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Yellow Essay

1229 words - 5 pages

Today’s society often puts a strong pressure on the individual, which can result in a wrong self-perception. Especially the ones who don’t meet the expectations can feel cowardice, and it might lead them to a self-destructive behaviour. This is also the case in the short story “Yellow” by Peter Carty, where the proverb “Cowards may die many times before their death” encloses the theme accurately in the way that the protagonist John is on a self-destructive course.

John has been sent to Egypt by his work to go scuba diving against his will, but since he is submissive he didn’t dare to say no. When he arrives, he immediately starts drinking his duty-free. He is afraid of the ocean, and ...view middle of the document...

The depression he’s feeling is shown, as his self-esteem is being held down by his inner voices saying “yellow, yellow” which shows the reader that Jon has a very weak self-perception. To cover his fears he uses gallowhumor, as an example he answers when Berto asks if he’s nervous underwater: “and above water” (l.46) so in kind of way he mocks himself by using irony to escape from being taking seriously. This works throughout the whole story, as Berto never realizes that these funny snap responses are a cry for help. However Berto is not the only character that doesn’t recognize this, on the scuba diver team Jon also meets a man called Brian who’s a retired brewer. Though they don’t have anything to talk about besides different alcohol beverages, Jon still sort of look up to Brian: “He envied his calm, the methodical way he assembled and clambered into the gear” (l. 19-20) the quote shows that Jon wants to be as good as Brian, even when it comes to climbing into a scuba suit. In other words Brian is an opposition to the main character, as he highlights Jon by being everything that he isn’t.

In the start of the short story we sense that this depression has an effect on how he focuses on the nature: “The next day he walked along the promenade, impervious to the blue plain of the Red Sea.” (l. 5-6) the fact the adjective “impervious” is used makes the reacting from the protagonist more powerful to the reader, moreover the quote shows that Jon is too miserable to focus on the environment around him. When Jon finally sees the deep, he describes it with mixture of admiration and horror: “you could lose yourself in that, swallowed up and gone forever, a speck vanishing in the blue without sound or riddle” (l. 83) the horror lies in the fact that there’s a possibility by being swallowed up and gone forever, whereas the awe is how you can vanish without a sound. In the last part of the story it seems like Jon has learned to live with his fear of the deep: “the deep was here whether he was swimming over it or not” (l. 126) This quote could be a metaphor for Jon’s life, as drinking and stress will kill him eventually, the same will committing suicide by drowning himself. Therefore he chooses to become a part of the infinity, so he can show the world that he isn’t yellow and that he’s man enough to drown himself.
The also links up with the short story’s theme, which...

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