Study Guide

The Cay Chapter 13

By Theodore Taylor

Chapter 13

  • Late May comes around; Timothy and Phillip have been on the island for 48 days. (They've been counting the days by dropping pebbles in a can.)
  • Timothy is afraid he'll come down with fever again, so he decides Phillip needs to learn how to fish by himself.
  • He takes him down to a fishing hole on the reef. Along the way he's placed pieces of driftwood to serve as guideposts.
  • Timothy describes the hole to Phillip. He teaches him how to bait his hook with a mussel, which is easy for Phillip since he used to fish with his dad.
  • Using rusty bolts as sinkers, Phillip catches a fish. Though he had caught fish before, Phillip feels he has done "something very special," since he was now learning to do things "by touch and feel" (13.21).
  • Phillip does all the fishing after that.
  • Timothy and Phillip find lots to talk about, like the origins of the island. Phillip teaches Timothy all the things he knows about volcanoes and how the animals and plants probably got there by storms or birds.
  • Timothy is fascinated. Phillip is happy to finally be able to teach him something.
  • On the fifth afternoon of that week, Phillip decides to finally climb the coconut tree, much to Timothy's delight.
  • He gets about ten feet up and freezes. Then he comes back down. Sensing Timothy's disappointment, he goes again (forgetting the knife) and at the top pries loose two big ripe coconuts.
  • The two drink the milk and feast on the meat.
  • Timothy feels as though he has finally "graduated" from Timothy's survival school (13.50).
  • It rains that night. Phillip remembers Timothy's face, but now it does not seem ugly. It only seems "kind and strong" (13.52).
  • Phillip asks Timothy if he is still black. Timothy laughs.