What best describes Timothy in Chapter 3 of "The Cay"? Why?

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dymatsuoka eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In Chapter 3, when Timothy rescues Phillip and the two are stranded on a raft in the middle of the ocean, Phillip shows himself to be capable, practical, firm, encouraging, and optimistic.  Timothy witnessed Phillip getting "a mos' terrible crack on d'ead...(by) a strong-back", and managed to pull him out of the water and onto the raft.  He then uses "his powerful arms and hands to rip up boards from the outside edges of the raft", and pounding them together and using his own clothes and Phillip's, he fashions a shelter so they can escape the merciless sun.  Timothy further demonstrates his capability and practicality by rationing their water and catching fish so that their supply of biscuits will last longer if need be.  When Phillip selfishly insists on having more water and falsely accuses Timothy of keeping it for himself, Timothy is polite but firm and unyielding.

Used to being in a position of superiority with black people, Phillip is rude and unsulting to Timothy at times, but Timothy never reacts with anger.  He instead remains encouraging and optimistic, comforting Phillip when he is sick and focusing always on their good fortune in at least having water and supplies.  Timothy is hopeful that they will be rescued, yet at the same time he very practically prepares for the worst in case he might be wrong.  Timothy tells Phillip "do not be despair", and cautions him that "we mus' be wise 'bout what we 'ave" (Chapter 3).