Stanford Prison Experiment and Group Authority Essay

Submitted By jaquar
Words: 753
Pages: 4

The Individual and Authority-English
The topic of 'The Individual and Authority' shows us how different types of authority can impact your life positevely or negatively depending on the authority figures in your own life.
We see all different types of authority displayed in the book, 'We all Fall down' by Robert Cormier, a story about what 4 boys did to this innocent family, destroying their house and possessions and how both sides react with it, deal with it, with the help of their authority figures and my chosen related text, 'The Standford prison Experiment' a pyscological experiment conducted by Professor Zimbardo of Standford University in 1971 which highlights what can happen when having absolute power and Authority can change your very own identity. All different types of authority from group Authority, family authority and individual authority are shown in these texts.
One type of authority is group authority, were we see the power of it affecting the individual, the group mentatility can render you powerless in certain situations. we see this displayed in Buddy Walkers character in, 'We all Fall Down' where Harry Flowers and his posse make him powerless, having no say in most situations, he feels that he cannot challkenge Harry or the group dynamic.
We see how strong the family influence is to the upbringing of a child, where kids look up to their parents, want to follow in their footsteps of their actions, their outlook at life. Jane Jeromes character lives by her family's example, looks for support when her sister Karen is in a coma, and family is her main influence in life, "He was Mister Good Guy, wore white suits, stripped ties, smiled alot.... went to church with his family... Her father was a sweetheart".
Individual Authority is seen where an individual seeksover another, likes to have everything go his way and to control every situation that comes along. Harry Flowers is a good example, we see in this book, where he goes well in school, is on the school honour roll where this is used as a cover up of his real personality where he is cunning, smart and controls Buddy Walker, he takes advantage of his disadvantaged life, getting him and Harry's other friends (Marty and Randy) drunk to do his evil bidiing for him, as they lose control of themselves and he assumes control. In my related text the head prison guard of the experiment who was referred as 'John Wayne' is a similar character of Harry Flowers. As the head guard, he oversees the treatment of the prisoners. He takes his power too far, not giving the volunteers basic human rights, like cleaning a toilet with their bare hands. What John Wayne doesn't realise is that these are college students who volunteered and this experiment will have significant pyscological effects of it, losing their identites and only being as a