View Full Version : Oratorical Competition

April 15th, 2005, 4:41 PM
I recently competed in the Raleigh National Oratorical Competition where I placed second with the following speech.

Yet before I begin, I bestow unto your souls this quotation: "Rationality is a rare commodity, and gullibility is rampant."

My Hero

In the preface to Elie Wiesels Night, Robert McAffee Brown wrote Those who hope for hope--after an eternity--are entitled to do so only if they have measured the power to obscure hope, only if they have lived in the shadow of utter denial. The rest of us, who have not inhabited the innermost circle of hell, can never know what it was like to be there It must be the prayer of our generation that with Wiesels help, we can recapture enough of that reality so that it will never be repeated. The Holocaust took twenty-one million lives collectively. Souls were tortured and families were wrenched apart. It is no wonder that survivors are loath to share their narrarations. However, despite their adamant reluctance, many have chosen to announce to the world what horrors confronted them in the wastelands of concentration camps. Just as Brown wrote, these experiences are retold in hopes that such a tragedy shall never fall unto the worlds lap again.
At the end of the war, after leaving Buchenwald, Elie Wiesel sought sanctuary in France. There he pursued a teaching career, seeking the comfort of the normalcies that those unhindered by the Nazi occupation took for granted. Wiesel imposed a ten-year vow of silence upon himself; his encounters had completely devastated and depressed him. Wiesel was enraged that his Eternal had not intervened, that his God had done nothing to stop the senseless genocide of his brethren. His formerly prominent confidence in the Jewish faith had long ago dissipated in the camps, just as they had taken his father.
One Catholic writer urged him to allow creation a glance at his tormented adolescence. He begged Wiesel to speak of his agony, to warn the masses of what individuals were capable of. Wiesel obliged the man, and it was with an anguished pleasure that he produced a slim volume of terrifying power. Wiesel later spoke of Night saying that it was impossible to write, but impossible not to write. When the memoir was first published, few chose to indulge in the shocking and painful account. A tale of a young teens stolen adolescence and innocence and hurried youth was not well-received by audiences. People feared the raw truth that Wiesel had so graphically described. There were no garnishes nor embellishments to the biography, simply truth. The publication was intended to give the unaffected populations a glimpse of the hell he and so many others were put through, just as his Catholic friend had asked. Wiesel spoke of his time in Auschwitz and Buchenwald, depicting the cruel mannerisms of the SS guards and the public killings of his fellow prisoners. He described to us the burning glaze of the crematoriums and the rancid stench of the barracks. We learned in gruesome detailing what had truly gone on in these containment camps. The man shared with world how inhumane and power-hungry humans could be. Wiesel bared his soul to us in hopes that none should ever be forced to experience what he had.
Wiesel wrote I wanted to see myself in the mirror hanging on the opposite wall. I had not seen myself since the ghetto. From the depths of the mirror a corpse gazed back at me. The look in his eyes as he stared into mine has never left me. Elie Wiesel took a bold step in reminding us that we are only human. He emphasized that we can be corrupted with power, and with this corruption, we could suffer heavy consequences.

Raichu Master
April 21st, 2005, 6:17 PM
You know I've been a big fan of your writing. This is a very good speech, it deserves the second place it got. Is there more to the speech? Or were you only required to write four paragraphs?

I always feel belittled by your vocabulary though. Although I know what the words mean...I, myself, wouldn't use the words...for fear I'd pronounce them wrong infront of a crowd.

There isn't much criticism I could possibly give you I'm afraid...I can normally find a hint of criticism for people...but...dang...I feel bad not having anything useful to say to you...

*shakes fist* Dang you're high intelligence level! *goes off ranting and raving about how smart Blaine is compared to himself* XD

May 15th, 2005, 9:50 AM
Oh, John, thank you very, very much. I always appreciate your comments.

No, there is no more to the speech; though I do reccomend that you bury your nose in Wiesel's memoir Night. It is a mind-boggling account that I believe all ought to read. He actually has a trilogy of memoirs attesting to the horrors of the Holocaust and his life afterward.

The only requirement for the speech was that it was to be no less than four minutes long and no more than five.

May 15th, 2005, 10:06 AM
I won't pretend to know a whole lot about oratorical writing, it's one of my weaker areas. What I did notice, however, is that it's quite biographical. Your actual reasoning for why you chose him as a hero takes up a rather small portion of the speech itself.

May 23rd, 2005, 10:12 AM
As always, Takai, you come out with the better... Critique, not that I don't appreciate it. I can see how it is more biographical. Just allow me one excuse, the topic is so terribly fickle.

May 23rd, 2005, 12:14 PM
recommend* =P

I admire your eloquence throughout the speech. As Dodger pointed out, there was a rather small quantity of information on why you actually chose him for a hero. You've digressed on things about Wiesel's reason for publishing the book, the direct truth if you will. I'm not sure if I'm making sense or just babbling incoherence.

Either way, it wasn't conspicuously noted. Congratulations on your second place! ^^