In the book "The Cay", what is Phillip's mom most worried about?

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dymatsuoka eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Phillip's mother is most worried about the danger to her family, and especially to Phillip, as a result of the war coming to the island of Curacao.

Phillip's mother is a very nervous woman.  Unlike Phillip's friend Henrik's mother, she is "always afraid (Phillip will) fall off the sea wall, or tumble out of a tree, or cut (him)self with a pocketknife".  Unhappy to be living in Curacao, which she often complains smells "of gas and oil whenever the trade winds (die) down", Phillip's mother is "homesick for Virginia, where no one talk(s) Dutch, and there (is) no smell of gas or oil, and there (aren't) as many black people around".  When German U-boats begin to appear near the island, she is terrified, and forbids her curious son from going down to the docks.  Even though her military husband assures her that they are safer on the island than they would be should they decide to undertake the journey back to the United States mainland, Phillip's mother wants desperately to go back to Virginia (Chapter 1).  When the tanker S.S. Empire Tern is torpedoed off the coast of Curacao, Phillip's mother, terrified for their safety, resolves to take Phillip and leave the island despite the dangers of traveling the open sea during that time.  At his wife's insistence, Phillip's father manages to secure passage for her and their son on the S.S. Hato, and Phillip and his mother get ready for their dangerous voyage (Chapter 2).