, and Hana protests that she’s never done that before. As he pulls back... (full context)
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...her how to administer the anesthetic. As she brings the saturated cotton ball to the man’s nose, she wonders if there’s any truth to the rumors she’s heard about how the... (full context)
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Humanization, Kindness, and Antagonism Theme Icon
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...Manchuria, no one talked about the way he abuses his wife. Hana wonders, “If a man like that could be so cruel to a woman in his power, would he not... (full context)
Decisions and Duty Theme Icon
Humanization, Kindness, and Antagonism Theme Icon
Racism and Nationalism Theme Icon
...work, Sadao talks to his “friend,” “forgetting that this was his enemy.” Suddenly, the white man sputters but then falls silent. Afraid the man has died, Sadao takes up the white... (full context)
Decisions and Duty Theme Icon
Humanization, Kindness, and Antagonism Theme Icon
...stop administering anesthetic. Meanwhile, Sadao fills a vial with liquid and stabs it into the man’s wrist. The man’s pulse grows stronger, and with a sigh, Sadao announces that the white... (full context)
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The white man’s eyes open, and he looks terrified. Hana feeds him by hand, since none of the... (full context)
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Humanization, Kindness, and Antagonism Theme Icon
Several days later, Sadao checks on the white man and finds him sitting up in bed, “his face bloodless with the effort.” Sadao commands... (full context)
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Later, Hana anxiously tells Sadao that the servants have threatened to quit if the white man stays any longer. According to the servants, Sadao and Hana spent so much time in... (full context)
Humanization, Kindness, and Antagonism Theme Icon
...impulse is “not sentimental liking of the prisoner.” Even the other day, when the white man bravely introduced himself as Tom, Hana purposefully ignored him and saw the “hurt in his... (full context)
Humanization, Kindness, and Antagonism Theme Icon
Later, Sadao permits Tom to spend a few minutes on his feet per day so that he regains his... (full context)
Decisions and Duty Theme Icon
...in uniform arrives, sending Hana into a panic—the servants must have told the authorities about Tom. However, the messenger tells Sadao that he’s needed at the palace: “The old General is... (full context)
Decisions and Duty Theme Icon
After treating the General, Sadao confides in him about Tom. The General is sympathetic to Sadao’s plight, explaining, “I understand fully. But that is because... (full context)
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Racism and Nationalism Theme Icon
Growing serious, the General says that Tom must be murdered, albeit secretly. He asks Sadao for permission to send a few private... (full context)
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When he returns home, Sadao “refuse[s] to allow anything but reason” into his mind. Tom says that he’s feeling better, though the muscles on one side of his body are... (full context)
Humanization, Kindness, and Antagonism Theme Icon
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Tom thanks Sadao again for saving his life, claiming, “If I hadn’t met a Jap like... (full context)
Decisions and Duty Theme Icon
...tosses and turns all night, wondering if the assassins will come. In the morning, though, Tom is still there. On the second night, Sadao again listens carefully, but Tom is still... (full context)
Humanization, Kindness, and Antagonism Theme Icon
...can’t just sit around and wait for the assassins—“not that he cared for this young man’s life. No, simply it was not worth the strain.” Sadao quickly formulates a plan and... (full context)
Humanization, Kindness, and Antagonism Theme Icon
...though she is “so modern,” she doesn’t eat with her husband). Afterwards, Sadao checks on Tom. The boy’s pulse is irregular, but Sadao attributes it to “excitement.” Tom is otherwise healthy,... (full context)
Humanization, Kindness, and Antagonism Theme Icon
Tom tells Sadao, “I realise you are saving my life again.” Sadao sniffs that it’s merely... (full context)
Racism and Nationalism Theme Icon
...burning Sulphur in Sadao’s father’s room to purify it and get rid of “the white man’s smell.” Besides this, no one speaks of Tom. (full context)
Decisions and Duty Theme Icon
Humanization, Kindness, and Antagonism Theme Icon
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...a success, though, and once the General begins to regain his strength, Sadao brings up Tom. He tells the General that Tom has escaped. With a sinking feeling, the General realizes... (full context)
Decisions and Duty Theme Icon
Humanization, Kindness, and Antagonism Theme Icon
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...unpatriotic mean that Sadao is safe, and that the General wouldn’t dare tell anyone about Tom. Sadao declares, “I can swear to your loyalty, excellency […] and to your zeal against... (full context)
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...to see that it is completely dark; there is no flash of light, which means Tom is no longer on the island. Sadao thinks Tom is “undoubtedly” safe now, since Sadao... (full context)
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...a struggle for Sadao to find housing in America, and this “ignorant and dirty old woman” was the only one who would accept a Japanese tenant in her “miserable home,” though... (full context)