The Caine Mutiny: Novel Summary: IV Shore Leave

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IV Shore Leave

Summary
16 Shore Leave
Willie spends time with May in San Francisco and Yosemite. Willie tells May how he had to pay Queeg $110 "ransom," for the lost liquor, in order to get leave. May is appalled and asks if something should be done about Queeg. Willie's estimation of Queeg has changed; he now sees him as an unjust commander, and his estimation of de Vriess has risen. Though he and May stay in separate hotel rooms, they end up sleeping together. May is upset that it happens and Willie seems somewhat perplexed, though it does increase his desire for her.
May asks why Willie introduced her to his mother as May Minotti. Willie knows that it had something to do with his underlying prejudice; however, he responds that it was because he wanted their introduction to be truthful. As time passes, May becomes distant, and Willie begins to pursue her more earnestly. To his own amazement, Willie asks if they should get married. May thinks he has done so because of their intimacy and tells him that she doesn't need his pity. As Willie again suggests that they should get married, she bemoans the lack of real romance in the proposal, but feels that she should probably accept the offer. When she presses him for details regarding when and where the marriage would take place, Willie says that working out the details will have to be the next step. Willie tells her that he loves her, and she asks if he's going to inform his mother. Willie replies that he will tell his mother about the proposal that evening. Willie notes that there may be a problem with their religions, but May informs him that she's not much of a Catholic.
17 Two Bottles of Champagne
Maryk and Keefer meet in the city for dinner. They share a bottle of champagne to celebrate their arrival stateside and discuss why Maryk gave up a career as a fisherman to join the Navy. After dinner they attend a literary club meeting where Keefer gives a lecture on World War II and the novel. Maryk is amazed by Keefer's intellectual ability and the fact that he is a published author, details he only vaguely appreciated on the Caine. Following the lecture the men take two women to a club, but when Maryk checks in with the ship they are told to report back immediately. When they return, Maryk learns that Gorton and Adams have been reassigned and Maryk will be the new executive officer of the Caine. Willie has dinner with his mother at her hotel. Mrs. Keith questions him about his relationship with May, and Willie reveals all to her, including his proposal. Mrs. Keith asserts that Willie only proposed out of a sense of guilt and tries to persuade him that while he may be attracted to May, she is not of his class and wouldn't make a satisfactory partner. At first Willie rejects her logic, but the more he thinks the more he feels she is right. Mrs. Keith asks Willie to promise that he won't marry May on this leave. Willie replies that he's not likely to give up May, but he won't marry her now. The next morning Willie sees May to her plane and lies to her about his discussion with his mother.
18 Stilwell's Leave
With Queeg at home in Phoenix, Maryk is in charge. Maryk and Willie receive a dispatch which notes that work on the Caine is to be completed within three weeks, and the ship must put to sea by the end of December. When Maryk contacts the captain, he asks Queeg if he might call the sailors presently on leave back early so that the men who haven't had leave could at least have some time off. Queeg initially balks at the notion, suggesting that the men on leave will ignore the telegrams, but he eventually agrees.
Following his conversation with Queeg, Maryk is approached by Stilwell, who has a telegram from his brother which claims that his mother is dying. Stilwell pleads to be allowed leave, but Maryk asserts that he knows the captain's feelings and he can't go against Queeg's wishes. Willie persuades Maryk to grant Stilwell a 72-hour leave, and Stilwell promises that he will return on time. Unfortunately, Queeg returns before Stilwell does, and Queeg notices that Stilwell is missing. Maryk admits that he granted Stilwell leave and, in private, Queeg reprimands him. Maryk apologizes and pledges his loyalty to Queeg.
The Caine is hastily returned to duty, and Keefer is reassigned as gunnery officer and given a new cabin. When the ship departs, some twenty-five men have failed to appear.
Analysis
The fact that Willie and May sleep together is evidence that their relationship is becoming more complex; however, May's motives remain in question. Maryk's estimation of Keefer changes when he attends Keefer's lecture; this sets the groundwork for Maryk's belief that Keefer is an intelligent, reliable man. Mrs. Keith's suggestion that May is not worthy of Willie is evidence of her prejudice against May's social status, and Willie's inability to tell the truth to May regarding his conversation with his mother proves that he is still very much an adolescent. The fact that Maryk is persuaded to grant Stilwell leave demonstrates that he can be swayed by others' opinions, even when the result goes against Queeg's wishes. This is foreshadows Keefer's ability to persuade him that Queeg is insane.

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