Literature Study GuidesTypeeChapters 7 8 Summary

Typee | Study Guide

Herman Melville

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Typee | Chapters 7–8 | Summary



Chapter 7

The narrator and Toby quickly realize that food is not readily available in these surroundings. They compare supplies and find that neither has brought more than a soggy handful of bread, which they carefully divvy up into portions for the next few days. They wander the ridge and come to a footpath in the grass, which they follow. It leads to the edge of a ravine, where the two climb down. At the bottom, they find a turbulent stream. They drink water and make a shelter of sticks and grass, but spend the night freezing in the pouring rain. They eat their tiny meals the next morning and resume exploration. Wandering along the ridge, they are forced to take shelter from a rainstorm under some bushes. The narrator realizes that his leg has become injured from an insect or snakebite. Toby falls asleep as the narrator becomes feverish. After the storm he looks out and sees that they are directly above an inhabited valley.

Chapter 8

Toby is convinced the valley is inhabited by Happar, but the narrator fears they are Typee. The narrator convinces Toby to move on and look for an uninhabited valley where they can rest and find food. They climb up and down gorges as the narrator becomes increasingly feverish. Finally they make a shelter in one of the ravines for the night. In the morning, Toby is refreshed, but the narrator is still tired and ill. They decide that they can't keep climbing the cliffs and instead will follow the stream down the ravine into a valley.


The two adventurers realize quickly that they have made a mistake in not being more prepared for their escape. The narrator laments, "I bitterly repented our improvidence in not providing ourselves." The narrator displays more rationality and level-headedness when the pair finds the inhabited valley. Toby is excited and ready to go down to the village, but the narrator is afraid of the possibility that the inhabitants are the dangerous Typee. Toby seems to have lost rational thought in his hunger and desperation for comfort. He decides arbitrarily that the valley must be populated by Happars, and he is determined to greet them. The conflict between logic and desire or feeling seems to govern both men as they navigate their situation and make decisions.

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