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Phillip's mother hailed from Virginia, still considered a part of the South and where slavery thrived less than a century before. She was homesick for her home state where "it was nice and safe" and "there weren't as many black people around."
"They are not the same as you, Phillip. They are different and they live differently. That's the way it must be." (Chapter Three)
It is clear that Grace Enright did not care for the black natives of Curacao and probably had little to do with African Americans in Virginia, and Phillip's own actions were shaped by his mother's beliefs. He considered Timothy inferior: Phillip addressed Timothy by his first name, even though
My father had always taught me to address anyone I took to be an adult as "mister," but Timothy didn't seem to be a mister. Besides, he was black. (Chapter Three)
Phillip did not agree with Timothy's decision to paddle the raft to the island, believing they would be rescued if they continued drifting. Phillip considered Timothy "ugly" and "stupid," but he soon began to depend upon the old sailor, and soon the boy's inherent bigotry began to subside.
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