Literature Study GuidesTypeeChapters 33 34 Summary

Typee | Study Guide

Herman Melville

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Typee | Chapters 33–34 | Summary



Chapter 33

Marnoo visits the village again. He won't directly help the narrator, but he suggests that Tommo sneak out in the night and come to Marnoo's village, where he will help him get a boat to Nukuheva bay. The narrator tries several times to escape during the night, but each time, the people around him wake up, thwarting his attempt. He notes that Marheyo watches him and seems to have sympathy for him: "he would raise his hand with a gesture expressive of deep commiseration."

Chapter 34

One of the tribal leaders arrives at the doorway of Marheyo's hut and informs them that Toby has arrived. Everyone leaps up in excitement, and Kory-Kory carries the narrator to the Ti. Upon arrival, Tommo begs Mehevi to allow him to go to the sea to meet Toby. Mehevi reluctantly agrees. Part of the way there, they run into another party of Typee, who tell them that Toby has not come after all. Against his will, the narrator is returned to the hut, where everyone gathers and begins arguing. The narrator insists on going to the beach anyway, and though many of the islanders oppose it, Marheyo and Kory-Kory come to his rescue and offer to help him to the beach.

When they arrive at the beach, a man named Karakoee is there trying to buy Tommo's freedom from the islanders with a musket and various other items of value. The islanders argue on the beach, and Marheyo and Kory-Kory let Tommo jump into the boat. The small group tries to escape, but the islanders go around the bay to cut them off. The islanders swim toward the boat, but Tommo and the others in the boat manage to fend them off and escape.

Marnoo had previously told Karakoee, who was working for an Australian ship that desperately needed more men, about Tommo. Karakoee asked the Australian captain about taking some men and trying to bargain for the American sailor. Tommo is taken aboard the Julia, where he spends three months recovering from his illness.


Chapter 33 quickly sets up the narrator's possibility for escape. Although the narrator has rarely mentioned his escape for the last third or so of the book, suddenly, it is imminent. This shift distorts the pacing of the story, as the first third of the book chronicles the narrator and Toby's adventures, while the rest focuses mostly on anthropological observations. Then, suddenly, the final two chapters bring the earlier story to a quick climax and conclusion.

The climax and falling action of the story take place in Chapter 34, the final chapter of the book. In this chapter, the narrator is presented with an opportunity to escape that does not require him to sneak out in the middle of the night and travel alone. It is really only due to the sympathy of a few of the islanders, who seem to feel for his situation, that Tommo is able to escape. Marheyo and his son Kory-Kory, as well as Fayaway, all seem to sympathize with Tommo. They are able to help him to the beach and then buy him the time he needs to escape into the boat. The reader can only speculate about what happens to these characters after Tommo leaves, especially since it has been mentioned that inter-tribal conflict is very rare and there aren't any apparent methods for dealing with such disputes. Marnoo as well, though he owes nothing to Tommo, is instrumental in helping him escape by telling Karakoee about Tommo's situation. In the end, Tommo owes his escape almost entirely to islanders who seem to feel empathy for him.

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