Study Guide

Typee Chapter 2

By Herman Melville

Chapter 2

  • Now that the ship is headed for land, Tommo feels happy and relieved. He lazes around with nothing much to do.
  • Tommo describes the beauty of the water and sea, and how the silence disappears as they advance closer to land and hear the call of birds.
  • As the Marquesas come into view, Tommo talks about their general layout and history, particularly about the island of Nukuheva and its bay, which is the ship's destination.
  • As the ship sails toward the bay, they learn that the French have taken possession of the islands and named them part of the nation. This information comes from a drunken sailor who comes up along the ship.
  • Next to visit the ship is a large posse of native islanders, at first all men, then giving way to a large contingent of young and beautiful women—whom Tommo admires, comparing them to mermaids.
  • As the ship comes closer to the beach, the women scale the sides of the ship and board. As night falls, they dance on its deck.