Omoo: A Narrative of Adventures in the South Seas


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Learn More in these related Britannica articles: Moorea is now a favoured tourist location. Area 51 square miles square km. Herman Melville, American novelist, short-story writer, and poet, best known for his novels of the sea, including his masterpiece, Moby Dick He was the third child of…. Wanderings and voyages Moorea In Moorea.

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Omoo: A Narrative of Adventures in the South Seas

You may find it helpful to search within the site to see how similar or related subjects are covered. Any text you add should be original, not copied from other sources. Another retelling of The Mutiny on the Bounty? No, it is Omoo, Melville's sequel to his popular first book, Typee. It begins with the narrator being rescued from the the vale of the Typees in the Marquesas and leads to an extended journey to Tahiti.

Omoo: A Narrative of Adventures in the South Seas by Herman Melville

Soon, the comparisons between the "noble sa An unpopular, conniving sea captain on a long voyage to the South Seas. Soon, the comparisons between the "noble savages" of Nukuheva and the Christianized inhabitants of Tahiti breaks down, all in the favor of the Typees, in retrospect. For the impact of Europeans on the Tahitians has left them childlike, lazy, without virtue, and worst of all without a meaning for life or their traditions. Omoo is an indictment of Europeans and European ways.

This becomes all the more apparent with the descriptions of the Europeans themselves. Although never directly stated, Melville leaves an image in mind of smelly, unwashed, dirty, sweaty, scraggly whiskered drunkards with broken teeth and malodorous breath whose behavior is rude, violent, and impulsive. One of the greatest offenders is the narrator's friend, Doctor Long Ghost, who attempts to bespoil young girls and maidens, avoids work, feigns sickness, and puts on airs of superiority. Additionally, it is made known that European contact has not only spiritually but physically marred the Tahitians, with the effects of small pox, syphilis, and the measles wreaking havoc throughout the islands.

Like Typee, this is a fictionalized account of Melville's own experiences in the South Seas. But it lacks the strong central storyline of the earlier novel. Here, the adventure is not so grand, and the suspense is left mainly for the "trial" of the mutineers. The story becomes a series of vignettes linked by the travels of the two companions, the narrator and Doctor Long Ghost. And wherever they go, the picture of exploitation, disease, and nature under assault follows. In the end, the romance decays into an image of Polynesian life dissipating into eventual death.

It is a dismal picture. Dec 29, Chip Hunter rated it liked it. Picking up where Typee left off, with the narrator taking leave of the Marquesas and joining the crew of a whaling ship called the Julia, the pseudo-autobiography Omoo continues the adventures of Tomas although his name is never used in this book as he seeks a way home. The story told in Omoo is rather less exciting than that in Typee, with nary a life-threatening experience and a general sense of calm unconcern emanating from the narrator.

Things happen here, including a mutiny on the Julia, Picking up where Typee left off, with the narrator taking leave of the Marquesas and joining the crew of a whaling ship called the Julia, the pseudo-autobiography Omoo continues the adventures of Tomas although his name is never used in this book as he seeks a way home. Things happen here, including a mutiny on the Julia, prison lock-ups, hunting adventures, and rogue-ish behaviour by drunken sailors, but this book lacks the intensity of its predecessor. No romance and no tribal battles, this is more of a 's travel guide to Tahiti mixed with an exposition on the degradation of tribal life by the corrupting influence of the civilized world.

Not to say that this novel isn't enjoyable! The wit and humor of Melville is on full display here, as his dry - almost sarcastic - way of describing events and people keeps the reader entertained throughout this short book. Melville's personal experience with Tahiti is obvious, and his love for the island and for the island life comes through clearly here. While not one I would recommend for its own sake, this is a worthy read for those interested in experiencing some early Melville or those just looking for a light and entertaining distraction for a boring afternoon.

Jul 21, Tyler Jones rated it really liked it Shelves: The book starts where Typee ended; our hero recently living among the so-called barbarous peoples of the Marquesas, finds himself aboard the most dysfunctional ship you have ever read about, with an ineffectual captain and a crew of reprobates ready to mutiny at the drop of a hat. Great characters, fast pacing and a wonderfully humorous tone. Midway through, the ship is left behind as the narrator takes to the islands of Tahiti.

While this is still interesting, it lacks the propulsive, joyous fe The book starts where Typee ended; our hero recently living among the so-called barbarous peoples of the Marquesas, finds himself aboard the most dysfunctional ship you have ever read about, with an ineffectual captain and a crew of reprobates ready to mutiny at the drop of a hat. While this is still interesting, it lacks the propulsive, joyous feel of the first half. Still, a highly enjoyable read. Melville also makes many interesting observations about the introduction of European culture into the South Pacific which, in short, he sees as a disaster for the native population.

Quite an advanced view for a writer in Aug 17, David Campbell rated it liked it. Story picks up as the yet unnamed male lead a quasi-autobiographical Melville departs life among the natives on the Marquesas Islands aboard a whaling ship bound miles south by southwest for Tahiti. Jul 28, The Fat rated it it was ok.

This is honestly a pretty well written book, but I think travel literature just isn't for me. Reading this in page bursts is fine, but it just did not sustain my interest for anything more than that. If you're really into descriptions of Tahiti circa this is the novel for you, if not, I recommend reading Melville's other works before this. Sep 13, Mary Kelly rated it really liked it. Lively characters with human frailty and a good sense of humor. Mar 12, Oliver St john rated it really liked it. Mar 02, Mike rated it really liked it.

It picks up where his last left off: Although thankful to be rescued, the hero must contend with meager rations, an unhappy crew, a weak captain and his vindictive officers, and a dismal ship environment overrun with vermin. However dire the circumstances, the narrative remains aloof to despair, 'True' story of South Sea adventures told by a guy from New York. However dire the circumstances, the narrative remains aloof to despair, and instead abides in a nearly childlike innocence. Physical hardship; mutiny; imprisonment; vagabond wanderings in a land conquered, among people decimated and denatured by missionaries and sailors—none of these diminish the playfulness of the prose.

Melville was most certainly a melancholy fellow; near his life's end he was a failure and his family would approximate that he was insane. Perhaps he sqandered the share of necessary self-delusion that we are each given in order dull the atrocity of being alive and helpless to die—like pisco rationed to the desperate sailor—to rather make his temporal absolution outlast his body, to live on in words. I found this sequel more accomplished than its predecessor.

With an assured hand Melville was more often able to touch things at their center—they depend from his prose with a latent uncertainty. However, no bouleversement is wreaked upon that which has been so carefully understood, nothing crashes through the mask, and the doll remains a toy. Apr 06, Brian rated it it was ok Shelves: The plot summary is far more enticing than the details of the book: After their eventual release, the two embark on a series of adventures as they work at odd jobs, view traditional rites and customs on the island, and contrive an audience with the Tahitian queen," Goodreads.

Melville is certainly not short on detail when it comes to describing these events, as well as The plot summary is far more enticing than the details of the book: Melville is certainly not short on detail when it comes to describing these events, as well as the picturesque scenery of Tahiti, but it merits more yawns than exclamation points. Some of the description is downright beautiful; much of it drags on. The story is meant to be a sequel to "Typee", but it lacks the suspense and sense of awe that carry that novel. Rescuing the book somewhat is a younger Melville musing on the ethics of missionary work performed by civilized countries on primitive ones; the results range from death of the native population by diseases from the foreigners, quick conversion then "back-sliding" as the missionaries leave, falling away of missionaries to the pagan ways of the natives, destruction of culture, acceptance of Christian faith but not practice of it, etc.

Sadly, this philosophical musing was approximately pages amidst a page ocean of description. Forego this one in favor of "Typee" to get a taste of Melville's early adventure novels. Oct 12, Andrew rated it liked it. The conventional wisdom is correct: Typee is a much more enjoyable read. Omoo meanders and drags, and never quite finds its center the way its predecessor did.

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The earlier part of the book is best, when we meet the painfully and hilariously dysfunctional crew of the Julia. For a while there's some high quality tragicomedy and intrigue, but the narrative loses steam right when the crew goes ashore to Tahiti. After that, the rest of the book becomes one long slog of wandering here and there on the The conventional wisdom is correct: After that, the rest of the book becomes one long slog of wandering here and there on the islands of Tahiti and Imeeo.

Melville meets lots of interesting people, but he always leaves them far too fast. The sustained magic of the Typee valley is much missed. Despite this, the book still earned the third star that Typee failed to nab. This because the problems I highlighted in my review of Typee are largely remedied in Omoo.

This book steers clear of any uncomfortable scenes of sexual violence like those in the first two chapters of Typee. And while Melville still criticizes missionaries, he does so in a fair and reasoned manner, and leaves behind the the deranged hyperbole found throughout Typee. Literary success soon faded; his complexity increasingly alienated readers. After a visit to the Holy Land in January , he turned from writing prose fiction to poetry. In , during the Civil War, he moved back to New York City, where from he was a deputy inspector in the Custom House, and where, in , he died.

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Omoo: A Narrative of Adventures in the South Seas is the second book by American writer Herman Melville, first published in London in , and a sequel to. Melville's continuing adventures in the South Seas. Following the commercial and critical success of Typee, Herman Melville continued his series of South Sea .

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See all 9 reviews. For the impact of Europeans on the Tahitians has left them childlike, lazy, without virtue, and worst of all without a meaning for life or their traditions. Omoo continues Melville's semi-autobiographical adventures from Typee. An easy enjoyable read of South Sea adventures with some serious social commentary also. There's a problem loading this menu right now. After that, the rest of the book becomes one long slog of wandering here and there on the The conventional wisdom is correct: The book consists of 82 chapters, none more than 5 pages in length, which makes it easy to pick up and put down at leisure without losing the thread of the narrative.

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Like everyone, I was familiar with Melville's 'Moby Dick', but only recently chanced upon a reference to 'Omoo' in Alan Moorehead's fabulous 'The Fatal Impact', an account of European and American impact disastrous on the Pacific islanders and Australian aborigines starting in the s. I bought and just finished 'Omoo', which is a superbly written account of Melville's experiences around in Tahiti and other Polynesian islands, after deserting with half the other seamen from an English whaler.

The book consists of 82 chapters, none more than 5 pages in length, which makes it easy to pick up and put down at leisure without losing the thread of the narrative.