Typee | Study Guide

Herman Melville

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Course Hero. "Typee Study Guide." Course Hero. 2 Apr. 2018. Web. 15 Nov. 2018. <https://www.coursehero.com/lit/Typee/>.

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Course Hero. (2018, April 2). Typee Study Guide. In Course Hero. Retrieved November 15, 2018, from https://www.coursehero.com/lit/Typee/

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(Course Hero, 2018)



Course Hero. "Typee Study Guide." April 2, 2018. Accessed November 15, 2018. https://www.coursehero.com/lit/Typee/.


Course Hero, "Typee Study Guide," April 2, 2018, accessed November 15, 2018, https://www.coursehero.com/lit/Typee/.

Typee | Character Analysis



Tommo narrates his adventures living with the Typee tribe in the Marquesas Islands. Since the book is told from his point of view, the only window into his character is through his own thoughts and actions. He seems a little naive at the start of the story, and doesn't prepare at all (he doesn't even think to bring food) for his escape into the jungles of the island. He learns as the story progresses, and reveals an observant, tolerant personality. Throughout the story, his character oscillates between accepting his fate and enjoying his time among the islanders, and becoming despondent and depressed at his captivity. Ultimately, he is a combination of realist and idealist. He understands what a negative impact foreign influence is having on indigenous cultures while still idealizing the cultures themselves.


Toby is initially described by the narrator as a small, nimble young man who is reserved and somewhat more refined than the other sailors. He reveals nothing about his past and rarely laughs or shows any strong emotion. Besides this initial character description, Toby's character is largely undeveloped and is used primarily as a foil to the protagonist. Toby's personality changes to accommodate the narrator and the situation—if the narrator wants to do one thing, Toby wants to do another, and so on. This leads to some inconsistency in Toby's character, though he is steadily loyal to Tommo.


Mehevi is a respected chief in the tribe, and it is he that welcomes Tommo and Toby into the village. This indicates a certain level of benevolence and curiosity, and he remains very tolerant of the two outsiders and their strange ways. While his motives in keeping Tommo around are never clear, he seems to have good intentions toward him, and certainly goes out of his way to entertain and include Tommo. His character is not developed much further outside of these interactions.


Fayaway is described as physically being very beautiful, with minimal tattooing, blue eyes, long dark hair, and olive skin. Her personality is not extensively developed, and seems to exist as an archetype for the beautiful and innocent local girl that the outsider falls in love with. She is very accommodating to Tommo, who thinks himself in love with her, and her own feelings seem clear when she clings to him and cries as he leaves. Otherwise, she has the standard characteristics of an ideal woman of the Victorian era: she is beautiful, innocent, kind, and obedient.


Kory-Kory is an islander who is assigned to take care of and attend Tommo. He takes on this duty with good humor and seems to enjoy squiring Tommo about. He is heavily tattooed and described by the narrator as being extremely ugly but good-natured. He never becomes angry, but likes to make others laugh and is not embarrassed to make a fool of himself to do so.

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