In The Cay, Phillip felt dependent on Timothy at the same time he felt superior to him. What two events revealed Phillip's conflicting feelings?

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I would support the argument that there are more than only two occasions when Phillip realizes that he needs Timothy, yet he still feels superior to Timothy. One early example occurs when the two characters are still on the raft after their ship was torpedoed. Phillip and Timothy are completely...

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I would support the argument that there are more than only two occasions when Phillip realizes that he needs Timothy, yet he still feels superior to Timothy. One early example occurs when the two characters are still on the raft after their ship was torpedoed. Phillip and Timothy are completely exposed to the tortuous sun, and it is Timothy that quickly and powerfully rigs up a crude shelter on the raft in order to protect Phillip from the burning sun. Phillip quickly falls asleep in the cooler air. When he wakes up, Phillip asks for Timothy's name. We read that Phillip has always been taught to use the title "Mr." with an adult; however, Phillip doesn't think that he has to do that with Timothy because Timothy is black.

Chapter 9 provides readers with another good example. Phillip knows that having sleeping mats will be an improvement to their shelter and allow them better sleep. That is key for survival. Unfortunately, Phillip believes that Timothy needs to make the mats, and Phillip angrily calls Timothy an ugly, stupid black man when Timothy further encourages Phillip to make the mats. Timothy slaps Phillip, and the moment is a turning point in their relationship.

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Since the S.S. Hato was torpedoed, Phillip has lost his eyesight and his mother. He now finds himself stranded on an island with a man he barely knows and essentially no survival skills.

As a result, he feels dependent on Timothy. When Timothy leaves Phillip to explore the island, Phillip feels alone and frightened. He begins to worry that Timothy has fallen and is hurt. He worries that Timothy won't return and he will have to fend for himself. When Stew Cat brushes against Phillip's arm, Phillip screams in terror.

When Timothy returns, Phillip yells

"Never leave me again. Don't you ever leave me again!"

This shows his dependence on Timothy for survival.

However, Phillip also feels superior to Timothy. For example, when they are constructing the word "help" on the beach out of stones, Phillip learns that Timothy cannot spell.

"I felt good. I knew how to do something that Timothy couldn't do. He couldn't spell. I felt superior to Timothy that day, but I let him play his little game, pretending not to know that he really couldn't spell."

 

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