The Caine Mutiny: Novel Summary: VI The Court-Martial
VI The Court-Martial
31 Counsel for the Defense
Captain Theodore Breakstone, a district legal officer, is reviewing the file for the Caine court-martial, a case which bothers him, in part because of the events and in part because of a botched inquiry. Lieutenant Commander Jack Challee enters Breakstone's office with news that he has thought of someone suitable for the defense. No other naval lawyers want to get involved because the case has the potential to damage a defense lawyer's career. Challee's suggestion is Barney Greenwald, a hot-shot, Jewish, civilian lawyer. Greenwald is also a pilot and is currently on medical leave, recovering from burns received during a crash. When Breakstone asks why Challee feels Greenwald will take the case, Challee remarks that Greenwald enjoys fighting for the underdog.
When Greenwald visits Breakstone, he informs the captain that he'd rather not take the case, not because he's afraid of it, but because he is certain he could get the men acquitted and feels they don't deserve to get off. Greenwald believes Queeg isn't crazy and that the men overstepped their bounds. Breakstone appeals to Greenwald's belief in the underdog and the fact that all men deserve the best defense that can be provided. Greenwald requests that he be allowed to speak with Maryk before consenting to take the case, and Breakstone agrees.
Greenwald goes to the Caine in search of Maryk and is told that Maryk is not aboard; Greenwald also learns that Queeg is no longer commanding the Caine. Urban, whom Greenwald knows is to be a star witness for the prosecution, tells him that he has no idea of Queeg's whereabouts. Greenwald notices a large hole in the Caine, and Urban informs him that the ship was attacked by a kamikaze. Urban also informs Greenwald that Maryk was still commanding the Caine at the time of the attack.
When Greenwald locates Maryk, his preconceived notions of the man are shattered. Maryk's first comment is that he doesn't mind if Greenwald defends him, but it will be a bad career move for Greenwald. Maryk comments that he's not sure what he will plead and says he got his notions of Queeg's mental state from a book. Keefer comes in to tell Maryk that he is leaving; he shows Maryk his half-completed manuscript and tells him that he's going to try to get it published.
Following Keefer's departure, Greenwald informs him that he's a very good lawyer, and he suggests that they continue their conversation over lunch. Greenwald informs Maryk that if he's going to plead guilty, he should at least try to minimize the sentence through negotiation. When Maryk notes that he isn't any good at negotiating, Greenwald asserts that this is where counsel comes in. Maryk remarks that he may be guilty by strict standards, but that he wasn't trying to take over the ship, only trying to save it. Greenwald asks what role Keefer played leading up to the relief of Queeg, and though Maryk feels that Keefer betrayed him, he tells Greenwald that it was his responsibility alone. Green dismisses the assertion and tells Maryk that he will serve as his lawyer but Maryk should know that he would rather be prosecuting him. In Greenwald's words, Maryk is either a mutineer or one of the dumbest men in the Navy. He also notes that he will only defend Maryk if Maryk agrees to be completely open with him. Maryk replies that while everyone thinks he is dumb, the only way to prove that he was right about Queeg would have been for him to do nothing and allow the Caine to sink, like several other vessels caught in the storm. However, Greenwald reminds him that most of the ships caught in the storm survived without needing to replace the captain. Maryk asks where Greenwald is from, and when he replies Albuquerque, Maryk is surprised. Greenwald tells Maryk that he's a Jew, and Maryk laughs and accepts him as his lawyer.
Maryk tells Greenwald the entire story and when he has finished Greenwald asks if Maryk ever read Keefer's novel. Maryk says no, and Greenwald states that he'd very much like to read it, for he believes the novel will have plenty to say about military brutality and ineptitude. He also suggests that Keefer is the real villain of the story. When Maryk notes that he wants Keefer left out of the trial, Greenwald comments that he intends to keep Keefer as far from the trial as possible. Maryk asks whether, after hearing the entire story, Greenwald believes that Queeg is insane. Greenwald says he believes Queeg was sane but notes that this doesn't mean Maryk's defense is shot. Greenwald asks Maryk how he was able to remain in command after the storm, and Maryk notes that following the storm the ship returned to Ulithi and he went straight to the commodore to disclose Queeg's relief. The commodore called for a medical evaluation of Queeg, and the doctor concluded that he didn't believe Queeg was insane but since he wasn't a psychiatric expert, he recommended that Queeg be sent back to the states for a psychiatric evaluation. This placed the commodore in a bind because, as a result of the storm, the fleet was in dire need of minesweepers. The commodore decided to put Maryk in command of the Caine and send Queeg home, rather than take the ship out of active service. To Maryk's surprise, Queeg agreed this was the best decision. Greenwald notes that Queeg may have made a fatal error when he agreed that Maryk should be given command of the Caine. The conversation concludes with Maryk asking what they will plead and Greenwald noting, "'Not guilty, of course.'"
32 Willie's Leave
Willie is granted ten days of leave because Captain Breakstone feels he will need it for what he's about to face. Willie returns to New York intent on breaking off his relationship with May.
On the flight home, Willie realizes that while he still desires May, he can't see himself married to her. He has resigned himself to the notion of becoming a university professor, and he can't see May fitting into this type of life. He reflects on how anticlimactic the Caine inquiry had been. Though he had mentally inflated the affair into "the Caine mutiny," in the larger scheme of things it was of no real import to the Navy or the officer conducting it. Willie notes that Maryk had continued to command the Caine through the Lingayen campaign and the return trip to Pearl Harbor and that a new commander, Captain White, had taken over at Pearl Harbor. He regarded White, a regular Navy officer, as a troubleshooter. Willie is disheartened that he was unable to perform better during the inquiry; he wasn't able to convey the full sense of life aboard the Caine or the irrational actions of Queeg. He recalls his fright over being formally charged with making a mutiny, believing that somehow his mother will get him out of the trouble.
Mrs. Keith greets Willie at the airport. Willie's first thought is that she has aged, and Mrs. Keith notes physical changes in Willie too. He had expected to be excited to return home, but when the car arrives, his home seems empty because of his father's absence. Willie changes into his old clothes, but they feel strange to him. He tells his mother the story of the mutiny, and she asks if he has informed May of the events. He tells her that May doesn't know he is in town. Mrs. Keith comments that Queeg must be a monster and that they are certainly innocent. She asks Willie if he has made any decision about May, and Willie replies that he has decided to end their relationship and that he's going to try to see her that evening. Mrs. Keith tells him not to worry about the court-martial because she'll speak to his Uncle Lloyd about the matter.
When Willie phones May, he is told that she has a new number. He calls and a man answers and reveals himself as Marty Rubin, May's manager. May seems ecstatic to hear from Willie and wants to know when they can get together. They have some trouble establishing a time but eventually set an afternoon meeting at a local recording studio. As Willie walks to the studio he perceives a certain grimy sameness to the New York streets. A receptionist tells Willie that he has to wait because the recording session isn't finished. Rubin spots Willie and ushers him to May, who seems glad to see him but makes him wait for ten minutes while she finishes her business. The pair travel to a restaurant, where Willie notes how haggard May seems, a fact that May attributes to a fever. As they converse, Willie learns that May's father is in poor health and the family business isn't going well. As a result, she has been supporting them all. They go to May's apartment in the Hotel Woodley; to Willie it feels rather shabby. May changes and suggests that she lie down while they talk. May tells Willie of her troubles at home, and when Willie asks why she didn't come to him for help, she replies that she isn't a charity case. Willie suggests that she rest for awhile, since she has to perform later that night. She goes to bed and Willie sits in her apartment, reading. As he reads, he reflects on their reunion and remains convinced that breaking off the relationship is for the best. Her background, upbringing, and religion, simply wouldn't fit into the academic life he is now sure he wants.
Later in the evening, they arrive at the Grotto Club, which he remembers under another name. May comments on the change of name and notes that the club where they met, the Tahiti, no longer exists. May performs well, and, to Willie, appears to be the same vivacious woman he fell for. But he feels that making a living this way is worse than spending a lifetime on the Caine. Willie decides to tell her nothing of the court-martial.
Following her performance, they return to May's apartment early the next morning. For a time they rest on May's bed, passionately kissing, when May asks Willie if they're relationship is finished. Willie is somewhat stunned by the words but fails to answer the question. She asks if he has definitely made up his mind, and he says yes. In an effort to gain some closure, she then asks if her social status, lack of schooling, or religion were behind the issue. Again, Willie says nothing, and May seems to accept his silence. Her demeanor changes, and she notes that he needn't worry because both of their lives will continue. She asks if he will go back to playing the piano when the war is over, and when Willie says no, she mentions that he should teach, noting that he got her to start reading and to enroll in college. They talk for a while longer and Willie promises that he will call her the next day.
Willie spends the next few days doing various activities with his mother but never calls May. He visits Furnald Hall, his former midshipmen school, and notes that nothing has changed about the place. However, this sameness makes him feel uncomfortable. Willie and Mrs. Keith have dinner with Uncle Lloyd, now a colonel in the Army. His uncle reacts to the news of the court-martial and the events surrounding it with contempt. The day before he is to leave, Willie attends his favorite opera, Don Giovanni, but he gets no enjoyment from the performance. Following the opera he tells his mother that he has to go out for a while. He goes to the Grotto and watches May perform from a distance. Following her performance, May takes Willie back to her dressing room, where he tells her the story of the mutiny. May tells him that she doesn't know what to make of the ordeal and questions why he felt compelled to tell her about it. Willie isn't sure why, but he felt it was something he had to tell her. She admits that she knows nothing of the Navy but believes they won't convict him for trying to doing something for the good of the ship and the men aboard. She lightens the mood by commenting that he couldn't conduct a mutiny against his mother, let alone a naval vessel. She asks when he is leaving and he replies that he must return early the next morning. May bolts the door of her dressing room, gives him a passionate kiss, and tells him that he has to go because it is too painful to be around him.
Willie remains unsure why he really went to see May, but the narrator suggests that it was the simple act of a husband consulting his wife on an important matter. As his plane departs New York, Willie looks down upon the buildings, trying to locate the Hotel Woodley.
33 The Court-Martial-First Day
Maryk isn't charged with mutiny but with "Conduct to the Prejudice of Good Order and Discipline." Challee expects that it will not be difficult to prove the charge and anticipates Greenwald's defense. During the investigation no one from the Caine, except for Willie and Stilwell, spoke ill of Queeg and Maryk's medical log was dismissed as a list of whining complaints. As a result, Challee feels he won't have a difficult time proving the charges; however, he knows that Greenwald's best attack was on the issue of criminal intent.
On the morning of the trial, Willie returns to the Chrysanthemum but finds no officers from the Caine aboard except for Keefer. Keefer tells Willie that the Caine is leaving dry-dock and most of the men are probably aboard. Keefer tells Willie that things have been getting crazy and that Stilwell is in the hospital for a psychiatric disorder. He also informs Willie that he has sold his novel, and Willie congratulates him.
Maryk's sprits drop as the judges enter the courtroom. The Court is comprised of seven officers, and its president is Captain Blakely, a former submarine commander with a reputation as a stern disciplinarian. Challee calls Queeg as his first witness. Maryk is shocked by Queeg's appearance: he is tan and seems very fit and confident, a far cry from his condition during the typhoon. When he is questioned, Queeg is very calm and coherent. Queeg's testimony implies that he did nothing more than try his best to keep the Caine under control and on course. During Queeg's testimony, Greenwald doodles little pink pigs on a notepad. When asked by Challee why Maryk might have wanted to take over the ship, Queeg replies that Maryk had seemed nervous and unstable and the added stress of the ship's aggressive rolling might have sent him into a panic. When Challee questions Queeg about Willie, Queeg replies that Willie's state of panic was worse than Maryk's. And when asked about Stilwell, Queeg replies that Stilwell was the worst of the three. Maryk writes a note to Greenwald asserting that he can prove that he wasn't panicky, but Greenwald tells him that it may not be necessary. At this point Blakely questions Queeg about his physical and mental health, asserting that Queeg's file presents him as a fit officer with a lengthy Naval record. When Blakely asks Queeg to explain why Maryk may have thought him to be mentally ill, Queeg suggests that it may have been related to the tough measures he used to shape up the Caine's crew.
Greenwald opens his cross-examination by asking Queeg if he ever heard the expression "Old Yellowstain" used in reference to him. Challee objects, and Greenwald says he is attempting to establish Queeg's character, which has a strong bearing on Maryk's motivation for taking command of the Caine. Blakely clears the court and when the trial resumes he cautions Greenwald that a longstanding and competent officer's career is potentially at stake in the trial; as a result, Greenwald had better proceed very carefully or risk repercussions of his own. Greenwald next gets Queeg to admit that he wrote two favorable fitness reports for Maryk. When Queeg suggests that Greenwald look at his third report, which is unfavorable, Greenwald points out that this report was written after the events surrounding Queeg's relief of command. Greenwald notes that he has no further questions for Queeg but adds that Queeg will be called as a witness for the defense-a move that stuns Blakely.
Keefer is called next. When Challee questions him about Queeg's mental state, Keefer attempts to avoid the question, noting that he isn't a psychiatrist. Eventually, Challee gets him to admit that he never saw Queeg act in an insane manner. When Challee asks Keefer if he ever thought Queeg might be insane, Greenwald objects and gets the question withdrawn. Maryk privately asks why he objected to the question, and Greenwald replies that it works against his depiction of Maryk as a lone hero. When Challee asks Keefer if he was aware that Maryk believed Queeg to be mentally ill, Keefer tells of the medical log and the trip to Admiral Halsey. Asked if he was surprised when Maryk relieved Queeg, Keefer states that he was very surprised. To Blakely's and Challee's surprise, Greenwald has no questions for Keefer. Blakely then questions Keefer about Queeg's mental state and gets him to admit that although Queeg tended to focus on very minor infractions, aggressively pursue matters, and sternly punish his men, none of his actions could be called insane.
Harding and Paynter are called and both voice a dislike of Queeg; however, neither admit to observing any irrational actions from Queeg.
Urban is the next witness. He is extremely nervous and has a great deal of trouble answering in any detail. Blakely cautions him that withholding pertinent details can get him into trouble, but he is still unable to provide any depth to the questions he is asked. He knows that during the storm there was argument over which way to turn the ship and when to add ballast, but he can't be sure who gave what orders. Challee becomes irritated with Urban's testimony, but Blakely has some sympathy when Urban's young age and lack of formal education are brought to light. On cross-examination, Greenwald asks if Urban was aboard the Caine when it cut its own tow line. Urban admits that he was on the bridge and Queeg was reprimanding him for his untucked shirt. Challee objects, an argument ensues, and Blakely again clears the courtroom. When the trial resumes, Blakely orders that Urban's last comment stricken from the record.
During the final part of the day, Challee calls twelve chiefs and sailors from the Caine who all testify that Queeg did not exhibit any insane behavior. To the annoyance of the court, Greenwald cross-examines each of the twelve men by asking the same three questions-each question centering on specific psychiatric terms and each man commenting that he didn't know the answer.
At the end of the session, Maryk asks Greenwald if he thinks they are losing, and Greenwald comments that it's too early to tell because they haven't yet had their turn to take the lead. Maryk and Greenwald dine together, and though Maryk regards Greenwald as odd, he clings to a certain hope in Greenwald's ability.
34 The Court-Martial-Second Day, Morning
Willie undergoes a lengthy day of testimony, which begins with Challee asking him why he believes Maryk relieved Queeg. Willie answers that Queeg was no long functioning properly and the Caine was in imminent danger. Challee tries to pin Willie down with questions about his length of service and experience at sea, but Willie offers very rational testimony, focusing on the assertion that Queeg's actions didn't seem appropriate for the situation. When Challee questions Willie's loyalty to Queeg, Willie admits that there were certain instances when he was antagonistic but that these occurred at times when Queeg mistreated the men. Willie discusses several times occasions when Queeg's treatment of the men was harsh. Willie offers the example of Queeg's treatment of Stilwell, but Challee traps him into admitting that both he and Maryk disregarded Queeg's order that Stilwell remain on the ship. Willie realizes this is a serious and damaging revelation. Challee asks if Willie liked Queeg, and Willie replies that he very much liked him at first but that his opinion of Queeg changed as he realized that Queeg was both petty and incompetent. Willie admits that he never considered Queeg to be insane.
When asked whether his support of Maryk's decision to relieve Queeg was based on Queeg's actions or on Willie's dislike of Queeg, Willie replies that he can't answer the question.
Following his testimony, Willie is certain that he has just convicted himself and Maryk. He admits to himself that he supported Maryk's take-over because he believed that the ship was in danger and because he disliked Queeg.
On cross-examination, Greenwald prompts Willie to recount more fully why he disliked Queeg, and Willie assert that it was mainly due to Queeg's cowardice in battle. Challee objects and has a heated exchange with Greenwald. Blakely clears the course, and when the trial resumes he reads a passage from the naval regulations regarding the seriousness of cowardice in battle. Blakely cautions both Greenwald and Willie to be certain they want to pursue this line of questioning, and both Greenwald and Willie state that they do want to proceed. Blakely overrules Challee's objection and Willie relates the Saipan shore battery incident and the yellow dye marker incident. As he speaks, Willie notes a distinct change in the judges' attitudes; they are captivated by the stories. When Greenwald asks if Willie has any further reasons for disliking Queeg, Willie mentions the lost case of liquor and Queeg's extortion of one hundred dollars from him. Challee objects, but again Blakely overrules the objection. Challee attempts to damage Willie's testimony in cross-examination, but he isn't very successful.
The final witness of the day is Captain Randolph P. Southard, a naval ships expert. Southard initially testifies that Maryk's decision to turn the Caine into the wind wasn't sound and that Queeg's decision to continue following the fleet course made more sense. Upon cross-examination from Greenwald, Southard admits that normal operating procedures don't necessarily apply during a typhoon. During cross-examination Greenwald offers a hypothetical situation involving a destroyer steaming in a typhoon, and Southard admits that he too would face the ship into the wind. Challee concludes the testimony by asking Southard who is best qualified to make decisions related to the ship's course; Southard immediately replies that the captain is most qualified.
35 The Court-Martial-Second Day, Afternoon
The second day of testimony begins with Dr. Forest Lundeen, chief of psychiatry at a Navy hospital, recounting his findings regarding Queeg's mental health. Lundeen testifies that Queeg is not and never was insane. Under Challee's questioning, Lundeen reveals that while Queeg has certain mental abnormalities, it would have been impossible for him to be insane on the night he was relieved of duty. Greenwald opens his cross-examination by asking Lundeen to describe Queeg's mental disturbances. Challee immediately objects, but Greenwald notes that the testimony is necessary to corroborate Maryk's assessment of Queeg. Blakely overrules the objection, and Lundeen comments that Queeg suffers from feelings of inferiority, related to his shortness of stature, his low standing as an officer, and his troubled upbringing. Lundeen testifies that when Queeg makes an error he tends to revise reality so that the event is blamed on others. Greenwald very carefully presents a line of questions that paint Queeg a paranoid personality. Blakely asks Lundeen whether it is possible for someone to function well under the normal stress of command but to break down during extreme conditions; Lundeen affirms the statement.
Challee next calls Dr. Bird, another Navy psychiatrist. Bird reaffirms that Queeg was and remains a sane individual. During his cross-examination, Greenwald gets Bird to agree that in Freudian analysis, Bird's specialty, there are two general classifications of people: disturbed and adjusted. These categories roughly equate to sick and well individuals. Greenwald then gets Bird to admit that Queeg is a disturbed individual; however, Bird asserts, he is not a disabled individual. Greenwald questions Bird about Queeg's habit of rolling the balls, and Bird suggests that it belies an inner tension, which in Freudian analysis might be associated with suppressed masturbation or an expression of rage and hostility against the world. When Greenwald asks whether Queeg's disturbances could result in a debilitating mental state, Bird admits that under extreme conditions it might. Greenwald then challenges Bird's competence by bringing out that he has served very little time in the Navy and has never had any dealings with Navy captains. Greenwald again pushes Bird to admit that Queeg is a "sick" individual. Though he disputes the semantics of the term, Bird does admit it. Under cross-examination from Challee, Bird will not retract his admission that Queeg is sick.
Though it is late in the day, Blakely instructs Greenwald to begin his defense. Greenwald notes that he only has two witnesses to call, Maryk and Queeg. Blakely asks Maryk if he is prepared to testify, and Maryk says yes. Greenwald's questions establish that on the date Maryk relieved Queeg he believed the ship was truly in danger and that Queeg wasn't responding appropriately to the situation. Greenwald has Maryk tell why he began keeping the medical log and has him describe the events that led him to conclude that Queeg was mentally unstable. Greenwald also has Maryk explain the events surrounding Queeg's attempt to regain control of the ship. Maryk notes that prior to the Caine rejoining the fleet at Ulithi, Queeg called Maryk to his cabin for a private discussion in which Queeg suggested that he would forget about the whole affair if Maryk would return command of the vessel to him. According to Maryk, Queeg suggested that the official records could be changed and no one would ever have to know; Queeg would simply consider it a lapse of judgment. Maryk notes that as Queeg spoke he broke down and even cried. Maryk reveals that he rejected Queeg's offer and notified command of the events as soon as they arrived in Ulithi. In closing, Greenwald has Maryk state that when he relieved Queeg he was not panicky and did so under specific naval regulations and with just cause.
During Challee's cross-examination of Maryk, he attempts to show that since Queeg was on the bridge the entire time he was relieved, Queeg was actually giving the commands. Challee questions Maryk about his loyalty to Queeg and gets him to admit that he performed a disloyal act when he approved Stilwell's leave, but Maryk refuses to admit that his relief of Queeg was a disloyal act. Challee then probes Maryk's background and gets Maryk to admit that his understanding of psychiatry is weak. When Challee asks Maryk if he believes the naval psychiatrists were wrong in their assessment of Queeg, Maryk simply replies that they were not on the ship during the night in question. Challee suggests that perhaps Maryk was the one with the mental condition, that perhaps Maryk's sense of reality was distorted, a notion that Maryk rejects. Challee then asks if Maryk considers Keefer to be smarter than himself. Maryk admits that it may be true; he also testifies that Keefer tried to keep him from relieving Queeg. When Challee suggests that Maryk may have lied about the private conversation with Queeg regarding Queeg's return to command, Maryk flatly rejects the assertion. Greenwald declines to re-examine the witness and the trial concludes for the day.
36 Queeg Versus Greenwald
Greenwald opens by introducing as evidence the first two fitness reports Queeg wrote for Maryk. Greenwald questions Queeg about the interview that took place in Queeg's cabin when the Caine rejoined the fleet. Queeg admits that the interview took place but disputes Maryk's version of the events. He testifies that he felt sorry for Maryk and didn't want to ruin his career over one panicky event. Queeg states that Maryk lied about the offer to change the logs, but Greenwald pushes the fact that it really comes down to Queeg's word against Maryk's. Greenwald then asks why Queeg recommended Maryk to take over the Caine when it returned to Ulithi, even though he testified that he felt Maryk was panicky and exhibited bad judgment during the typhoon. Queeg replies that he didn't actually recommend that Maryk be placed in command. When Greenwald notes that Maryk's handling of the ship when it was attacked by a suicide plane suggests that he doesn't panic in stressful situations, Queeg dismisses the event as a minor incident.
Greenwald next questions Queeg about the $110 he received from Willie for the sunken case of liquor. At first Queeg dodges the episode, offering false statements, and then claims that he can't remember many of the details. Eventually, he is cornered into admitting that the event took place. When Greenwald notes that transporting liquor on a naval vessel is forbidden, Queeg states that he knows the regulations but that the liquor was sealed up before departing and, besides, rank has certain privileges.
Greenwald next asks Queeg if he is aware that the Caine once cut its own towline. Immediately, Challee objects, claiming that Greenwald is turning the trial into a court-martial of Queeg. Blakely clears the court but after a brief recess overrules the objection. Queeg offers a story in which he spotted some anti-aircraft fire near the Caine and was distracted by it, maintaining that the accident was the result of a faulty tow line. When Greenwald asks if he was also distracted by his reprimanding of Urban for an untucked shirt, Queeg admits that he was reprimanding Urban for the shirttail but that it only took a few seconds. He also asserts that no other officer may have seen the anti-aircraft fire.
The next issue Greenwald explores is the yellow stain incident. When Queeg is asked if his orders included dropping the dye marker, Queeg states that he can't remember. Queeg can't recall many of the details surrounding this event, and Blakely cautions him that he needs to respond to the best of his ability and suggests that if need be he can recess the trial and get depositions from the other officers involved. Queeg admits to Blakely that his orders didn't tell him to drop a dye marker, but he did so to clearly mark the point of departure and as a matter of safety for the landing craft. When asked by Blakely if the Caine remained within hailing distance of the other boats, Queeg states that he felt such a distance was too close. Blakely then comments that another of the judges was involved in several such missions and the normal practice was to remain within hailing distance. Queeg responds by offering another excuse. When Blakely asks if Queeg was commanding the ship from the bridge, Queeg states that Maryk was navigating; with this revelation he also notes that he now remembers having to reprimand Maryk for allowing too much distance to open up between the Caine and the boats it was escorting.
When Greenwald resumes his questioning, he asks Queeg if during an invasion he had the habit of standing on the side of the ship that was sheltered from the beach. Queeg says angrily that it is an insulting question and justifies his constant movement as the result of Maryk's and Willie's habit of scurrying to the safe side of the bridge. Queeg asserts that, in effect, he had to single-handedly run the ship.
Next, Greenwald questions Queeg about the Saipan shore battery incident. Queeg claims that Willie was grandstanding when he requested that the Caine fire up the shore battery. In addition, he claims that he couldn't fire because the Stanfield was in the line of fire, was better equipped to fire on the battery, and he needed to return the Caine to her primary mission: patrolling. Blakely notes that he would like to question the witness, but Challee states that Queeg is obviously shaken by the lengthy questioning and suggests that they take a recess. Queeg shouts that he doesn't need a recess, that he wants to address the issues now. He notes that he never made a single mistake during his command of the Caine. Blakely asks Queeg if he was truly unable to maneuver so that he could fire upon the shore battery. Queeg agrees that this was the case and stresses that he wanted to get back to this primary mission, patrolling. When asked if he felt returning fire on the enemy wasn't a more pressing mission, Queeg comments that it normally would be; however, the Stanfield was in the way.
Greenwald next presses Queeg on whether he felt the Caine was in danger on the evening he was relieved by Maryk. Queeg replies that the ship was not in danger and that he was in complete control of the vessel. Greenwald asks if he told the other officers that he had intended to turn the ship north at 10 o'clock. With this question, Queeg reaches into his pocket and removes the steel balls. Greenwald then asks why he intended to change from the fleet's course at a prescribed time if the ship wasn't in any danger. Queeg comments that he doesn't see any inconsistency in this statement, stressing that the ship was steaming in a typhoon and that he maintained control of the vessel-even after Maryk relieved him. Greenwald notes that it must then follow that Maryk's decision to turn the ship to the north was not panicky, and Queeg exclaims that Maryk's only panicky decision was relieving him of command. Greenwald asks if Queeg has read Maryk's medical log, and Queeg replies that he has read it and that it is a collection of lies and fabrications. When Greenwald asks Queeg to offer his version of any erroneous episodes presented in Maryk's log, Queeg retells the strawberry incident. He mentions that he was betrayed by his officers and that the event was a conspiracy to protect the guilty man. At this point Queeg breaks down and begins recounting his version of various incidents that happened aboard the Caine. His comments become increasingly disjointed, and he incessantly rolls the steel balls as he speaks. The entire courtroom is taken aback by the change that has come over Queeg. In his final questions Greenwald asks Queeg about Maryk's positive fitness report, having Queeg read passages from the glowing report aloud. Challee has no further questions, and Queeg is dismissed.
Maryk notes that Queeg leaves the courtroom with a slumped posture and rolling the steel balls, an attitude he had seen so many times on the Caine.
37 The Verdict
Challee's closing argument is delivered with great passion. He asserts that the Defense never really presented a case but simply attacked Queeg. Challee admits that the Defense may have proven that Queeg was a poor commander, who suffered from bad judgment and poor administration; however, he also asserts that this didn't give Maryk the right to relieve him from command. Challee closes by noting that if Maryk is not found guilty, the case destroys the Navy's entire notion of chain of command. Maryk, he claims, is guilty based solely on the facts.
Greenwald's approach is more subdued. He opens by noting that he was reluctant to take the case in the first place because the only way to defend it was to attack the mental competence of a naval officer, the most unpleasant duty he has ever had to perform. He adds that he never intended to argue that Queeg was a coward, only that he was mentally ill. He also asserts that, as men of the sea, it is the court's duty, not the psychiatrists, to determine Queeg's capability at the time in question. After an hour's deliberation, the court acquits Maryk.
Following the trial, Keefer invites the men of the Caine to celebrate at a party he is hosting. It is a victory party as well as a celebration of Keefer's sale of his first novel. Greenwald is reluctant to attend but says that he will come after he chats with Challee. At the party the officers drink quite a bit and make fun of Queeg. Keefer provides plenty of champagne and a cake with his novel's title printed in yellow icing. Willie reflects that although he doubts Keefer was very manly during his testimony, he can never know for certain because Maryk never uttered an ill word about Keefer.
When Greenwald finally appears, he is visibly drunk. Keefer calls for a toast to Greenwald, the man who slayed the monster, Queeg. Greenwald doesn't want to offer a toast and notes that he has been drinking heavily with Challee, trying to make peace with him. Maryk comments that he's glad because Challee is a decent man. Greenwald admits that he had to use some "dirty" tactics to get the acquittal. Before he offers his toast, Greenwald inquires about the main character of Keefer's novel, suggesting that if he were writing a war novel, his main character would be Queeg. He then surprises all present by announcing that he feels sorry for Queeg because men like Queeg helped to defeat the Germans and to protect his relatives, his fellow Jews, from genocide. When Greenwald gets around to his toast, he announces that he can't stay for dinner because Maryk actually is guilty, and, unfortunately, Maryk hasn't been fully acquitted because as a result of the verdict there's no longer any possibility of Maryk pursuing a career in the Navy. Maryk's best option, Greenwald suggests, will be to return to work as a fisherman.
Greenwald then reveals that the true author of the mutiny was Keefer, but Keefer was too cowardly to admit in court that he too believed Queeg was mentally disturbed. Keefer attempts to interrupt Greenwald, but Greenwald asserts that the real winner of the ordeal is Keefer, who managed to ruin Queeg, remain untarnished by the trial, and sell his novel. He comments that Keefer will be "the next captain of the Caine." Greenwald also comments that he only defended Maryk because he realized the wrong man was on trial. He adds that he is sorry he had to destroy Queeg to defend Maryk because Queeg deserved better treatment for his efforts in helping to defend America. Greenwald concludes by throwing his yellow wine in Keefer's face. He tells Keefer that he will be waiting outside if Keefer wants to fight him. Keefer dismisses the speech as the act of a drunken man, asserting that Greenwald will probably apologize when he sobers up. Keefer then calls for dinner to be served. The festive atmosphere has changed, and after the guests eat, the party breaks up. Willie looks for Greenwald when he leaves the party, but Greenwald has already left.
The fact that most Navy lawyers don't want to take the Caine court-martial illustrates the unforgiving nature of the military. Greenwald's sense of Keefer's involvement in the mutiny reveals his intellect, and Maryk's refusal to implicate Keefer presents him as an extremely loyal man. Willie's continued intention to break off his relationship with May and his sense that his mother will be able to get him out of the court-martial are evidence that he is still rather immature, yet his observations about New York are evidence that he is somehow changing. May's strong desire and hard work to help support her family serves as a counterpoint to Willie's more self-centered approach to life. Willie's failure to be honest with May is further evidence of his lingering immaturity. Willie's return to see May and his reflection on her as his plane leaves New York suggests that he is about to change. Queeg's fit appearance at the trial is evidence that his true trouble is performing under stressful conditions. Queeg's insistence that Maryk and Willie were the true panicked individuals during the storm is further evidence of the way he distorts reality to suit his own needs. Keefer's failure to support Maryk's testimony reveals him as a coward. Following Challee's questioning, Willie's realization that he participated in the relief of Queeg mainly out of his dislike of Queeg is evidence of Willie's maturity. The psychiatrist's evaluation of Queeg demonstrates the difficulty of fully determining the "reality" of a situation. Queeg's poor performance on the witness stand offer undeniable proof that he is unstable under stressful situations. The court's rapid verdict illustrates that the seasoned regular officers also recognize Queeg's incompetence at the time in question. Keefer's cake symbolizes the saccharine, fictional view of life many Americans prefer. Greenwald's speech points out the clear division between the reservists and the regulars, as well as his respect of men like Queeg, who fought hard while men like Keefer, Willie, and Maryk were living their soft, college lives.