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Herman Melville

Chapters 19–24

Chapters 16–18

Chapters 19–24, page 2

page 1 of 3

Chapter 19

Mehevi and the other chiefs seem slightly angry at Tommo after Marnoo leaves. Even Kory-Kory appears to bear him a small grudge.

Tommo now has been in the valley for about two months and his leg feels so well that he moves around easily. One day he makes a small "pop-gun" out of bamboo for a six-year old boy, which shoots items out when one blows on it. The boy is fascinated. Soon after, groups of men and women appear and beg Tommo to make more. He does so, and they all run around like children playing with the guns. Their excitement continues for almost ten days.

Tommo stops wearing the shoes that he brought from the ship and he ties them in his bundle near the roof. One day Marheyo suggests interest in them and Tommo gives them to him. Marheyo starts wearing the shoes on a strap around his chest, as a bizarre necklace.

The Typees do not work very frequently, but one task with which most women assist is the making of the cloth, or "tappa." Tappa making involves boiling branches from trees and stretching fibers. The process is described in full.

Chapter 20

In order to best describe Typee life, the narrator profiles a typical day. Usually, they wake late, after the sun is up. Then they rise and bathe in a nearby refreshing stream. A light breakfast is enjoyed and then pipes are smoked. After breakfast, people tend to whatever they like. Tinor inspects her cloth and food supplies; Marheyo works on his hut; the girls adorn their hair and skin with oils. The narrator usually wanders with Kory-Kory or else sits inside. Then they enjoy a midday nap. Usually in the afternoon, the narrator goes to the Ti, where Mehevi and the other chiefs gather. Since women are not allowed in the Ti, it resembles a happy bachelor pad where the best food can be found and where the men sit around smoking and talking. After night falls, a light evening meal of "poee-poee," cooked breadfruit, is eaten. Native girls often dance around their huts under the moonlight. Everyone then sleeps. In general, life with the Typees resembles a continual gentle slumber, with activities in between.

Chapter 21

The valley also contains a medicinal spring far from any dwelling. It is called "Arva Wai" which means "strong waters." The narrator thinks that it tastes unpleasant, although Marheyo frequently drinks it. Near the spring stand large, finely constructed terraces of stone, apparently having once been arranged by the ancient island dwellers. The narrator feels certain that men have lived on the island for thousands of years and that they once arranged these stone terraces for the purposes of religion.

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