What did Phillip really mean when he asked Timothy, "Are you still Black?"

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This quote comes at the very end of chapter 13. Chapter 13 is an absolutely wonderful chapter because it truly shows how much the relationship between Phillip and Timothy has grown. The two characters have been on the island for 48 days, and Phillip is becoming quite independent. He takes...

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This quote comes at the very end of chapter 13. Chapter 13 is an absolutely wonderful chapter because it truly shows how much the relationship between Phillip and Timothy has grown. The two characters have been on the island for 48 days, and Phillip is becoming quite independent. He takes care of the fishing, and he finally feels like he is pulling some of his own weight. This chapter also sees Phillip climbing the tree and successfully pulling down some coconuts. Phillip is also pleased to be able to teach Timothy some things during this chapter as well. As the chapter closes out, Phillip thinks back to his early impressions of Timothy. No longer does Phillip see Timothy as an old, ugly black man. Instead Timothy only seems "kind and strong." Gone is any thinking of Timothy's skin color. It simply doesn't make a difference, and Phillip's question is meant to tell Timothy this in a joking format. The two of them laugh to each other after the question. Phillip's question is essentially him admitting to Timothy that Phillip no longer thinks of Timothy in terms of skin color. Timothy is a friend, and skin color doesn't matter.

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In the beginning of the novel before Phillip lost his eyesight he was very judgmental of Timothy based solely on the fact that he was black. He was raised by his mother to think that he was somehow superior to black people because he was white.

After Phillip loses his eyesight he begins to get to know Timothy as a person instead of just as a color and he begins to see Timothy as a friend. Now that Phillip is blind he can begin to let go of the prejudices that sighted people have. When he asked Timothy, "Are you still black?" he is stating how surprised he is by how close they have become. Phillip never dreamed his best friend and protector would be a black man. He never dreamed that his survival would be in the hands of a black man. He is surprised at how much he has changed on the inside in such a short amount of time and it took losing his eyesight to see Timothy for the person he really was.

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