Role Play


Olivia Snider

Date of Award

Spring 4-22-2011

Document Type

Honors Project

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


English, Linguistics, and Communication

Major or Concentration

English (Creative Writing Concentration)


Role Play is a non-fiction essay in which Olivia Snider weaves together specific researched examples from the Stanford Prison experiment with her own narrative of her experience in Rappahannock Regional Jail. Balancing vivid scenes of memoir with speculative re-creations of the events of the Stanford Prison Experiment, Snider constructs an essay that is at once intensely personal and highly credible. She intersperses second-person voice as a link between the experiment and her own experience throughout the essay, and as a means to draw the reader in and invest him in the narrative. Through this framework of the essay, Snider discusses he progression of acclimation to a role by analyzes the effects of patterning behaviors and thought processes, asserting that repetition results in adaptation. She explores this along with the effects of forced sociological settings on developing personality and actions to provide a critique of the jail and prison systems.