Study Questions and Suggested Essay Topics
Do you think that Typee is truly a novel? Would it be better categorized in some other genre?
Tommo often says that he fears the Typees because he thinks he may be killed and eaten? How realistic do you think that this fear is? Are there any other reasons for which Tommo wants to flee the valley?
Discuss the gender distinctions and boundaries in the Typee culture. Do you think that Typee women had more freedom than European women of the time? What do you think Melville thought.
Suggested Essay Topics
What conditions on the whaler Dolly led Tommo and Toby to flee the ship. Do you think that they were justified in doing so?
What is the importance of tattooing in the Typee society. Why does Tommo so fear being tattooed himself?
Discuss the Typee religion. Melville argues that it is unfair for Europeans to categorize it as less important than their religions? Do you agree?
Mehevi is portrayed both as a noble and yet threatening figure. Discuss his character. Should he be admired or feared? What do you think Melville thought?
Discuss the way that Tommo's opinion of the natives differs before and after he spends time with them. What do you think that he has learned from them?
Tommo feels deeply attracted to Fayaway and frequently discusses her in his tale. What do you think of the quality of their relationship? Do her feelings for Tommo equal his own?
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