Tom Herman Melville), an American sailor on the whaler Dolly who, with his friend Toby, jumps ship at Nukuheva and immediately contracts a disease that makes his leg swell and become very painful. When their food runs out, they give themselves up to the Typee tribe of natives on the island. They are treated kindly, and Tom is given a native servant to take care of him. Toby leaves to seek medical aid and never returns, leaving Tom alone with the natives, who, the friends had discovered, are cannibals. Tom is allowed a fair amount of freedom but is always attended by Kory-Kory, his servant, and Fayaway, a beautiful native girl. Tom finally is allowed to go down to the beach to see a boat from an Australian vessel. Although the natives watch him carefully, he manages to break away from his guards and is taken on board by the Australians.
Toby, Tom’s friend, who leaves the whaler with him and shares his adventures on the island until he goes to find medical help for Tom and is tricked into boarding a vessel that leaves the island the next day. Years later, he meets Tom and is happy to learn that his friend escaped and is well.
Kory-Kory, Tom’s faithful native servant, who is always by his side. Tom very much regrets having to leave him behind when he escapes.
Fayaway, the native girl who is Tom’s constant companion while he is among the Typees.
Marnoo, a native taboo man who is free to move among all the tribes on the island without danger. Tom asks Marnoo to help him escape, but Marnoo cannot do so without arousing the natives’ anger. He does, however, tell the captain of the Australian vessel of Tom’s situation.
Mehevi, the Typees’ chief, a stereotypical relaxed Polynesian.