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Essay on Caribbean isle of Curaçao in The Cay by Theodore Taylor

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The Cay is a novel by Theodore Taylor. The book’s plot revolves around a twelve-year-old boy, Phillip, who, although American-born, is living on the Caribbean isle of Curaçao due to his father’s job with an oil company. However, World War II is raging, and Phillip leaves the island aboard a steamer with his mother. The steamer is torpedoed by a Nazi German submarine, and Phillip is rescued by an elderly West Indian named Timothy, who pulls him aboard a life raft. The two float to a deserted cay, which they struggle to survive on, all the more so after Phillip goes blind because of a head injury sustained during the ship’s sinking. A major, vital element in any adventure novel is the inclusion of a hero or heroine. In The Cay,…show more content…
Phillip and Timothy experienced a conflict during the story, an example of character versus character conflict. They did not always get along with each other, largely due to Phillip’s initial bias, but they reconciled by the end, before Timothy died in a hurricane. Phillip also conflicted with society when he began to realize, despite the attitude of his non-present family, that African-descended people are just as “good” as he is – and he comes to accept that Timothy is the cause of his survival on the island. Phillip also comes into conflict with nature, particularly during the hurricane that takes Timothy’s life. At the conclusion of The Cay, Phillip, along with his animal companion Stew Cat, is rescued by sailors serving in the United States Navy. The book’s epilogue explains that Phillip successfully underwent surgery that restored his vision, albeit in a somewhat limited form. By this time, Phillip has become a mature young adult, rather than a typical twelve-year-old unable to survive on the cay. He has learned how to adapt to living in inhospitable places, and, more importantly, he has slowly begun to accept people of other racial, ethnic, or cultural backgrounds. At the end of the book, it is stated that Phillip often conversed with West Indians near his home who were acquainted with Timothy. The Cay is considered an adventure because it follows the life of a hero as he attempts to survive in an inhospitable
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