Prejudice, Fear, and Blindness

In The Cay, by Theodore Taylor, Phillip must overcome his three handicaps, prejudice, fear, and blindness. To start, Phillip is a white boy who insults anybody of color. He overcomes this handicap by not judging a person by the color of their skin, but what is inside. Next, Phillip's blindness other makes him fearful of being alone. He treats this problem by using more of his senses other than his sight. Lastly, Phillip has become blind and must overcome this problem by learning to be more self-reliant from Timothy. In summary, Phillip learns that he can defeat all of the obstacles in his way, including prejudice, fear, and blindness.

To start, Phillip is very prejudice towards anyone of color. He overcomes this handicap by not judging a person by the color of their skin. At home, Phillip learned to be prejudice from his mother. She would think of black people as slaves. Even without her, Phillip was prejudice. He thinks of Timothy as a stupid person just because he is black. "I tried again, but it didn't work. I stood up, threw the palm fibers at him, and screamed, You ugly black man! I won't do it! You're stupid, you can't even spell..." (p.54) Phillip is very harsh on Timothy without even knowing him. His mother was very prejudice and her prejudice must have mad him just like her. When Phillip screamed racist thoughts, it caused Timothy to slap Phillip across the face. The slap made Phillip realize that everything Timothy did was for him. He fashioned a cane to let Phillip get around the island. This made Phillip want to become best friends with Timothy, even though he was black. Thus, Phillip learns that it does not matter the color of some ones skin, people can get along.

Next, Phillip has fear of being and must treat this problem by developing his other senses. Phillip is blind and is very fearful of everything around him. Without Timothy, Phillip is helpless. One of his greatest fears was being left alone. "Something brushed against my arm, and I yelled out in terror. But I heard a meow and knew it was just Stew Cat." (p. 46-47) When Phillip is left alone, his blindness prevents him from knowing what is around him. To overcome this, Phillip could use his senses of hearing and feeling to know what is around him. He uses a vine rope to get around the island and he learns to fish for lagosta. These are all things that Timothy has taught him. In summary, Phillip used all of his senses, excluding sight, to make him less fearful of everything around him.

Lastly, Phillip has become blind on the raft. He overcomes this handicap by using his other senses to get around the cay. While blind, Phillip thinks that he cannot do anything useful on the cay. He thinks he cannot fish, climb trees, get around the cay, or make palm mats. "But in a few minutes, he placed several lengths of palm fiber across my lap. He really was a black mule. D'palm mat is veree easy. Jus' ovah an' under... Becoming angry with him, I said, I tell you, I can't see."(p.54) When Phillip tries to do tasks, he thinks he cannot because he is blind and not confident enough. After he becomes more self-reliant, Phillip gets the courage to climb the palm tree to get a coconut. Eventually, he gets a vine rope which helps him get around the island. Finally, Phillip learns to overcome his blindness by using Timothy to get more self-reliant.

In the novel, The Cay, by Theodore Taylor, Phillip learns to defeat his three obstacles, prejudice, fear, and blindness. To start, Phillip is prejudice towards anybody of color. He overcomes this handicap by not judging a book by its cover. Next, Phillip is blind and is fearful of being alone. He treats this problem by learning to use his other senses letting Timothy teach him to see through his eyes. Lastly, Phillip has become blind because of the S.S. Hato being blown up. He treats this handicap by listening to his surroundings to get around the cay. In conclusion, Phillip learns that you can overcome any handicaps with help from a good friend.