Permalink for this paragraph 0 On my last blog I talked about homoerotic tension in Melville’s novella Typee. One of my colleagues, Ms. Scott, identified the concept I was describing but could not name (Sedgwickian Triangle) and applied it to a well-known contemporary novel (and film) series: Twilight. At first, I chuckled. Even though her literary connection to this homoerotic theory is accurate, the crassness of Twilight makes me laugh (I apologize to fans of the series, but that was as nicely as I could put it.) The more I thought about it though, the more connections I made between Stephenie Meyer’s series to Melville’s classic Typee.
Permalink for this paragraph 0 This is a bit of a stretch, but I think it is all in good fun…
Permalink for this paragraph 0 First of all, the original homoerotic tension in Typee may be absent for now since Toby is Missing In Action, but there is definitely some chemistry (if you will) between Tom and Kory-Kory; this Typee follows our narrator around and possesses him like a jealous lover. We still do not know how the relationship between Fayaway and Tom will develop, but it is still early in the novella. Since Toby is out of the picture, I would argue that the homoerotic tension is about to explode from Kory-Kory and Tom’s interactions. The narrator’s thorough description of Kory-Kory lighting a fire seemed extremely masturbatory:
Permalink for this paragraph 2 At first Kory-Kory goes to work quite leisurely, but gradually quickens his pace, and waxing warm in the employment, drives the stick furiously along the smoking channel, plying his hands to and fro with amazing rapidity, the perspiration starting from every pore. As he approaches the CLIMAX of his effort, he pants and gasps for breath, and his eyes almost start from their sockets with the violence of his exertions… The next moment a delicate wreath of smoke curls spirally into the air, the heap of dusty particles glows with fire and Kory-Kory, almost breathless, dismounts from his steed (Melville 143-144).
Permalink for this paragraph 2 To complete the Sedgwickian Triangle I think Fayaway might get in the way of this romance between Kory-Kory and Tom. This is my new prediction unless Toby returns, and if that happens I think he will play the role of a woman in this triangle. These thoughts are slightly jumbled, but I find that comes with analyzing the sexuality within a Melville piece of literature. Connecting this all to Twilight seems redundant but necessary: the infamous love triangle between Edward Cullen, Bella Swan and Jacob Black have roused fans to “pick a side”, but little do many know, the t-shirts really ought to compete between “Team Bella” and “Team Jacob”.
Permalink for this paragraph 4 Another connection from Twilight to Typee: Bella Swan moves to the unfamiliar, rainy Washington state to live with her father and she encounters superhuman beings. Tom and Toby abandon ship in a territory unknown to themselves and encounter a supposedly inhumane society. More importantly, the Happars and the Typee are at war, much like the vampires and werewolves in Twilight. Once more, (normal) vampires suck the blood of human beings for nourishment; sounds a lot like the “cannibals” of Typee to me. Even further than that: had the Cullen family been ordinary vampires, Bella Swan would have had the life sucked out of her (alas!) This sounds very familiar to the current predicament in Typee: if the Typees actually were regular cannibals, Tom would have been eaten pages ago.
Permalink for this paragraph 2 I am shocked to say it, but the popular work of Stephenie Meyer follows many forms of Melville’s classic, Typee. I only did a brief overview: the narrating styles of Bella Swan and Tom are likely to overlap and I am certain we could draw other parallels if we reached far enough. I would like to thank Severina Scott for inadvertently prompting this blog—it was a lot of fun to write. I am anxious to see where the next reading of Typee will take us.