Projects > Critting the Thematic Apperception Test

Card 7BM
Card 7BM
Test Card and Text on Paper

I see an older man positioned next to a younger man. The older man is placed above the younger man, suggesting a hierarchy between them. The younger man has a concerned expression on his face; the corner of his mouth is contorted downward. His gaze is focused outside of the frame. The older man is looking down on the younger man and he appears less concerned—either he is not affected by whatever the young man is worried about, or he is more able to contain his emotion. The older man’s attention is focused on the younger man, and this suggests to me that he is consoling the younger man. The older man has light hair and a dark suit, while the younger man has dark hair and a light suit. They are eerie inverses of each other.

As with the other images in this cluster, this card evokes a parent-child relationship, in this case between a father and a son. It seems to suggest that the son has a problem and is worried about disappointing the father, and the father, because of his age and wisdom, is in the position to help or not help the son. This image does not present the men as equals; we see the father’s full face, while we see only the profile of the son’s, and the son seems to be hunched over. This card expresses the ambivalence of the father complex—is the father to be feared and defied? Or loved and admired? Either way, the hierarchical position of father and son is embedded in the image itself.