Timothy may not be able to read or write, but he proves to be a wise tutor to Phillip during their days on the deserted island. While they are still on the raft, Timothy warns Phillip to get some sleep since they have much to do the following day. Phillip only laughed.
"What do we have to do?" I asked.
"... Stay alive, young bahss, dats what we 'ave to do."
Timothy had previously warned Phillip against looking directly into the sun, which probably contributed to the boy's blindness. Timothy had also reminded Phillip to stay clear of the edge of the raft because of the sharks that followed them. When Phillip fell overboard, Timothy quickly pulled him back aboard before the sharks got to him; and when Timothy finally spotted land, he knew it was better to be on the small cay than on the raft, despite Phillip's protests.
On the island, Timothy found an ideal place for their camp, and he went about showing his blind friend how to fend for himself. Timothy new that he might not survive their long stay on the cay, and he wanted Phillip to be self-sufficient if that time ever came. Timothy began weaving a rope for Phillip that would stretch from the hut to the fire on the beach. He taught Phillip to weave mats on which to sleep and how to conserve the fire. Finally, he taught Phillip how to catch lobster, knowing that one day the boy might be left alone and would need to survive.
He jelps then survive on the cay