This resource packet contains questions and activities that guide students through a close analysis of Elie Wiesel's speech "The Perils of Indifference: Lessons Learned from a Violent Century" and a brief comparison with Wiesel's Nobel Prize acceptance speech. The analysis activities are in three parts: close analysis text-dependent questions for the first half of the speech (paragraphs 1-17), instructions for student groups to analyze the second half of the speech independently (paragraphs 18-31), and two culminating questions asking students to compare this speech to Wiesel's Nobel Prize acceptance speech. All questions have been designed to meet to the Common Core Standards for reading informational texts.
Using these questions and activities, students practice identifying central ideas and evidence that supports them, identifying claims and evidence, understanding how ideas are developed and refined, determining whether evidence is relevant and sufficient, determining connections between ideas in the speech, determining the author's tone and reasons for any shifts, determining the author's purpose and rhetorical strategies and devices, and analyzing multiple accounts of a subject. All questions build upon one another to build a deep understanding of the speech. Students practice analyzing the text with specific, focused questions for the first half before applying their analysis skills to the second half of the text during the group activity, for which students have specific instructions for analyzing the elements listed above for sections of the text.
The questions can be used for individual analysis or small- or whole-group discussion of the text. They are also great to leave for substitutes!
The Microsoft Word document is fully editable, so you can decide what questions you want your students to answer! Question 3 in the first section and the final two questions in the packet ask students to compare this speech to Wiesel's Nobel Prize acceptance speech but can be deleted if you are teaching this text only.
All paragraph references refer to the version of the speech available from American Rhetoric:
"The Perils of Indifference: Lessons Learned from a Violent Century"