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MonkeyNotes-Typee by Herman Melville
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Chapter 3


After spending some days at the harbor of Nukuheva, the speaker
decides to remain on the islands and not leave with the ship.
Although he had signed some articles, which legally bound him
to the ship, he felt that he had enough reasons to break it. For one
thing, the other party hadnít kept its share of the contract. The
shipís climate had been tyrannical, the sick had been neglected,
and the provisions had been scantily doled out. Moreover, the
period specified on the contracts is always too long, generally
four or five years.

A detailed description of the preparations made for the
expeditions is related. The storing of provisions and water is
stated describing the storing of parts of animals in salt and water
in barrels.

A ship, which embarks on catching whales, generally never turns
back unsuccessfully. Even if they fall unlucky, they remain on
the sea interminably, bartering goods for fresh provisions.
Recalling such misadventures of various ships, the speaker
decides to stay on the shore and proceeds to inquire about the
island and its inhabitants.

Nukuheva is scenic in its beauty, but beyond it are some valleys,
which are inhabited by cannibalistic savages. These are the
dreaded Typees. The term itself signifies a lover of human flesh.
The speaker recollects a story of how an English vessel had
sought entry at the Bay of Nukuheva, but the crew had been
abducted by a group of natives and was murdered.


The speakerís reason for remaining on shore seems justified.
Lack of amenable conditions on the ship added to the
aimlessness of the voyage itself, is enough grounds for him to
leave the ship.

The Bay of Nukuheva has been described very picturesquely.
The "gently rolling hillsides" the deep and romantic "glens" and
the clear stream forming "a slender cascade" is poignant and
deeply stirring. Yet, against this verdant beauty the savagery of
the natives and their incessant warfare is juxtaposed.

The Typee tribe is introduced in this chapter, and their inherent
savagery combined with their cannibalistic tendencies has been
depicted. The speaker finds it faintly amusing to see the
Nukuheva tribes mean denouncing the Typees for their cannibal
propensities while they were as arrant cannibals as any other

The system prevailing of ships idling away just bartering goods
and not continuing its course of whale hunting is regretted. The
speaker thus has a right to be disgusted with his boat and for
making plans to leave it as soon as possible. The state of the ship
too, with its tyrannical captain, lack of provisions and unhealthy
neglect, spurs the speaker to quit it.

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