Elie Wiesel's Speech Night

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Elie Wiesel’s speech, “Hope, Despair and Memory,” was given not only to accept the Nobel Peace Prize but also to commemorate the lives lost during the Holocaust. Elie Wiesel was a Jewish Holocaust survivor who devoted the remaining part of his life to preventing mass genocides like the Holocaust from happening again. After the Holocaust, Wiesel became a Professor at Boston University, but most of all, he became a humanitarian. In his lifetime, he wrote a total of about 40 books. His most popular is his memoir, “Night,” in which he wrote about his experiences during the Holocaust and his faith in God. Due to his influential humanitarian work, Elie Wiesel was honored the Nobel Peace Prize on December 10, 1986 in Oslo, Norway. He accepted the…show more content…
For example, Wiesel makes a symbol out of the Holocaust when he says, “A young Jewish boy discovered the Kingdom of Night” (Wiesel 4). The reason why he says, “the Kingdom of Night,” is because many memories and experiences from the Holocaust took place at night. The term night symbolizes many aspects of the Holocaust. All of these aspects are explained and described in his memoir, ironically called, “Night.” Some of these symbols for night were the time they were forced to leave their ghettos, the time they rode in a cable car as they were being transported to the first concentration camp, and most importantly, it was the time in which all the Jews could rest and attempt to contemplate what was happening to them. By comparing the Holocaust to the term, “Night,” Wiesel helps the audience fathom what the Jews had to go through during the Holocaust. The analogy gives people a better understanding of what had happened. Aside from this, Wiesel also references a story from the Bible. Wiesel describes the Holocaust as, “The fiery altar upon which the history of my people and the future of mankind were meant to be sacrificed” (Wiesel 4). In the Bible, there is a story in the book of Genesis where God tests Abraham’s faith and loyalty to Him. God commands Abraham to take Isaac, his beloved son, to the region of Moriah to sacrifice him as a burnt offering. Abraham, being…show more content…
In fact, to mention and honor the death of the Jewish people, Wiesel uses a form of syntactic parallelism to make it even more powerful. Wiesel asks, “Do I have the right to represent the multitudes who have perished? Do I have the right to accept this great honor on their behalf?” (Wiesel 2). Wiesel is very humble in the fact that he thinks he is unworthy of receiving this award, despite all of his great humanitarian work that affected the lives of millions. He feels as though that he is not nearly enough to represent the great loss of the Jewish population. In order to truly honor those who have perished, Wiesel believes something greater must come from it. The only way to make their deaths mean something, is for people to speak up against violence and cruelty done unto others. By repeating the phrase, “Do I have the right,” Wiesel puts emphasis on the fact that people must do more to honor the Jew’s deaths. Another example of parallelism is when Wiesel depicts the effects of not speaking up and doing the right thing. He claims, “Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented” (Wiesel 7). By staying silent, people are only aiding the person committing the wrongful deed. They are not helping the victim by being a bystander. If they really wanted to help those in need, they would say something rather than
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