Die Heuning Pot Literature Guide
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Analysis

Literary Devices in The Cay

Symbolism, Imagery, Allegory

Setting

Time: World War IITheodore Taylor's The Cay is set during World War II. It's 1942 and Hitler has invaded Holland and defeated France. The Japanese have attacked Pearl Harbor, and America has offici...

Narrator Point of View

The Cay is told retrospectively from our protagonist Phillip's point of view. The narrative is written in the first person, which means that Phillip is telling the story himself. He's a "central" n...

Genre

As we noted in our "In a Nutshell" section, The Cay is an amazingly awesome mash-up of a harrowing war story and a desert-island survival tale. The first few chapters focus primarily on the World W...

Tone

Because the book is written from Phillip's personal point of view, we are privy to his innermost thoughts and feelings. This intimacy lets us see just what Phillip is thinking about whatever situat...

Writing Style

Theodore Taylor started writing for newspapers when he was only 13, and his journalistic flair comes through in the pages of The Cay. His descriptions of Willemstad and the cay in Chapters 1 and 2...

What's Up With the Title?

On a very basic level, the title serves as an advertisement for the book and clues us in to what to expect from it. A cay is a small island in the ocean that forms on a coral reef. From this we can...

What's Up With the Epigraph?

To Dr. King's dream,Which can only come trueIf the very young know and understand. (Dedication)Theodore Taylor begins his novel with a dedication to Martin Luther King, Jr., a major figure in the A...

What's Up With the Ending?

At the end of the novel (Chapter 19) we see a lot of the book's conflicts resolved. Well, sort of. Here's a breakdown: Phillip meets up with his parents at long last, but he struggles to tell them...

Tough-o-Meter

Theodore Taylor's The Cay is a desert-island survival story set against the backdrop of World War II. Since there's no shortage of submarines, torpedoes, and hurricane-force winds, we're sure that...

Plot Analysis

The Germans arrive in Curaçao. Phillip clashes with his mother.In the novel's first pages we're introduced to the book's initial conflicts, both big and small. First, the big picture: we're in the...

Trivia

Author Theodore Taylor was a jack of all trades: he worked as a journalist, served in World War II, and produced films in Hollywood before dedicating himself to writing novels for both children and...

Allusions

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....
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