Essay On Civilization And Identity In Herman Melville's Typee

901 Words4 Pages
Civilization and Identity in Herman Melville’s Typee ``How often is the term "savages" incorrectly applied! None really deserving of it were ever yet discovered by voyagers or by travelers. They have discovered heathens and barbarians, whom by horrible cruelties they have exasperated into savages.`` (Typee 27) When thinking about the term civilization, most people do not seem to have difficulties in defining the meaning of this word, which initially appears to be quiet simple. According to the Oxford dictionaries civilization is `` the stage of human social development and organization which is considered the most advanced.`` (Oxford Dictionaries) But when thinking about how this term was used in history the definition of the term civilization is not as clear as it seemed before. In ``The Discourse of Civilization and Decolonization`` the author Prasenjit Duara claims that the…show more content…
A few days after their successful escape Tommo and Toby spot a beautiful valley which is inhabited by a native tribe, who Tommo denotes as Typee. They offer them a place to stay. When time passes, Tommo feels deeply connected to the Typee’s lifestyle and their practices, which gets a large dedicated section in the book. Even though, Tommo is still unsure about the Typee’s intention towards him as Toby vanished one day and never returned, which makes him believe that Toby was eaten by the Typee. Hen then plots his escape and return to a ship and leave Nukuheva. Typee was the first book by Herman Melville to be published. In his narrative Melville processes some parts of his own experience he has made during his one-month travel to the Marquesan islands in 1842. In this paper I am going to argue that Herman Melville’s Typee reshapes the idea of civilization by encountering the Typee in order to challenge the protagonist’s own American cultural identity, for which I will also include the theoretical works of Mita Banerjee’s Ethnic
Open Document