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Saturday, August 18, 2012

The Boatman (psychological test)

Posted by Charlene // Tags: , , ,
I was talking to my Mom earlier today and for some reason she remembered this story.  Apparently I read a book called The Pigman by Paul Zindel when I was in elementary school, and the following story was in it.  I really have almost no recollection of this story.  But when you read this story, you are asked a question at the end and what you answer reveals something about yourself.  This is just silly and I had fun debating with my family this morning on what answers make the most sense.

The Boatman
"There is a river with a bridge over it and a wife and her husband live in a house on one side. The wife has a lover who lives on the other side of the river, and the only way to get from one side of the river to the other is to walk across the bridge or to ask the boatman to take you. One day the husband tells his wife that he has to be gone all night to handle some business in a faraway town. The wife pleads with him to take her with him because she knows if he doesn’t she will be unfaithful to him. The husband absolutely refuses to take her because she will only be in the way of his important business."

"So the husband goes alone. When he is gone, the wife goes over the bridge and stays with her lover. The night passes, and the sun is almost up when the wife leaves because she must get back to her own house before her husband gets home. She starts to cross the bridge, but she sees an assassin waiting for her on the other side, and she knows if she tries to cross, he will murder her. In terror, she runs up the side of the river and asks the boatman to take her across, but he wants fifty cents. She has no money, so he refuses to take her. The wife runs back to the lover’s house, and explains to him what her predicament is. She asks him for fifty cents to pay the boatman. The lover refuses, telling her it’s her own fault for getting into the situation. As dawn comes up, the wife is nearly out of her mind and decided to dash across the bridge. When she comes face to face with the assassin. He takes out a large knife and stabs her to death."

Who is most responsible for the wife's murder?  List wife, husband, lover, assassin, and boatman in the order you think they are most guilty.  I am very curious to read other people's answers!


Each character represents something and the order of your list shows what is most important to you.

Wife: fun
Husband: love
Lover: sex
Assassin: money
Boatman: magic

Here's my list:

Wife (fun) She shouldn't have been cheating, if she had been a faithful wife she would still be alive.

Assassin (money) Uh, killing people is wrong.

Lover (sex) You really couldn't spare fifty cents??  Very callous of him, obviously he wasn't worth her time.

Husband (love) It sucks he wouldn't take her with him, he seems a little too focused on his job and should have probably given more attention to his wife.

Boatman (magic) Well, I place him last because he has a job to do and he needed to get paid for it.  It's not really his fault if she ran across the bridge, she could have just stayed safe and faced her husband later.

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  1. I got the exact same answers as you without even having looked, haha! :)

    1. Oh yay! Obviously I think it makes the most sense! :)

  2. Wife- making bad choices, cheating is wrong.
    Husband- not being there for wife when she tells him she is unhappy.
    Lover- douchebag
    Assasin- paid to kill her, it's bad to kill people.
    Boatman- Umm doing his job I guess not involved.

    1. Good choices! Especially agree with your assessment of the lover! I have the meaning under the cut in my post- so it means that what is most important to you is Fun, Love, Sex, Money, and Magic in that order. I have Fun as the most important for me too. :)

    2. LOL Okay that is interesting..I don't get why thinking the wife is bad for cheating makes you value fun?! LOL Still fun is great!
      I totally agree with my assessment as well ;>

    3. Yeah, I'm not sure how that works either, but the results seem pretty accurate, so I won't try to figure it out. It would probably be over my head. :D

  3. I forgot to ask what does it mean if you give certain answers?

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