What is the price of Tommo's escape from the Typee? Are the Typee cannibals, as Tommo thought?

The price of Tommo's escape from the Typee is a large roll of cotton-cloth, three canvas bags of powder, and a musket. These are the items that Karakoee has come to offer the Typee in return for setting Tommo free. He is making this offer at the behest of an Australian whaling captain. The Typee are indeed cannibals, as Tommo discovers when he sees part of a half-eaten body lying around.

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After initially enjoying the company of the Typee in their island paradise, Tommo’s now keen to get away, and as soon as possible. Not long after he fetched up on the island, Tommo formed the opinion that the Typee were decent, civilized human beings who have much to teach the White man. But over time, he’s come to realize that however civilized they may appear on the surface, the Typee are actually cannibals.

Tommo discovers this uncomfortable fact not long after the Typee hold a large feast, to which, tellingly, their guest is not invited. To his horror, Tommo finds a half-eaten body lying around. He quickly figures out that it belongs to a Happar, a member of a rival tribe to the Typee. Disgusted by what he sees, Tommo decides that it’s time to leave the island as soon as possible.

The arrival of Karakoee, a Nukuheva native, gives him his opportunity. Karakoee has been sent to the island by an Australian whaling captain in order to secure Tommo’s release. He brings with him some goods which he intends to trade for Tommo’s freedom. The items in question are a large roll of cotton-cloth, three bags of powder, and a musket. As it turns out, the items aren’t really needed, because Tommo, with Karakoee in tow, is able to make good his escape while the Typee are distracted.

Last Updated by eNotes Editorial on June 29, 2020
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