Study Guide

The Cay Chapter 18

By Theodore Taylor

Chapter 18

  • Without Timothy to serve as his eyes, Phillip's sense of hearing and touch become stronger. He hears the gulls, the breezes, the lizards, and even the paws of Stew Cat.
  • One morning in August Phillip hears the drone of an airplane. He grabs the fire stick and lights the signal fire. Though he gets the fire going, the plane leaves.
  • Not surprisingly, Phillip is depressed. But he figures out that maybe he needs to make dark smoke rather than white (most wood burning creates light-colored smoke). After a little thinking, he realizes he can use bundles of oily sea grape to create dark smoke. Having made the plan, he feels better.
  • On August 20, Phillip hears thunderous noises and explosions – possibly a nearby destroyer fighting with submarines.
  • Phillip takes his matches and goes to the signal fire. He sets off two signals then hears the drone of an airplane. He lights the third signal, throwing on pile after pile of sea grapes.
  • The sound of the aircraft gets closer and swoops down overhead in a roar. Phillip yells out, "Timothy, they've come" (18.44).
  • The aircraft makes another circle but eventually flies away. Silence. Phillip has been defeated again. He thinks the pilot may have mistaken him for a native, since his skin is so dark now.
  • Phillip looks at Timothy's grave and asks why he didn't take him with him.