SAT Practice Essay about “The Perils of Indifference,” delivered at the White House in Washington, D.C. on April 12, 1999.
Elie Wiesel’s speech was full of emotions, facts, word choice, appealing to his audience about what his experience through the Holocaust. It is important for human beings to leave a legacy for newer generations and it is important to consider what type of legacy one individual wants to relay. Is this a legacy that will inspire new generations or is it a legacy in which we show that human beings have nothing good to give to others, but indifference. “What will the legacy of this vanishing century be? How will it be remembered in the new millenium? The author wanted to get the full attention of his audience, and by providing an appealing introduction to his speech, he sure got attention. His word choice presenting to the audience facts about historic events that have shaped world history and how individuals have been indifferent.
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He mentioned in his speech: the two world wars, countless civil wars, the senseless chain of assassinations: Gandhi, the Kennedys, Dr. Martin Luther King, Sadat, and others. He wanted to appeal to the sense of compassion of people and call for a change of attitude by using different literary devices, in this case, he used the literary device “Allusion”. He made reference to important events and important people who has been assassinated. He wanted to make people understand that there is much more in one’s individual than just indifference. There are many things to give back to others and to other people of the world.
These important people who were assassinated tried to work on behalf of others in one way or another. They were not indifferent. This was not exactly said on the text, it was implied. He provided the definition of the word “Indifference” which means “No Difference”.
He also questioned the audience: “Is there a philosophy of indifference conceivable? Can one possibly view indifference as a virtue”. The power of his words and his word choice along with the descriptions and a call to one’s conscience of what is right or wrong. Repetition was used throughout the reading and this was a choice that the author made to support his speech, his language was appealing throughout the entire reading. Through the use of his words, he made sure that he considered every individual’s attitudes and characteristics. People are tempted by indifference, but people have a choice of whether to be indifferent or not. People have a choice to make others while being indifferent or otherwise. To conclude, he reinstated his questions from the beginning of the reading and the passage shows a hopeful ending. Does it 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? He was referring to all the facts he provided, he described earlier in the passage and how humanity seems to be learning from their mistakes.
He acknowledge how Presidents are now intervening with situations around the world in which the basic rights of human beings are violated. Elie Wiesel’s speech was full of facts, the author wanted his message to be heard. Besides hearing a message, he wanted people to understand and keep something in them for the good of humanity. His message was full of definitions, information, word choices that were thought carefully to be used to help support his persuasive message. He knew very well how to connect his ideas to the message and to make people hear: his message was descriptive, informative, appealing, full of facts and it kept the audience engaged. By using all of these elements, he kept his audience engaged and convinced them of his point of view was correct and people must not be indifferent.