Societal Norms In Elie Wiesel's Night

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“Those who kept silent yesterday will remain silent tomorrow”. That was what Elie Wiesel said in the original yiddish version of his book Night. Society creates labels for everyone and everything. If people go against the society will be hostile. The hostility of society has made people not speak up when they see something wrong. Society limits so many things that a person could ask the question: How do societal norms limit individuals and the power of words? Societal norms can cause individuals to not speak up when they see something wrong, therefore limiting the power of words and limiting the individual themselves. Individuals may keep quiet because they are frightened of what the consequences may be, of what society says, and because…show more content…
The world did not pry because they did not want to get involved. When Elie’s father said: “The world? The world is not interested in us’,” he was hinting towards willful ignorance. They have an idea but do not want to fully know because if they knew, then they would have to get involved. Another example was when Oprah got the Cecil B. deMille award, she gave an acceptance speech. In the speech she said, “In my career, what I've always tried my best to do, whether on television or through film, is to say something about how men and women really behave. To say how we experience shame, how we love and how we rage, how we fail, how we retreat, persevere and how we overcome.” Oprah is trying to say that she is trying to limit the amount of people that use willful ignorance to not speak up. This is because she says she is trying to say something about how people act. She is trying to not be willfully ignorant and is trying to get people’s stories out to others so they won’t be willfully ignorant. Finally, Clint Smith’s TED Talk “The Danger of Silence” is all about speaking up, saying the truth, whether individuals want to or not. In it he said, “We spend so much time listening to the things people are saying that we rarely pay attention to the things they don’t” (Smith). This is also hinting to willful ignorance. Everything someone says has hidden meanings, when Smith says this he is…show more content…
Society has limits and ideals, and if you don’t agree or try to test them society will find a way to limit them. For example, in Clint Smith’s “The Danger of Silence”, he talks about someone he knew who was gay. “When Christian was beat up for being gay, I put my hand in my pocket and walked with my head down as if I didn’t even notice.” (Smith). Being gay is not an ideal in society, so people judge gay people and beat them up. When Smith saw the kid being beat up he did not say anything because he was afraid of how society would react, or label him, so society made Smith fearful of it’s reaction causing him to not say anything. So society not only limited him but his power to say something, limiting his words. Another example of society limiting people and the power of words is in Oprah’s Cecil B. deMille acceptance speech. She emphasised: “women have not been heard or believed if they dare speak the truth to the power of those men” (Winfrey). Society also creates gender roles in life, gender roles are a big part of society today. In this quote she is talking about how women have not been heard or when they would speak up individuals would not believe them because of gender roles. When they would limit women, people would look at them as lesser than therefore not believing what they would say. Gender roles were created by what
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