A Rhetorical Analysis of Elie Wiesel's "The Perils of Indifference"

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Instead of a rough draft, I created a strong outline and some references that I may use to support my claims.


-At the end of a century, and the start of a new millennium, our world has witnessed both atrocities and amazing displays of human compassion. 

-One of the greatest displays of violence and compassion is in World War II. 

-The Nazi regime concentration camps, with gas chambers and incinerators, tried to decimate an entire religious group and promote anti-Semitism.

-However, the courageous displays of soldiers through Europe and The United States showed there was still hope for a better future.

-Elie Wiesel, the author of Night, describes both the violence and courage in speech, but also describes the indifference of the bystander, which is far worse than even hate or anger.

Thesis:  In "The Perils of Indifference," Elie Wiesel successfully orates to the kairos of the approaching new millennium while using ethos in order to maintain the audience's attention to create a powerful nd moving discourse.

Main Idea #1: Referring to the kairos of the forthcoming millennium and the end of the 20st century, Elie Weisel uses this idea in order to show the importance of a new start to never again create the turbulence of the past. 

-Refers to the "threshold of a new century, a new millennium" at the beginning and at the end he says that "we walk towards the new millennium."

-Uses alliteration to describe the urgency of changing indifference throughout his speech.

-Starts the essay explaining the violence and chaos of the past century, from the assassinations, civil wars, and "dark shadows [cast] over humanity."

-Then he slowly delves into the compassion and kindness of humanity, from the Christians during the Holocaust, "the collapse of communism," and the "demise of apartheid."

-Questions if the past has truly helped us to bring about a better future for ourselves and the future generations

-Uses the children as a way to appeal to pathos-how "so many of them could be saved." (This transitions to Main Idea #2.)

Main Idea #2: Uses his knowledge and experience of the past to express the importance of stopping indifference.

-He survived Buchenwald.

-Has seen and experienced unfathomable atrocities in this world; we could learn so much about how to stop these acts of violence in the future.

-Has met many political leaders, such as Hilary Clinton, and been to various meetings of political leaders.

-Understands the "Seductive[ness]" of indifference and how a person would not want to take a stand


-With his experience and the impending future, Elie Wiesel expresses the necessity of stopping indifference to give future generations renewed hope and promise.


So far, I am using Night, by Elie Wiesel and The Diary of Anne Frank definitely.

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