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"The Perils of Indifferences" by Elie Wiesel

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The famous speech given by Elie Wiesel called “The Perils of Indifferences” was one of the best speeches given. Wiesel used rhetorical strategies to prove his message. That indifference is worse than hate. He questions the morals of other’s. Elie used ethos, pathos, logo and kairos. Wiesel starts off with a pathos by building up emotions towards the Holocaust. Then he uses logos to start explain what indifference is, and reasons with people’s logic. His tone of speech, style and his character are what defines his ethos.

Finally, he uses a kairos. Elie demonstrates a specific example showing that the US had an opportunity to do something, yet nothing was done. Although his speech contains some wrong statements, it does not hinder his argument. Overall, the author of this speech effectively persuades the audience to understand the message through appeals. The first appeal used is pathos by developing the audiences’ emotions he is able to gain their attention and to ensure that the audience will sympathize with the victims. The use of anecdotes helps to develop the audience’s feelings and to paint an image of the camp. The first is a description of his liberation and his own feelings. The phrase “He was finally free, but there was no joy in his heart. He thought there never would be again” shows that he has given up and the audience begins to emphasize with him as wells as other survivors. This leads the audience to question their morals and to get them to consider indifference as a problem. The use of anecdotes helps develop another picture that the audience can relate to and start to feel for the victims of the Holocaust. Wiesel wants the audience to be uncomfortable, wants them to feel a mix of grief and remorse, so that when he starts asking the tough—and rhetorical—questions, they’ll really take the time to think about them.

Does this 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? 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? Is today’s justified intervention in Kosovo, led by you, Mr.President, a lasting warning that never again will the deportation, the terrorization of children and their parents, be allowed anywhere in the world? Will it discourage other dictators in other lands to do the same? Wiesel isn’t going to provide an answer, and he doesn’t. So, now it’s up to the audience to decide, and to take action and choose not to be indifferent so society really will change. He splits his speech in 6 sections. Elie Wiesel began a number of his speeches with a story, and “The Perils of Indifference” is no different.

Section 1, he talks about his liberation from Buchenwald 54 years earlier and why he was—and still is—so grateful to the Americans.

Section 2, According to Wiesel, it might seem both easy and harmless to ignore atrocities, but the effect is anything but banal. Indifferences might sound harmless but it isn’t.

Section 3, Elie believes that all the wars and battles fought are because of indifference, he names a lot of the assassinations and blood baths of countries.

Section 4, during the Holocaust he categorized people in 3 ways, the killers, victims, and bystanders. There were people called the “Righteous Gentiles” they are the ones who help fight Nazi’s and free Jew’s from concentration camps.

Section 5, It turns out that the Pentagon had information on what Hitler was doing to Jews over in Europe, and FDR and the Allies chose not to intervene. Even worse than that, U.S. companies continued to do business with Hitler well into World War II. It’s hard to explain away that kind of indifference, and it’s unacceptable. However, Hitler tried to go through Mexico and take over the US but Mexico declined.

Section 6, the 20th century was filled with horrors upon horrors. But despite all he’d experienced and all the things he’d seen, Wiesel is still hopeful that things will get better.

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“The Perils of Indifferences” by Elie Wiesel. (2019, January 15). GradesFixer. Retrieved October 24, 2021, from
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