Study Guide

The Caine Mutiny Criticism

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Despite his status as a Pulitzer Prize winner and best-selling author, most literary critics do not like the work of Herman Wouk. As an anonymous reviewer in Time noted, Wouk "spearheads a mutiny against the literary stereotypes of rebellion- against three decades of U.S. fiction dominated by skeptical criticism, sexual emancipation, social protest, and psychoanalytic sermonizing." The Wouk hero is not the outlaw gunslinger of the dime-store novel, the migrant worker of Steinbeck, or the bongo-thumping poets of the gathering Beat Generation. Moreover, Wouk intentionally refuses to give in to pop-psychology, Freudianism, or the fascination with sociopaths. Instead he prefers to tell realistic tales in which the hero is a true patriot upholding American ideals. Such a story was considered anachronistic and derivative at the time.

Frederic I. Carpenter, in "Herman Wouk and the Wisdom of Disillusion," was very specific in his disfavor. Wouk, while engaging, is...

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This section contains 852 words
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The Caine Mutiny from Novels for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.