Is there a meaning with life? Why are we here on this planet and what is the meaning of our existence? Should we strive to achieve something great in the short time we are present on earth, or is it just a waste of everyone’s time. The protagonist in Peter Carty’s short story Yellow deals with such a dispute. The text starts in medias res with us being taken to Egypt, where the entire story takes place. We meet our main character, Jon who is nearly forty years of age and works as a second string writer for a magazine. The magazine has sent Jon to Egypt to rate a scuba diving course and at the time we are told this, we also get an indication of Jon’s position in his work life. Carty writes “The editor had forced him to come out here […] The travel and sports editor had instantly refused and no one else would do it” (p. 2, ll. 50-51). Here we can see how little influence Jon has over his own life. Nobody else wants to do this job, so Jon gets the short end of the stick. Jon is a second string writer which means he gets the job when nobody else wants to or if he is the only one left to do the job. This is not only his career position, but also his position in life. This is underlined in the scuba diving class, where the only two students are Jon and Brian. We get a strong feeling that Brian is a superior scuba diver compared to Jon, and we can see this at the point where Jon “envied Brian his calm, the methodical way he assembled and clambered into the gear” (p. 1, ll. 19-20). Here we can see how Brian outclasses Jon, as Jon is jealous at Brian, because Jon does not possess these values himself and as a result Jon is once again number two as he is in life. Throughout the story we sense that Jon has a troubled mind. We get the feeling that he just wishes to be alone. We are informed on page 1, lines 3-4 that “he locked the door of his room against them, and tucked into his duty-free”. From this we can draw that he wants nothing to do with anybody. He is...
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