When authors refer to other great works, people, and events, it’s usually not accidental. Put on your super-sleuth hat and figure out why.
While The Cay does not reference any specific real-life incidents or figures from World War II, the war itself plays a large role in the novel. The Germans did indeed invade parts of the Caribbean. The year 1942 is an important part of the novel's setting. And Royal Dutch Shell (1.49), the oil company that employs Phillip's father, did do business on the island during the 20th century.