Please wait while we process your payment
If you don't see it, please check your spam folder. Sometimes it can end up there.
Don’t have an account?
Create Your Account
Sign up for your FREE 7-day trial
Already have an account? Log in
Choose Your Plan
$4.99/month + tax
$24.99/year + tax
Save over 50% with a SparkNotes PLUS Annual Plan!
for a group?
Get Annual Plans at a discount when you buy 2 or more!
$18.74 /subscription + tax
Subtotal $37.48 + tax
on 2-49 accounts
on 50-99 accounts
Want 100 or more?
for a customized plan.
You'll be billed after your free trial ends.
7-Day Free Trial
Renews October 11, 2023
October 4, 2023
Discounts (applied to next billing)
This is not a valid promo code.
(one code per order)
Annual Plan - Group Discount
SparkNotes Plus subscription is $4.99/month or $24.99/year as selected above. The free trial period is the first 7 days of your subscription. TO CANCEL YOUR SUBSCRIPTION AND AVOID BEING CHARGED, YOU MUST CANCEL BEFORE THE END OF THE FREE TRIAL PERIOD. You may cancel your subscription on your Subscription and Billing page or contact Customer Support at email@example.com. Your subscription will continue automatically once the free trial period is over. Free trial is available to new customers only.
For the next 7 days, you'll have access to awesome PLUS stuff like AP English test prep, No Fear Shakespeare translations and audio, a note-taking tool, personalized dashboard, & much more!
You’ve successfully purchased a group discount. Your group members can use the joining link below to redeem their group membership. You'll also receive an email with the link.
Members will be prompted to log in or create an account to redeem their group membership.
Thanks for creating a SparkNotes account! Continue to start your free trial.
Your PLUS subscription has expired
Motifs are recurring structures, contrasts, and literary devices that can help to develop and inform the text’s major themes.
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 Typees 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.
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 Typees are cannibals. Even though they also serve the story thematically, the constant references to cannibalism serve primarily as a device of suspense and plot used to drive the action in the novel.
Sexuality is a subtle motif in the text, but one that plays an important role in the development of Tommo's identity. Initially, Tommo appears to be an asexual creature. When the Dolly arrives in Nukuheva, the crew and the native women join in a scene of wild debauchery, of which Tommo does not appear to be a part. On the ship, sexuality appears foul and licentious. As Tommo enters and becomes a part of the valley though, he is more able to embrace sexuality with a certain innocence. He falls in love with Fayaway. Sexuality and nudity become innocent and pure, as opposed to how they are normally seen in the European/American world. Essentially, the Typee valley represents sex before man's fall from grace. It is still innocent and fresh, with no sinful connotations.
Ace your assignments with our guide to Typee!