In "The Cay", what was Timothy’s legacy to Philip (lasting impact) and how did it help him continue his fight for survival?  

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

In the novel "The Cay," the most important thing that Timothy gave to Phillip was a self confidence in what he could accomplish, even with his handicap of being blind.  Timothy taught Phillip how to get around the island, how to fish, how to survive.  He instilled the self conficence  that Phillip needed.  He proves this by climbing the coconut tree and by rebuilding the shelter after Timothy died.  He survived even though he was alone and he was able to build the rescue fire under stressful conditions.  Even after Phillip was reunited with his family he realized he had changed.  He couldn't relate to his old friends in the same way because he had grown and matured.

Timothy also taught Phillip to look beyond the surface of things and people.  When they met Phillip looked at Timothy as "an ugly, stubborn old black man."  He believed that "his mother was right, these people are different than we are."  By the end of the novel, Phillip has forgotten their differences and respects Timothy.  He even asks Timothy, "Are you still Black?"   Phillip had learned to judge people for who they are, and not what they look like.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team

We’ll help your grades soar

Start your 48-hour free trial and unlock all the summaries, Q&A, and analyses you need to get better grades now.

  • 30,000+ book summaries
  • 20% study tools discount
  • Ad-free content
  • PDF downloads
  • 300,000+ answers
  • 5-star customer support
Start your 48-Hour Free Trial