Categories > Movies > Newsies > Zimbardo0 Reviews
Modern day college newsies agree to take part in a dangerous psychological experiment. Will they ever be the same afterwards? Story is losely based on original Zimbardo experiment.
Note: This story is loosely based on the Stanford Prison Experiment, created by Philip Zimbardo. I have changed many of the circumstances (it's not done by Zimbardo, different ages, different stories, ect.), but have kept the basic idea of the experiment the same. To learn about the real Zimbardo experiment, go here: http://en. .
"I can go?" the pathetic boy asked, staring up at the guard with wide eyes. The guard looked back down at him and tried to smile.
"Yeah, David, you can go."
"That's right." Les watched as his brother stood up, dragging a torn brown blanket behind him. He looked down at his own uniform, noting that its former khaki color had faded into a dull brown matching the blanket. He lifted his head. All around he saw his former college classmates carrying the same blankets as David had. Some of them were crying, and some were leaning against each other, unable to stand up by themselves. He perked up as he heard an announcement on the speakers.
"All guards please report to the conference room," it called. The boys chosen to be guards made their way to the large room, and sat around a familiar desk. Brian Denton sat at the head of the table, looking around at all of them with a frown.
"Unfortunately, our original plan of having this last for a week has been cut down to the past three days. Let's hope we still got proper results.
"We're going to watch the tape of the riot," he told them, and began playing the hour long clip. It seemed to take days to finish. The boys watched as men in army uniforms took fire extinguishers off the walls to threaten the approaching prisoners. They watched a man push another against a wall and make him recite Shakespeare while he screamed into his ears. They watched victims forced to do push ups in sets of 100 hundred, over and over until they couldn't continue. Finally, the riot ended, and the prisoners were filtered into two cells. The lights went out to total blackness, and all you could hear was the laughter from the guards, taunting the prisoners who begged for nothing but sleep. It was amazing that all of these boys were mere college students, and that all of it was just the beginning of the worst three days of their lives.
The boys in the room were shaken by what they had seen. Finally, one spoke up.
"They were asking for it," Patrick Conlon announced from his seat opposite Mr. Denton. "They didn't know when to stop." There was total quiet from the group.
"We didn't know when to stop."
The boy who used to call himself Itey pushed his hands over his face, attempting to create a shield around himself that he couldn't see through, so that he couldn't see the stares from those around him. He began to cry, and was not judged. He was calmed by a boy once named Pie Eater, who was dressed like him.
"Would you say that this experiment was non-ethical?" Denton asked the group. A few of them nodded their heads. Jeffrey Bar, a boy with a leather patch covering his eye, verbalized his opinion, facing Patrick.
"It wasn't right. They didn't even do anything. There was no reason for us to punish them."
"He's right," Jake nodded. "It went too far."
"Would you say that something was learned from this experiment?" Mr. Denton continued, now reading off of a list. "If so, what?"
"People are jerks," Boots, who still went by that name, offered. A dark haired boy with glasses continued the thought.
"We're too easily swayed," he decided bitterly. All the boys agreed, even Mr. Conlon, who seemed somewhat softened. It didn't stop him from talking.
"So, do we get to leave now, or what?"
"If you wish. You can pick up your pay checks on your way out...there's one for each of you."
They all left, agreeing to come back for further questioning if ever required. On the way out, Les turned back.
"Where are the prisoners?" he asked.
"They will be returned to their dorms after a quick health check," Denton answered him calmly.
"Are they okay?"
"Oh yes. None of them suffered any permanent physical damage."
Les gulped and began turning around.
"You might find, however," Brian Denton called out to him. Les turned back, "that their personalities will leave something to be desired. They should be fine in a few weeks."
"Thank you," Les whispered, and closed the door behind him, hoping that there wouldn't be any more to hear. After receiving his check of $600 he left the building, and returned to his own dorm room. He was soon visited by Racetrack, a boy who hadn't participated in the experiment.
"I hear that they're pretty screwed up," he said, sitting down. Les nodded.
"How's Itey?" he asked, knowing that Itey had practically run from the building. He must have gotten there before him.
"He's in his room. He locked Snitch out. We're all really worried."
Racetrack sighed, eyeing the younger boy.
"How are you?"
Les shook his head.
"Maybe...maybe I just want to be alone too. Just for a while."
"Okay," Racetrack agreed, offering a smile. On his way out he remembered something. "Tumbler's going to be here soon. Think you can handle it?"
"God..." Les whispered. He looked over at the two beds in the small room, knowing that he'd soon have to sleep next to a boy he had brutally abused, however non-physically the abuse may have been.
"Why did I want to do this?" he asked, begging Racetrack for an answer. "It was so stupid."
"You didn't know that yet."
"Why didn't I just leave?" That question was rhetorical. Racetrack frowned.
"He can stay with me," he decided. "I have a feeling that a few of the guys will be, tonight."
"Yeah," Les agreed. Racetrack began to leave. Les called out to him. "What're we going to do about this?" Racetrack instantly turned back.
"Look," he said, "All you need to know is that none of this is your fault, okay? It would have happened to anybody. That was the whole point."
Les nodded as the door closed, and the lights from the hallway stopped lighting the now dark room. He opened the blinds. Down below, a car full of now modestly clothed boys was emptying, being caught as they approached the building by friends and girlfriends. None of them looked healthy. Moreover, none of them looked like they were about to be very normal any time soon.
That was the whole point.