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Character Analysis In Theodore Taylor's The Cay

693 words - 3 pages

"In Theodore Taylor’s The Cay (1969), Phillip Enright, a twelve-year-old boy who lives on the small Dutch island of Curacao, is shipwrecked with Timothy, an old black man, once the Germans have torpedoed their boat during World War II. Having been knocked unconscious, Phillip then wakes up in a raft with Timothy and Stew Cat, the cook’s cat that has survived the explosion. Phillip at first does not trust Timothy because of his own prejudice, but after he loses his eyesight, Philip realizes how dependent he is on Timothy and comes to love him. By the time rescuers find the cay where Phillip and Timothy have been stranded, Timothy has died from shielding Phillip from the wrath of a hurricane. These two are both resourceful but differ considerably in compassion.
Both Phillip and Timothy are highly resourceful survivors. When they notice signs of the impending storm, Timothy’s resourcefulness enables him to try to protect them: “he took the remaining rope that we had and tied it securely around the same sturdy tree… I realized then why he had used our rope sparingly” (103). Timothy’s concept to use the rope keeps them from being pulled into the sea. Despite the limited supplies Timothy has from the wreckage, his ingenuity helps him devise makeshift items. Timothy and Phillip’s resourcefulness leads to their survival. Phillip’s resourcefulness is most apparent after Timothy dies and Phillip is left alone on the island to provide for himself: “On the fifth day after the storm, I began to scour the island to find out what had been cast up” (117). Despite his temporary blindness, Phillip has to be resourceful to provide food for himself. Furthermore, after Timothy dies, Phillip’s ingenuity emerges: “ I stumbled… several times—I worked until I felt it was nearing darkness… But now, for the first time, I fully understood why Timothy had so carefully trained me to move around the island, and the reef” (115). Despite the loss of his protector, Phillip’s wits help him survive instead of giving up. Phillip’s resourcefulness has come from Timothy’s teachings, but Timothy’s...

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