Wednesday, 24 August 2011

A moral dilemma I read in a book

Image from here
I am reading this book, "Shadow' by Karin Alvtegen. I am really enjoying it, although it is a pretty complex tale about a bunch of inter-linked writers. I love a Swedish author. They just see things a bit darker differently. Must all those days without daylight. Boom, boom. Anyhoo...

One of the characters in the book presented a moral dilemma. I have been pondering it since I read it on the train this morning, so I will present it here for you to seek your opinion (but I am changing the names because all the Swedish ones made it harder to follow).

Imagine a paper napkin with two parallel lines across it and some wavy lines between. This is a river full of crocodiles. No one can get across without a boat.

Now imagine a square on one side of the river. John lives there. He loves Jane who lives on the other side of the river and Jane loves him. One day John comes down with a serious illness and he rings Jane and asks her to come and help him. He explains how sick he is and asks her to hurry.

But Jane has no boat, so she runs over to George, who lives on her side of the river and has a boat. She explains the situation and asks him to lend her the boat so she can row across and help John.

But George refuses to help Jane for free. He says that she has to have sex with him first, then he'll row her over to the other side of the river.

Jane, of course, is heart-broken, so she goes to Tom, who lives between George and Jane's houses, and tells him what George has said. She asks him to come with her to talk some sense into George.

But Tom doesn't want to get involved and asks her to leave.

So Jane sees no alternative but to do as George wants, and even though he's a "disgusting old man" she goes there and has sex with him. Then he rows her across the river.

Jane finally arrives at John's house and tells him what happened. John is furious that Jane had sex with George and throws her out.

Jane then goes to her friend Steven's house and tells him that she was forced to have sex with George so she could help John, who then threw her out. Steven flies into a rage and goes to John and beats him up.

What I want to know is which of them was most in the wrong? Grade them from one to five, with the one who was most in the wrong a five.


Miss Pink said...

So I tohught I had this pretty quickly but the more I think about it and point out why such and such was wrong, the more I see the flaws in how another is "right",
For intrest purposes this is what I had.

Gerorge, John, Jane, Steven, Tom.

George forced someone to have sex with them. He didn't offer another way of "paying" for the use of the boat.

John should have been more compassionate. What Jane exclusively seeing him? No. It sucks yes, but he could have simply thanked her for trying and then explaining the betrayal he felt rather than banishing her.

Jane could have found another way. She could have called John to explain her situation and get his advice.

Steven shouldn't have used physical violence with another. Even to defend a friend. There was no need to physically defend anyone.

Tom was smart not to get involved, but did not getting involved cause so much pain to his friends?

Mum on the Run said...

Oh my goodness.
I need to sleep (or toss and turn) on this one.
Shame on you, George.
That's all I'm sure of at this stage!

DancingInTheRain said...

Yes, I too think this one require some thinking.
Lock in George no.5 though Eddy!

Alice Becomes said...

Hmmm, I'm thinking George is the one with the worst intentions. so put him at number 5. Tom's behavior doesn't seem right to me either. The other 3 all seem to have WANTED to do the right thing, whether they did or not, is another thing altogether.

What do you think?

Gill x

Life In A Pink Fibro said...

Hmmm. Jane talks too much.

I think George wins for worst intentions. But I can't condone Tom's actions either. People who do nothing don't get a get out of jail free card. He could have solved the whole conundrum by getting involved. Steve has anger management issues. And Jane needs to stop being such a victim. John's a jerk. Nobody seems to be coming out a winner here.

Danger Boy said...

Jane, Jane, Jane, Jane, Jane. She should have just stolen George's boat!! That'll teach that lecherous bastard! :)

Eloise said...
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Eloise said...
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Eloise said...

ahhh can't count, order or spell today.

Jane is definitely the worst in this scenario. I would never sleep with a disgusting old man who repulsed me just to use his boat/power tool/espresso maker - well, it depends on how good the espresso maker is I guess hahaha. There is always another way if you think creatively enough and I would have braved the crocodiles and floated over in an esky or something.

So in order of least wrong/least irritating....5. Stephen, because at least he did something on principle, 4. Tom, who is a bit of a tosser and really just a waste of oxygen in this scenario, 3. George, because being the cynical bitch I am, I assume over 50% of all men think with their **** and would take any opportunity to score a free r**t, 2. John, because its ALL about John ALL the time and finally 1. Jane for being such a weak sap and having no initiative, and obviously no self respect.

Thanks for the brain stretch :)

Rhonda said...

George is most wrong.
Then Tom because looking the other way when someone needs help is almost as wrong as hurting them.
Then John for not understanding that she loves him so much she would go to the ends of the Earth for him.
Then Jane because she should have just said no and let John die, he ended up being a jerk anyhow.
Then Steven because he was just trying to help his friend. And plus George deserved it.

Jaimee Hunter said...

George 5, Steven 4, Tom 3, John 2, Jane 1

Personally, if I were Jane, I would have quit running around trying to get a man to help me, taken George's boat (and a shovel to his head if he tried to lay one finger on me), and gone to help my man. However, if he would find fault with me for doing whatever I could to help him, then he wouldn't be my man for long. BTW, Steven was number two in the wrong category because too many things in this world happen because of people who look the other way.

Anonymous said...

You're a task master, MM. Now you're giving me homework? ;)
I had this:
5. Steven (beating up a terminally ill man?)
4. George
3. Jane
2. John
1. Tom
I realised when I was doing this I was thinking in terms of sentencing for crimes against other people. This is why Jane, John and Tom are down the bottom. I agree they are all jerks. And Jane needs a backbone.

Maxabella said...

Far out, that's some book you're reading!

1. Jane - she cheated, George didn't. Why didn't she tell John what was going on? Who willingly shags someone that repulsive?
2. George - conditions attached to help are never ok, but I guess you can't blame an old roughie for trying it on. He must have felt like it was Christmas when she actually came back and gave him a roll.
3. Tom - tempted to put this coward at number 1
4. John - although he's got a point
5. Stevo - bashing up sick people is a bit wrong, bug I admire that he is a man of action. Bet Jane shags him at some point too.

Ellie said...

1 being not bad and 5 is bad.

Jane - 2
George - 5
Tom - 2
John - 3
Steve 3 (would have been a 1 if he beat George up instead of John)

Very simplistic reasonings..LOL

Coal Valley View said...


Well I had to sleep on this one - too taxing for my tired brain last night.

All bad and could go any way depending on what criteria you chose for judging them. I graded them based on who would be the least forgivable in the circumstances. George could have solved the problem at the outset but didn't so he's the worst. It disturbs me that I picked John as worse than Jane but I just feel for the poor darling - she did what she thought she had to to get to John.........tricky! Tom could have helped by calling John but he is worse than Steven because at least Steven did something. I hate people like Tom.

What do you think?

Kymmie said...

Love this dilemma!

I think Jane should keep some secrets. Don't you? It wouldn't hurt, and it WAS life or death of her 'true love'. Sometimes you gotta do, what you gotta do.

So Coo, what do YOU think?


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