Where is Timothy from? Why does Phillip think he is from Africa?

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Timothy, who saves Phillip from drowning after their ship is torpedoed in Theodore Taylor's novel, The Cay, is from Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas, in the United States Virgin Islands. Timothy is a working sailor who has sailed "all d'islan's, as well as Venezuela, Colombia, Panama..." Phillip assumes Timothy is an African (he is actually an American) because of his dark skin color. When Phillip asked if his parents were African, Timothy responded that "I 'ave no recollection of anythin' 'cept dese islan's." When Phillip asked if his mother was African, Timothy told him that he had no memory of his mother or father.

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