The purpose of the Milgram Experiment to test how far people would go in obeying an instruction even if it involved harming other humans. Rudy Wiebe created his characters to follow this idea in his short story, “Millstone for the Sun’s Day.”
The first characters to adhere to the rules on the Milgram Experiment are Joey’s parents. Right from the beginning they knew the end result of the trip and were afraid to ask questions. Their conscience knew it was wrong to kill an innocent human, but they were just following the orders of the capitulars. This is proven by the final quote, “She shuddered in the sunlight,” while hushing Joey. The story, however, revolves around Joey and how he eventually conforms to authority. At the start, Joey is this innocent child full of energy and thrilled to go on the Yacht trip he won. Every time Joey engages with the capitular his innocence starts to dissipate. By the end of the journey, when he is about to pull the lever, drowning his teacher, his innocence has turned into corruption. All because he was told what to do by the adults and acted accordingly. These characters had fallen into the same trap that befell the 20 participants in the Milgram Experiment. They too only acted on what they were encouraged to do, even if doing so went against their own moral beliefs. This proves that even the most well-adjusted person can be swayed to act in horrendous ways if the situation leads them to it. Anyone is vulnerable to this.
The Milgram Experiment has been reproduced recently in a French game show called The Game of Death. The idea was exactly the same, from the volts to the actors pretending to be shocked. The results were the same.
This concept is seen in multiple book series. The Maze Runner series by James Dashner, The Divergent series by Veronica Roth, and The Hunger Games series by Suzanne Collins, all share the same idea of people playing the rules set by the leaders. Everyone agreed to the rules, no matter how corrupt the concepts were. Until one protagonist decided to stand up to their leader and challenge the whole system they built.