UNITED STATES MILITARY ACADEMY
LITERARY ANALYSIS: TYPEE “CH 31-34”
MAJ TONI SABO
CADET COREY LAUFASA ’12, CO E3
WEST POINT, NEW YORK
5 MAR 2009
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Every story must end and Melville’s Typee is no different. Melville has spent the last couple of chapters slowing down the pace of his text by utilizing his astonishing skills of description. His chapters spent intricately describing the Typee lifestyle exhibited his comfort level with living among the islanders. His stay in “paradise” had to come to an end and with it his security in the people around him. Melville used the last chapters before his escape to distinguish certain aspects of his adventure that symbolized the growing separation he felt from the islanders. The catalyst for his change of heart was the tattooing process the people were trying to force upon his character. This event symbolized his true emotions; he did not want to mark himself permanently, which symbolized his resentment in being a permanent part of the Typee culture. He had to escape.
Melville uses his words as well as symbols in the story to signify the start of his severance from the culture he had been a part of for many months. The first sign he presents, obviously is the change in the pace of his story. He spent chapters twenty to thirty one describing different aspects of Typee lifestyle. This description contained a sort of slow, observational tone. Whereas, when the idea of tattooing was introduced, the story once again picked up and Melville shifted from his descriptive style to his more familiar narrative style. This signified that the time of dwelling in peace was over and it was time to move.
The idea of being tattooed repulsed Melville and this disgust was a...