The Caine Mutiny

by: Herman Wouk

Important Quotations Explained

Get this through your thick Reserve head, the heat is on. I'll be the guy everybody will hate. That's okay. I'm the exec of this ship, and I'll carry out my orders, do you hear?"

Lieutenant Gorton makes this heated reply to Thomas Keefer when the novelist protests at being punished for allowing Willie to leave the ship without consulting Gorton first. This event comes in the infant days of Queeg's captainship, and the order for Keefer's punishment is actually coming from the captain, not Gorton. This quotation highlights the conflict between the reserve sailors, such as Keefer, and the regular Navy men, such as Gorton. In this quotation, Keefer represents the model of a good executive officer, carrying out the will of his commanding officer without allowing his friendships to interfere.