In "The Cay", what two events reveal Phillip's conflicting feelings of dependence and superiority towards Timothy?

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I would support the argument that there are more than only two occasions when Phillip realizes that he needs Timothy, yet he still feels superior to Timothy. One early example occurs when the two characters are still on the raft after their ship was torpedoed. Phillip and Timothy are completely exposed to the tortuous sun, and it is Timothy that quickly and powerfully rigs up a crude shelter on the raft in order to protect Phillip from the burning sun. Phillip quickly falls asleep in the cooler air. When he wakes up, Phillip asks for Timothy's name. We read that Phillip has always been taught to use the title "Mr." with an adult; however, Phillip doesn't think that he has to do that with Timothy because Timothy is black.

Chapter 9 provides readers with another good example. Phillip knows that having sleeping mats will be an improvement to their shelter and allow them better sleep. That is key for survival. Unfortunately, Phillip believes that Timothy needs to make the mats, and Phillip angrily calls Timothy an ugly, stupid black man when Timothy further encourages Phillip to make the mats. Timothy slaps Phillip, and the moment is a turning point in their relationship.

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Since the S.S. Hato was torpedoed, Phillip has lost his eyesight and his mother. He now finds himself stranded on an island with a man he barely knows and essentially no survival skills.

As a result, he feels dependent on Timothy. When Timothy leaves Phillip to explore the island, Phillip feels alone and frightened. He begins to worry that Timothy has fallen and is hurt. He worries that Timothy won't return and he will have to fend for himself. When Stew Cat brushes against Phillip's arm, Phillip screams in terror.

When Timothy returns, Phillip yells

"Never leave me again. Don't you ever leave me again!"

This shows his dependence on Timothy for survival.

However, Phillip also feels superior to Timothy. For example, when they are constructing the word "help" on the beach out of stones, Phillip learns that Timothy cannot spell.

"I felt good. I knew how to do something that Timothy couldn't do. He couldn't spell. I felt superior to Timothy that day, but I let him play his little game, pretending not to know that he really couldn't spell."


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What events in Theodore Taylor's The Cay reveal that Phillip felt conflicting emotions of superiority over Timothy while at the same time being dependent on him?

In the beginning of Theodore Taylor's The Cay, Phillip has been influenced by his mother's racist views. Being racist, Phillip's first impression of Timothy is that he is ugly, and Phillip hates the fact he is stranded on a raft with an "ugly" black man. Thinking that Timothy is ugly allows Phillip to feel superior to Timothy. Yet, from the moment Phillip first gains consciousness on the raft after having received a severe head injury, he is dependent on Timothy, and that dependence grows stronger the moment Phillip becomes blind.

Early in the story, Phillip particularly displays his sense of superiority when he reflects to himself that his parents had taught him to "address anyone [he] took to be an adult as 'mister,' but Timothy didn't seem to be a mister. Besides, he was black" (p. 34). In other words, due to the color of Timothy's skin, because of Phillip's racist upbringing, Phillip doesn't think Timothy deserves the respect of a formal title.

Yet, despite this feeling of superiority, Phillip depends on Timothy for survival from the start. Timothy builds a shelter on the raft to protect Phillip's eyes from the sun, comforts Phillip when he throws up, and keeps him warm from the cold wind. Once Phillip goes blind, Timothy protects him from sharks, rescues him when he falls overboard, acts as his eyes by describing their surroundings, and once on the island, teaches him to not be afraid of his blindness and to be independent. Once on the island, before Phillip changes and grows independent, one of the clearest moments in which Phillip demonstrates his feelings of dependence on Timothy, while at the same time still feeling racially superior, is when Timothy goes off to explore the new island, and Phillip grows so frightened that when Timothy returns, Phillip demands, "Never leave me again. Don't you ever leave me again!" (p. 60). But, by and by, Timothy helps Phillip find the courage he needs to become independent.

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