Symbols are objects, characters, figures, and colors used to represent abstract ideas or concepts.


Although a character, Fayaway is a largely symbolic one. She represents the ultimate state of beauty and innocence that can be found in the Typee valley. In a landscape that is akin to Eden, Fayaway appears to be "Eve." Her purity suggests the condition of man before his fall from innocence. Although a sexual being, Fayaway has no sin and remains permanently innocent and fresh.


With a tattoo on his face or even on his arm, Tommo would be marked for life as someone who is different and possibly even part "savage." Tommo is unwilling to become so marked, which is why he remains adamantly opposed to the idea. The Typees want Tommo to join the culture, but instead he chooses to flee. The threat of being tattooed is one of the major reasons for why he feels compelled to go.

The Ravine

The steep ravine that Toby and Tommo descend suggests a return from the outside world to a mother's womb. By the time that the two men move successfully to the bottom of the ravine, they are in the heart of the valley. Since the valley represents paradise, they essentially are in the womb of all humanity—the landscape from whence all humans once came. Tommo and Toby are attempting to go backwards in history, to step back towards the humans that existed in the Garden of Eden. The steep and da ngerous climb over the ravine is the first major exercise in heading backwards towards an existence far from the civilization that they now rely on. It will be a worthwhile trip however. In making it, they are stepping back towards innocence and towards t he idea of truth.