Elie Wiesel’s “The Perils of Indifference” Speech

Elie Wiesel’s “The Perils of Indifference” Speech

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Elie Wiesel’s “The Perils of Indifference” Speech
Elie Wiesel, a Noble Peace Prize winner and Boston University Professor, presented a speech as part of the Millennium Lecture Series at the White House on April 12, 1999. President Bill Clinton and his wife Hillary Clinton hosted the formal lecture series. Numerous dignitaries from a wide array of public, private and foreign office attended the event. Although Elie Wiesel designed his speech to persuade, it actually fell somewhat outside the deliberative genre category, as being more non-typical within this genre category.
The speech is unique in a way that cascades it into a genre classification considered as a hybrid deliberative genre. Wiesel produces this hybrid genre by bending or incorporating several different genres within the main speech while he attempts to persuade the audience. While the speech looks to the past, its main points focus on the future. Wiesel produces this hybrid genre by blending or fusing additional elements or traits from other genres such as forensic and epideictic. These factors coupled with a multitude of discourse elements woven within the speech such as an autobiography, historical narrative, along with the use of storytelling, tied within the confines of a jeremiad, which includes religious rhetoric, culminates into an extraordinary epideictic address. This paper will analyze these elements in order to draw a distinct correlation to the hybrid deliberative genre theory.
Wiesel’s speech, persuasive in nature, was designed to educate his audience as to the violence and killing of innocent people across the globe. Wiesel spoke of acts that had taken place throughout his lifetime, from his youth, up through present day atrocities. His focu...


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...erfections presented by indifference (Matza, 2013).



Works Cited


1. Lyon, A., & Olson, L. C. (2011). Special Issue on Human Rights Rhetoric: Traditions of Testifying and Witnessing. Rhetoric Society Quarterly, 41(3), 203-212.

2. Wiesel, E. (1999). The perils of indifference. Washington, DC, April, 12.

3. Dr. Lawrence, Carmen. (2003). Fear and Denial in Public Policy. Australian Psychological Society (APS) Sydney Branch. June, 03

4. Bressman, Eric (2006). Fighting Indifference: Looking at World Responses to the Holocaust with Elie Wiesel. Columbia University.

5. Matza, A. (2013). Indifference. lambda pi eta undergraduate journal, Volume 1, # 1, 33.

6. Engelhardt, I. (2002). A Topography of Memory: Representations of the Holocaust at Dachau and Buchenwald in comparison with Auschwitz, Yad Vashem and Washington DC. Presses Interuniversitaires Européennes.

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