Why didn't Tom teach the people of Typee how to sew?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

Reading between the lines, we an gather that Tom appreciated the way in which having skills that the people of Typee lacked made him more valuable. It's likely that part of the reason he valued having such skills is because of his fear of the possibility that he was being kept to be eaten. By not sharing skills such as sewing, he was able to maintain a scenario in which killing him would lead to the people of Typee losing the ability to have materials around their village sewed up. There of course could be other motivations involved, but this seems like an obvious and strong motivator as it both directly mitigates Tom's major fear and generally increases his social value.

Last Reviewed by eNotes Editorial on October 31, 2019
Soaring plane image

We’ll help your grades soar

Start your 48-hour free trial and unlock all the summaries, Q&A, and analyses you need to get better grades now.

  • 30,000+ book summaries
  • 20% study tools discount
  • Ad-free content
  • PDF downloads
  • 300,000+ answers
  • 5-star customer support
Start your 48-Hour Free Trial