The Caine Mutiny

Main Ideas

Key Facts

Main Ideas Key Facts

full title The Caine Mutiny

author Herman Wouk

type of work Fiction

genre World War II historical fiction

language English

time and place written 1949, New York and at sea, aboard the USS Saipan

date of first publication 1951

publisher Doubleday & Company

narrator Willie Keith

point of view Third person limited omniscient

tone Humorous; journalistic

tense Present

setting (time) 1942–1945

setting (place) New York, San Francisco, Pearl Harbor, and various islands of the South Pacific, but primarily aboard the D.M.S. Caine

protagonist Willie Keith

major conflict A competent crew opposes the command of an incompetent and possibly insane captain

rising action The events of Queeg's captainship elicit increasing disgust from his crew

climax The mutiny against Queeg

falling action The court-martial of Queeg

themes  The maturation of Willie Keith; the conflict between regular and reserve Navies; a war of perspectives

motifs  Awakenings; meals; renewal

symbols  Queeg's metal balls; Keefer's novel; Willie's hat

foreshadowing  Queeg's increasing seclusion; the near-reporting of Queeg at the New Jersey