Rhetorical Devices
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by Samantha Mo
| 7 Questions
Following are the opening paragraphs from Elie Wiesel’s acceptance speech when he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1986. How do Wiesel’s stylistic choices convey his challenge to take action, rather than remain silent, in the face of injustice?
It is with a profound sense of humility that I accept the honor you have chosen to bestow upon me. I know: your choice transcends me. This both frightens and pleases me.

It frightens me because I wonder: 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? [...] I do not. That would be presumptuous. No one may speak for the dead, no one may interpret their mutilated dreams and visions.

It pleases me because I may say that this honor belongs to all survivors and their children, and through us, to the Jewish people whose destiny I have always identified.

I remember: it happened yesterday or eternities ago. A young Jewish boy discovered the kingdom of night.

I remember his bewilderment, I remember his anguish. It all happened so fast. The ghetto. The deportation. The sealed cattle car. The fiery altar upon which the history of our people and the future of mankind were meant to be sacrificed.

I remember: he asked his father: “Can this be true?” This is the twentieth century, not the Middle Ages.
Who would allow such crimes to be committed? How could the world remain silent?

And now the boy is turning to me: “Tell me,” he asks. “What have you done with my future? What have you done with your life?”

And I tell him that I have tried. That I have tried to keep memory alive, that I have tried to fight those who forget, we are guilty, we are accomplices.

And then I explained to him how naive we were, that the world did know and remain silent. And this is why I swore never to be silent whenever and wherever human beings endure suffering and humiliation.
1
1
"I remember: it happened yesterday or eternitites ago. A young Jewish boy discovered the kingdom of night" is an example of BOTH
juxtaposition
allusion
metaphor
rhetorical question

2
1
"This both frightens and pleases me" is an example of
metaphor
imagery
anaphora
juxtaposition
3
1
"Do I have the right to represent the multitudes who have perished? Do I have the right to accept this great honor of their behalf?" is an example of
repetition
simile
anaphora
juxtaposition
4
1
"The fiery altar which the history of our people and the future of mankind were meant to be sacrificed" contain BOTH
metaphor
juxtaposition
simile
allusion
5
1
"This is the twentieth century, not the Middle Ages" is an example of
metaphor
simile
anaphora
allusion
6
1
"I remember his bewilderment, I remember his anguish" is an example of BOTH
parallelism
juxtaposition
anaphora
metaphor
7
1
"And I tell him that I have tried. That I have tried to keep memory alive, that I have tried to fight those who forget..." contain BOTH
alliteration
allusion
anaphora
repetition
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