Ever hear the phrase "looks can be deceiving"? On the surface of things, the two main characters of The Cay appear to be very different. Phillip is 11 years old, American, and white. Timothy is over 70, West Indian, and black. What could these two characters possibly have in common? What in the world would they even talk about? Plenty, it turns out. The Cay asks us to put aside our preconceived notions about people, places, and things in order to see the world in a new way. Through the metaphor of Phillip's blindness, the novel calls our attention to the idea that we must change how we "see the world." (Psst. You can read a lot more about this in "Symbolism, Imagery, Allegory: Blindness.")
The biggest differences between Phillip and Timothy lie in their appearances.
Our appearances are an important part of ourselves, just not the whole part.