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The Cay

The Cay

by Theodore Taylor

Sharks

Symbolism, Imagery, Allegory

Sharks are natural predators in the ocean, and they play a minor role in The Cay. The animals generate suspense and a sense of danger when Timothy and Phillip are floating on the raft, not to mention when Phillip falls into the water in Chapter 6. The image of the shark also gets connected to that of the Nazis, as in this quote from the first line of the book:

Like silent, hungry sharks that swim in the darkness of the sea, the German submarines arrived in the middle of the night. (1.1)

Taylor compares the violence of the natural world to that of humans, suggesting that the two are perhaps linked. In what ways are they similar? How are they different?

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