Elie Wiesel’s speech follows a clever structure, first, the his recollection of the holocaust, second, the facts about the horrors of the war, by this strategy he has to goals to achieve in his speech; to convey the factual information and earn empathy from the audience regarding the victims of the horrors of the holocaust. He talks about the indifferent and the harms it can bring to humanity, he says its worsts than hatred. He talks about civil wars, wars, and genocide still happening all over the world and the impossibility involves in stopping it, he has all the evidence he can bring. The speech is highly emotional due to its sensitive subject matter. One cannot stop but imagine the shreds of evidence he brought about the massive violation of human rights.
Like his many speeches, he starts ‘The Perils of Indifference’ with a story, the story about Buchenwald and his gratitude for the America and its struggle for peace. Then he goes on to explain the present horrors of the world where his personal experience is self-evident and the meaning of the word ‘indifference’, and by the end of his speech, he talks about the ‘extra-ordinary’ possibility for hope and well-being that human beings can achieve.
‘The Perils of Indifference’ is primarily designed to persuade the audience and the self-referential evidence is the vital technique used by Elie Wiesel. His tone is anxious, compassionate and serious during the course of the speech. The techniques like parallelism, repletion, charged language, bifurcation and rhetorical questions are used throughout the speech. The questions are not asked to be answered by the audience but to simply involve and engage them emotionally. In parallelism, he relates the present condition of the world with the holocaust and questions the audience to action. The words like God, humanity, and gratitude are repeated in the speech to emphasize his point. Considering the seriousness of his subject matter Elie Wiesel uses charged language to stimulate emotion in the audience, the words like despair, suffering, meaninglessness, eternal infamy, rage, and compassion are used raise emotions among the audience. The words like ‘good and bad’, ‘crime and punishment’, ‘cruelty and compassion’, ‘dawn and dust’ etc. are used to criticize neutrality and indifference the main thesis of his speech. Furthermore, there are literary as well as philosophical, political and geographical references in the speech.
The vocal delivery of Elie Wiesel’s speech is as persuasive as his subject-matter, he pauses, he raises his voice, he lowers his voice and one can sense the emotional trajectory of his voice as he proceeds in his speech. For an instance, the part where he describes anger, and hatred with contrast to indifference the sheer seriousness of his voice is powerful and suggestive. Throughout his speech, Elie’s delivery injects pathos into his words and words itself become emotions. The articulation is controlled as well as the pronunciation of the words. Nonetheless, the accent is foreign as English was not Elie’s first language. All the more Elie’s vocal are clear and distinct. He does not scream and he is not load but smooth and calm yet it appoints and moves the audience.
As far as the physical delivery is concerned Elie’s Wiesel speech is near to perfection, he uses hand gesticulation, he has a good eye contact even though he read his whole speech from the paper, and during the course of his speech he times and time again in order to stress his point moves and bow his head slightly up and down. During the course of the speech he does not leave the rostrum, he stood firm like he did during the holocaust.