Characters

Toby

Characters Toby

Toby is a young quiet man who agrees to accompany the narrator on his adventure. Little is known about him. We are never told what Toby actually thinks. Furthermore, although Toby accompanies the narrator for most of the tale, he rarely speaks. The narrator says that Toby is quiet, that he occasionally smiles, and that he never discusses his history. Most critics see Toby as a two- dimensional character whose sole purpose is to provide a contrast to Tommo. As they adventure together, Toby generally perceives things in an opposite manner from Tommo. When Toby believes that the natives are Happars, Tommo senses that they are Typees. Even though Toby is constantly skeptical, Tommo begins to enjoy himself. Although Toby seems like a perfectly nice person, the limited development of his character makes it difficult to say that we truly know him. He, like many of the other figures, seems to play a primarily symbolic role. He represents the European ideology that Tommo is willing to give up once in the Typee valley. Although Tommo becomes open-minded, Toby does not. Toby remains skeptical as most Americans would be. Toby never opens himself to appreciate the civility of the native life.