Timothy and Phillip become the shipwrecked odd couple of Theodore Taylor's novel, The Cay, when they climb aboard a raft and eventually make land after several days adrift. Because Phillip is not used to being around black people, he does not think highly of Timothy at first.
I saw a huge, very old Negro sitting on the raft near me. He was ugly.
Phillip does not like Timothy's smell--it does not remind him of his mother. He does not trust Timothy's decision to sail for land, although it is probably the right move considering the sharks that consistently follow the raft. When the two make land, Phillip discovers that Timothy cannot spell, and this infuriates him even further.
"You ugly black man! I won't do it! You're stupid, you can't even spell..."
Timothy's heavy hand struck my face sharply.
Stunned, I touched my face where he'd hit me...
Up to this point, Timothy has been completely subservient to his white "young bahss," but his angry slap seems to knock some sense into Phillip after all. He begins to treat Timothy with more respect, and eventually grows to love him.