Study Guide

Typee Chapter 25

By Herman Melville

Chapter 25

  • Having been able to observe the Typee people as a whole for the first time at the festival, Tommo comes to a few conclusions, particularly that pretty much everyone seems to be beautiful and able-bodied. Even the aged have good teeth!
  • Where Nukuheva men were bad-looking, and the women good, Tommo believes that the "uncontaminated" (25.7) Typee are wholly attractive, no matter the gender.
  • Tommo talks about the various tones of complexion in the native people, as well as the "papa" root some females use to lighten their skin.
  • He notes that explorers before him, since the sixteenth century, have written about the peoples' rare beauty.
  • There are few European items in the valley, limited to things like the cotton Tommo himself brought and an old British musket in disrepair.
  • As far as he can tell, Tommo says, everyone in the valley seems fairly laid-back most of the time, with those in power mixing with those not, and markers of power or class rarely visible at all.
  • The one exception to this is Mehevi, and Tommo is grateful to this royal chief's good graces.