The Cay Questions and Answers
by Theodore Taylor

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How did Phillip feel about Timothy in the novel, The Cay?  

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This answer will change depending on what part of the novel a reader is reading. Phillip's opinion of and attitude toward Timothy completely changes over the course of the novel. At the start of the story, Phillip doesn't like Timothy at all. Phillip judges Timothy based on racial prejudice. He thinks Timothy is ignorant, stupid, and old. Additionally, Phillip isn't afraid to let Timothy know these thoughts.  

"You ugly black man! I won't do it! You're stupid, you can't even spell."

Those feelings gradually change, though, as Phillip and Timothy are forced to depend on each other for survival on the cay. Being recently blinded, Phillip is very dependent on Timothy's help and survival knowledge. Phillip slowly begins to realize that Timothy is extremely knowledgeable about how to survive and that Timothy is working very hard to keep both of them alive. Eventually, Phillip's hatred and disgust for Timothy changes to valued friendship.  

Something happened to me that day on the cay. I'm not quite sure what it was even now, but I had begun to change.

I said to Timothy, "I want to be your friend."

He said softly, "Young bahss, you'ave always been my friend."

I said, "Can you call me Phillip instead of young boss?"
"Phill-eep," he said warmly. 

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    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.

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sweet16fati | Student

At first, phillip didn`t liked timothy!!!!!!!As he waz a black man!!

In some places timothy behaved tooo rudely that phillip thought that his mother was rite!!!!!Black people r very different from them!!!!they r very stubborn!!!!!!!But timothy`s one slap changed phillip`s  life!!!!!!he respected timothy nd they became friends!!!!!!

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