In the speech, “Perils of Indifference,” Elie Wiesel, the author of Night, conveys his message that indifference entices inhumanity as a lack of acknowledgement to one’s suffering is advantageous to an assailant and provides “no elicit response. ” Therefore, the individual with a sense of indifference is a determining factor in others’ distress for the reason that without involvement, the victim will never be assisted. Sentiments of anger and hatred possess the ability to endorse positive conclusions, however indifference incites no reaction because of the absence of participation.
Wiesel develops his claim by providing a series of background information to display credibility and personal experiences to amplify the emotions of the audience. He also utilizes a variety of tropes and schemes, including parallelism, repetition, rhetorical questions, and juxtaposition to enhance his arguments. Overall, a calm, but impactful tone is applied to preserve the audience’s interest and at the same time create a non-aggressive approach. Wiesel’s purpose is to promote awareness of the repercussions of indifference in the future to prevent tragedies and violence on a lobal scale.
Wiesel commences his speech with gratitude and knowledge towards his audiences. He recalls an account of himself as a Jewish boy in third person, who was liberated by American soldiers during the Nazi Holocaust. In addition, Wiesel indicates to the spectators the conflicts and injustices that originated in the 20th century. The author prompts himself with opportunity to grasp the audience’s attention as people are compassionate on the account of past, personal tragedies and are intrigued by the information the speaker will express in his unique perspective.
Firstly, he reveals the tragedy of Jewish boy, who is himself; “Fifty-four years ago to the day, a young Jewish boy from a small town in the Carpathian Mountains woke up, not far from Goethe’s beloved Weimar, in a place of eternal infamy called Buchenwald. He was finally free, but there was no joy in his heart. He thought there never would be again. Liberated a day earlier by American soldiers, he remembers their rage at what the saw. ” Wiesel recognizes the service Americans accomplished for his protection and utilized the term “rage” as charged language to indicate the soldiers were furious t the inhumanity he experienced.
Thus, the audience is encompassed with sentiment and are more susceptible to be more observant of the reason that triggered this event, which is indifference. The Jewish boy is a prime example of the destructive power indifference has towards humanity as it leaves the feeling of desolation in its wake. In modern times, children face violence in the Middle East such as Alan Kurdi, a Middle Eastern boy who drowned in the Mediterranean Sea in an attempt to escape conflict similar to the many Jewish boys that struggled to flee from Nazi Germany.
Although they do not know it, these children are representations of innocence, who are unaware that their situation could have been prevented if not for the indifference of other countries. In both these situations the U. S. is idle to help end the suffering of a people and the purpose of the speech is to change that very aspect. Wiesel expresses gratitude to the U. S. government as he is indeed thankful, but also it is a strategy to develop a non- aggressive approach to the audience as he will be identifying the tragedies that Americans created by their indifference.
Background information is also provided as a means of enlightening the audience of events unknown to them and to increase the credibility of himself. For instance, the “bloodbaths in Cambodia and Algeria.. ” are two events that were perhaps unknown to the viewers; however, if these conflicts are recognized Wiesel will be perceived as out of the ordinary and develop compassion from the audience as loss of life releases emotions from a person.
Evidence that has this severity are prime examples to avoid indifference, the listener will be prompted to eliminate catastrophes similar to the violence he ndicated in his speech from happening in the future. The addition of background information and personal experiences is linked to the canon of structure. During the middle portion of the speech, Wiesel establishes the meaning of indifference and its effects as well as indicating multiple instances of background information and expressing several tropes and schemes.
Wiesel specifies the meaning of indifference: “What is indifference? Etymologically, the word means ‘no difference. ” to increase the importance of this term. This action is an “unnatural state in which the lines blur between ight and darknes.. ” as nothing is done when someone performs this act. People find it easier to engage in indifference, as they are not required to perform anything, however the ones who suffer are reduced to not worth of someone’s effort.
He utilizes parallelism to indicate that people would rather benefit themselves through ignoring others’ problems by communicating, “It is so much easier to avoid such rude interruptions to our work, our dreams, our hopes. ” The “Muselmanner” are instances of this as felt they were forgotten by humanity. If governments around the world had intervened n the Nazi Holocaust initially, the “Muselmanner” would never exist as numerous amounts of them would have been liberated or given hope.
People will feel the obligation to prevent injustices like these victims faced from happening in the future, therefore accepting the author’s purpose of increasing awareness of indifference. In order to reinforce his message, Wiesel utilizes his own traditions as he expresses that people who believe in God would be scorned at by him rather than to be forsaken as worshippers will feel abandoned. God is expressed in Wiesel’s speech as most people in the American ociety have knowledge or are connected to him, therefore prompting the audience to feel related and thus are more inclined to accept Wiesel’s message.
He describes indifference as, “Indifference elicits no response. Indifference is not a response. Indifference is not a beginning; it is an end. ” Repetition is utilized in this instance to emphasize the lack of effect it has on helping a situation as it “benefits the aggressor. ” Wiesel incorporates the incident in St. Louis in which about 1,000 Jews were shipped back to Nazi Germany even after the Kristallnacht. This background information provokes the udience to question the morality of the decision by the government as these people were sent to their demise. In modern times, the U.
S. education system does not teach this to students, therefore people become intrigued to learn more about the terrible mistake that was committed. Wiesel introduces the conclusion of the speech by providing all the good events that have occurred in the 20th century such as the revival of Israel on its original land and the downfall of communism. He calls the American public to act against the atrocities produced by indifference using rhetorical questions, ragedies of children, and once more the Jewish boy to emphasize the obligation of people in the future in the event of violence.
Throughout the speech, Wiesel has prompted the audience to avoid indifference; however, it is at this section that the listeners are tested on whether they will be involved to aid the people in distress or simply avoid. He claims that the U. S. finally intervened in the Kosovo war, which enabled countless lives to be saved. However, Wiesel questions his audience: “Does it mean that we have learned from our past? Does it mean that society has changed? Has the human being become less indifferent and more human? Have we really learned from our experiences?
Are we less insensitive to the plight of victims of ethnic cleansing and other forms of injustices in places near and far? ” These rhetorical questions prompt the audience to “become less indifferent and more human” and realize the faults in the 20th century. The addition of the Kosovo war indicates that Wiesel has some reassurance that people have overcome indifference. The public will be inclined to ask these questions to themselves, influencing their future choices on the ccount of witnessing or involvement.
Also, he appeals to the American public emotionally by speaking of the children’s tragic future prompting several of the audience members to relate as they have their own children and therefore feel obligated to contribute to a child’s well-being by not participating in indifference, which is ultimately the speaker’s purpose. In conclusion, Wiesel claims that indifference invites injustice, assists in assailants against victims, and restrains positive outcomes. Continuously, people are suffering for a variety of reasons, however a large amount of them can be solved by ontribution or involvement by others.
Victims and survivors like Wiesel grow tired of all the injustices that are committed by lack of acknowledgment. They are disappointed by the amount of people who do not realize what they are doing by simply watching the news and changing the channel without second thought. In the end, Wiesel utilizes a calm, but impactful tone to be non-aggressive in indicating the wrongs of the U. S. to keep the audience’s attention. His purpose is to increase awareness of indifference as it causes atrocities on a large scale.