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The Cay

The Cay


by Theodore Taylor

The Cay Chapter 3 Summary

  • As you probably guessed, a torpedo does indeed hit Phillip's ship early in the morning on April 6, 1942.
  • Mother calmly leads Phillip out onto the deck where the captain is giving orders. Phillip and his mom are handed into a lifeboat, but when the boat is lowered, everyone is plunged into the water.
  • Crash, boom, smash! Something hits Phillip from above.
  • Several hours later, Phillip opens his eyes to find himself on a boat with a "very old Negro" whom Phillip thinks is pretty "ugly" (his word, not ours), and the cook's cat named Stew (3.14).
  • The old man tells Phillip he pulled him aboard the raft and doesn't know exactly where the others are. He talks with a thick West Indian accent and calls Phillip "young bahss [boss]" (3.12).
  • Phillip is pretty freaked out, so he has himself a good cry. The old man introduces him to the cat, Stew. Phillip gets seasick and pukes over the side.
  • The old man builds a flimsy shelter from some pieces of raft and their clothes. Phillip falls asleep. When he wakes up, his head hurts more than ever.
  • He asks the man his name and learns that it's Timothy. Phillip introduces himself as well and asks for water to drink from the keg on the raft.
  • Timothy will only give Phillip a little drink. Phillip gets snotty and starts complaining, but Timothy won't budge. He's a stubborn guy, and says they have to conserve water.
  • Phillips starts to think that maybe he agrees with his racist mother – who is not so much a fan of all the black people on Curaçao.
  • The day passes and the flying fish begin to jump around on the sea. Timothy catches one, skins it, and gives the two biggest pieces to Phillip to eat.
  • Phillip doesn't want to eat the raw fish, but Timothy starts sucking on his right away.
  • Phillip turns on his stomach and pouts, thinking of home. He tells Timothy that he wouldn't even be there if not for his stupid mother.
  • Timothy zings him by asking if his mother "started dis terrible wahr, eh, young bahss?" (3.73).

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