What does Timothy do for Phillip in The Cay by Theodore Taylor?

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jameadows eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Timothy saves Phillip's life twice--once when the ship that Phillip and his mother are traveling on near Curacao is torpedoed by a German U-Boat, and later when a tempest strikes the island where Timothy and Phillip have been marooned. During the storm, Timothy uses his body to protect Phillip from the wind and later dies as a result of the battering his body has taken.

In addition, Timothy teaches Phillip to be more self-reliant, even though Phillip has gone blind. He teaches him how to fish, how to navigate around the island on his own, and how to climb into a tree to harvest coconuts. Phillip also learns to be more respectful and tolerant of others. Though Phillip learned from his mother to treat black people with disdain, Timothy teaches him the importance of respecting others no matter what they look like, and the importance of recognizing their humanity. 

kathik eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In The Cay by Theodore Taylor, Timothy did many things for young Philip. First of all, he saved Philip's life. As Philip and his mother were getting into a lifeboat after their ship was torpedoed, Philip was hit in the head and knocked out. Timothy, who worked on the ship, grabbed him and put him in a raft. Once the two of them get to the cay, Timothy helped the now blind Philip over and over. He built a hut for them, he fashioned a vine rope, so that Philip could get around the island. Timothy taught him about the island including how to fish, catch langosta, and where to find fresh water to drink.

During their time on the cay, Timothy prepares Philip for just about anything that might possibly happen including bad storms, so that Philip will be able to survive should something happen to Timothy, which of course, does.