Departmental Bulletin Paper Herman Melville’s Omoo: The Unconvincing Mission

ARNOLD, Wayne E.

(144)  , pp.1 - 25 , 2017-01 , 北九州市立大学外国語学部
Omoo is a disjointed narrative that jumps from one scene to another in an attempt to expand on various aspects of the current Tahitian culture. In Omoo, Melville uses an unnamed narrator whose adventures are not as detailed as Tommo’s are in Typee; the narrator digresses from a straightforward narrative in order to devote significant time to critiquing the supposed advancements brought about by the missionaries and colonizers. Looking at the current religious and societal position of the Tahitians, the narrator asserts that the natives are in worse condition then when they were considered “savages.” The listlessness the narrator sees in the Tahitians drives him to make his strongest argument against the work of the missionaries. Since the efforts to civilize the natives through industry have hopelessly failed, the narrator comes to the conclusion that if true Christian faith existed in them, advancements in their culture should have succeeded.

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