In Theodore Taylor's The Cay, most flashbacks are used to establish Phillip's racist upbringing in order to explain Phillip's initial attitude toward Timothy and to set the groundwork for Phillip's significant changes throughout the rest of the story.
One flashback can be found in Chapter Three, when Phillip first finds himself on the raft with Timothy. Phillip can't understand why Timothy won't give him all the water he wants to drink and feels Timothy is unfairly hording water for himself. He recalls that his mother dislikes blacks and doesn't like it when Phillip and Timothy play at St. Anna Bay, watching the blacks load and unload their schooners. Phillip vividly recalls that she once said, "They are not the same as you, Phillip. They are different and they live differently" (p. 36).
Phillip has a second flashback the first night on the raft, a night that had grown "cold and damp" (p. 39). He and Timothy lay side by side on the raft, and Phillip reflects that they "both drew back" once when their bodies touched (p. 40). He further reflects it was odd for him to be with a black man and flashes back to the blacks he saw in Virginia. He recalls going "down through the shacks of colored town with [his] father" and purchasing spicy crabs (p. 40). He also recalls seeing them swimming naked in the river during the summer.