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Elie Wiesel- The Perils of Indifference

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on 3 December 2013

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Transcript of Elie Wiesel- The Perils of Indifference

Elie Wiesel
Context & Background
The Perils of Indifference
Techniques
Parallelism:
repeated use of the same grammatical structures.
Repetition:
repeating an idea in the same words
Charged Language:
words used to cause an emotion.
Juxtaposition:
the fact of two things being seen or placed close together with contrasting effect
Rhetorical Questions:
questions with obvious answers that are asked not because answers are expected but to involve the audience emotionally in the speech
Parallelism

Repetition
Throughout the speech, Elie repeats specific words such as gratitude, humanity, indifference, and God. The repetition of these words stresses the significance of these topics in relation to his opinion on the issue and assists in relaying his story.
Charged Language
Elie Wiesel uses many examples of charged language throughout the speech. He specifically plays on emotions in his efforts to bring forth the severity of his issue and the point he is making. He uses words like rage, compassion, eternal infamy, despair, meaningless, and suffering. Words, such as these, cause reactions within the audience. Elie Wiesel uses charged language to achieve his purpose of drawing attention to pain within the world.
Elie was born in 1928 in Sighet, Transylvania. He was only 15 years old when his family was deported to Auschwitz. They were all later moved to Buchenwald, where his father, mother and younger sister eventually died. The camp was liberated in April 1945. He had survived the Holocaust and after the war he studied in Paris and became a journalist. Elie Wiesal is the president of The Elie Wiesal Foundation for Humanity, an organization created by his wife and him to fight indifference, intolerance, and injustice.
As a holocaust survivor and a Nobel Laureate, Elie Wiesel gave an inspiring speech on April 12th, 1999 in the East room of the White House, as part of the Millennium Lecture Series, which was hosted by President Bill Clinton and first lady Hillary Clinton.
Ex: "...for what you are doing for children in the world, for the homeless, for the victims of injustice, and the victims of destiny and society."
-Elie uses Parallelism to shed light on the need to help victims of extreme tragedies and those less fortunate.
Ex: "... to fight fascism, to fight dictatorship, to fight Hitler."
-Parallelism is used to put emphasis on the discrimination and abuse occurring around the world. Also it causes people to unite and fight against suppression.
Juxtaposition
Rhetorical Questions
One of Elie Wiesel's prime techniques is his use of rhetorical questions.
Ex. " Does it mean that we have learned from the past? Does it mean that society has changed? Has the Human being become less indifferent and more human?"
- Again, Wiesel's purpose is to cause emotion within the audience. He uses these questions to cause people to think of human races' past and our future.
By Elie Wiesel
The Perils of Indifference
Wrap Up
Elie was very effective in this speech. He shows people referencing a lot to the holocaust on the indifference of people and their views, religions, cultures, or skin color. We as a society have become more united and have come a long way from the dreadful past of the holocaust which answers his use of rhetorical questions. He speaks to people to really look past the indifference of each other and none of us are the same and never will be and to accept everyone and everything. Nobody is perfect we are all indifferent and have our good and bad sides to us. We are also the opposite of each other, which can be seen in his examples of juxtaposition .
The Perils of Indifference
What is indifference? Etymologically, the word means "no difference" A strange and unnatural state in which the lines blur between light and darkness, dusk and dawn, crime and punishment, cruelty and compassion, good and evil. What are its courses and inescapable consequences? Is it a philosophy? Is there a philosophy of indifference conceivable? Can one possibly view indifference as a virtue? Is it necessary at times to practice it simply to keep one's sanity, live normally, enjoy a fine meal and a glass of wine, as the world around us experiences harrowing upheavals? Of course indifference can be tempting-- more than that, seductive. It is so much easier to look away from victims. It is so much easier to avoid such rude interruptions to our work, our dreams, our hopes. It is, after all, awkward, troublesome, to be involved in another person's pain and despair.
Ex. " ...light and darkness, dusk and dawn, crime and punishment, cruelty and compassion, good and evil."
- This statement is an exact example of juxtaposition. Each part of the sentence compares two opposite things. He uses this because he is showing how indifference is described by the good side but to every good thing there is a bad side to it too.
Meghan Kendra & Lauren Rodin
Full transcript