The short story ”Yellow” by Peter Carty is about being insecure and how lack of self-esteem can lead a person to suicide. It is also about changing as a person by gathering enough courage to do it. The story revolves around the main character Jon, a second-string writer on a London listings magazine, who has been forced on a learn-to-scuba-dive trip in Egypt. Jon is an insecure, overweight man with no willpower, pushing forty and dealing with a midlife crisis. There are also two minor characters in the story, Berto the scuba diving instructor and Brian the other student in Berto’s group. The story is told over a few days and mainly takes place in the ocean, the diving school and his hotel, though the hotel is used for nothing more than drinking liquor. The story is told by an omniscient third person narrator that gives us a better impression of Jon’s way of thinking so we can tell why he in the end chooses to drown himself.
Jon is lonely on the trip, the editor didn’t pay for his girlfriend to come with him and he is envious of the other student Brian. “But he envied Brian his calm, the methodical way he assembled and clambered into the gear.” (p. 1, l. 19-20) Brian is a calm, methodical person who is in control of his own life, unlike Jon. They do not have anything in common besides knowledge of alcoholic beverages, and all conservations just lead nowhere. Jon’s relationship with his girlfriend does not go well either, “The silences between them had multiplied, then lengthened into an empty continuum.” (p. 2, l. 54-55).
The primary reasons for Jon’s mid-life crisis are his not-so-well relationship and his suppressed frustration over always being called “Yellow”, a term meaning coward. “He thought of his fear and became angry. Well, this would show them he wasn’t yellow.” (p. 2, l. 128-129). He is sick and tired of his life and tries to drink his misery away but even the alcohol is not on his side, “He poured more gin, but no matter