What motivation, or cause, drives Timothy to lose his temper when Phillip falls overboard in The Cay?
Timothy loses his temper when Phillip falls overboard. What motivation, or cause, drives him to such emotion?
Timothy loses his temper because Phillip has put both himself and Timothy in grave danger by falling overboard. Fear is a strong motivating factor behind his strong emotion. The two are drifting on a raft in shark-infested waters, and, as Timothy says, "Mahn die quick out dere" (Chapter 6).
Timothy had previously warned Phillip specifically about the danger posed by the sharks. Unable to see what was around him, Phillip had ventured to crawl over to the edge of the raft "to touch the warm water". Timothy had remained right behind him, saying, "Careful, young Bahss. D'sharks always hungry, always waitin' for d'mahn to fall ovahboard". In answer to Phillip's question as to if there were many sharks in the water, Timothy had replied, "Yes, many 'ere. But long as we 'ave our raff, they do not meliss us" (Chapter 5).
When Timothy shouts the next day that he sees an island, Phillip, "in wild excitement...stumble(s) up (from the raft) and (falls) overboard". He falls under the water, and feels something slap against his leg, but does not know what it is. He is treading water when he hears "Timothy's frightened roar, 'Sharks'", and feels the old man thrashing about near him. Timothy grabs Phillip by the hair and, swimming with one arm, drags him back to the safety of the raft, after which he himself is left "splashing and cursing" among the sharks. Somehow, Timothy manages to pull himself on board as well, and, understandably, he is in a rage, roaring, "Shark all 'round us, all d'time...on dis raff, you crawl, young bahss...you 'ear me?" Phillip's carelessness very nearly had gotten them both killed, and Timothy is justifiably infuriated. After "several deep breaths", however, he calms down, and explains his anger with the simple explanation, "Mahn die quick out dere" (Chapter 6).