Violence can be defined in a lot of different ways. It can be "an exertion of physical force," like a violent slap on the face; a "destructive action," like a violent storm; or even a "clashing or jarring quality," like violently loud music. Like the dictionary, Theodore Taylor's The Cay depicts many different kinds of violence and defines them in different ways. We see the violence of war, violence in the natural world, and violence in human relationships. Some instances of violence are painted negatively, while others are shown as necessary. Whatever the case, violent conflict is a constant in the world of The Cay.
Violence is sometimes justified, like World War II or when Timothy slapped some sense into Phillip.
Timothy shouldn't have hit Phillip. There is always an alternative to violence.