Sure they drive us crazy, but our family shapes who we are and how we see the world – especially when we're kids. In The Cay, eleven-year-old Phillip's family has a big influence on him. From his mother he picks up some pretty bigoted ideas about race. From his father he learns what a man is supposed to be. After Phillip goes blind and is stranded on the cay, he gains a new family: Timothy and Stew Cat. Phillip's relationship with Timothy will help him see the world – and himself – in a totally new way.
The Cay shows us that a big part of growing up is choosing our values for ourselves, instead of just holding our parents values without question.
Timothy is very similar to Phillip's father, which is one of the reasons why Phillip forms such a strong bond with him.