Main Ideas

Motifs

Main Ideas Motifs

Tommo's Leg Injury

Tommo's leg injury is a major motif in Typee that reappears whenever he feels anxious and worried. The injury appears from unknown causes after Tommo's first night on the island. Initially, the injury reflects Tommo's fear about whether the Typ

ees are cannibals who may want to kill and eat him. His fear is so crippling that it reduces him to a childlike state. It is only after Tommo receives the constant care taking of Kory-Kory that he realizes that the natives mean him well and his leg be

gins to heal. While Tommo remains happy amongst the Typees, his leg is not a problem. Towards the end of the book, however, the injury reappears in response to Tommo's fear about the Typees wanting to tattoo him, and also because he finds that they are ca

nnibals. The leg injury is a symbolic ailment that always serves more as an indicator of what is happening in Tommo's mind.

Cannibalism

The question of whether or not the Typees are cannibals is a major motif in the text. The issue of cannibalism is raised even before the Dolly reaches the Marquesas. At that time, Tommo thinks that it sounds exotic. As the two men descend into the

valley, they worry constantly about the possibility of being eaten. Even after they reach the Typees, the question of whether or not the natives are cannibals shall continue to create suspense within the narrative. Ultimately, we shall learn that yes, the