Veronica's English 1302 Portfolio

Essays Done In Daniel Tyx's Class

Understanding the Journey: Rhetorical Analysis of Enrique’s Journey by Sonia Nazario May 5, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — vortiz808 @ 2:05 am

In the book Enrique’s Journey, Sonia Nazario talks about how the growing numbers of under aged immigrant children has become an issue that not many people here in the United States are aware of, including myself.  Recently, I was reading The Monitor and I came across the front headline where it talked about the rising numbers of unaccompanied minors traveling through South Texas.  Christopher Sherman stated that from October 2011 through March 5, 5,252 children landed in U.S. custody without a guardian, data shows (1A). Many of these children traveling by themselves all travel for the same reasons as mentioned in Enrique’s Journey. They come looking for parents already here in the U.S., they seek a better economic future, or they want to escape violence or abuse (Sherman 4).  This was a similar situation that Enrique faced when coming unaccompanied to look for his mother (Lourdes) that had come to the United States years earlier; in addition to escaping the life of poverty he lived in Honduras.   Appealing to pathos throughout this book, Sonia Nazario describes the path that a Honduran boy endures to reunite with his mother who he has not seen for eleven years and the adversities they both face after they have been reunited.

Audience & Purpose

One audience that this book is for is legal United States residents.  I for instance, was familiar with immigrants but I never thought of the struggles, sacrifices, and hardships that it involved.  This book helped me get a picture of how fortunate I am to be legal and by my family’s side every day; I don’t have to hide from anyone or be looked down at for not being here legally.  Another  audience I believe Sonia Nazario wrote this book for is for women of good social economic status; women who have the time and the money to go out and buy a good book so that they can read on their time off from their daily lives.  There was a time where American women began working outside their homes and in need of cheap domestic labor (xiii).  Consequently, women began immigrating leaving their children behind to be housekeepers and nannies. One example of Sonia Nazario informing us through the book was saying how a conducted study showed 82 percent of live-in nannies and one in four housecleaners are mothers who still have at least one child in their home country (xiiii).   There is a need for the upper class women to know what these mothers themselves go through to be there taking care of their children and their homes.  Lastly this book was addressed to politicians as well.  Nazario says, “Each year, an estimated 700,000 immigrants enter the United States illegally (xiii).  This is a wakeup call for all those in politics.  They need to look for solutions for this problem.  These illegals are needed in this country to work but they end up staying here because they wouldn’t be able to return back to work if they left the country; so maybe a working visa can be given to them so they can work for a period of time and then return to their country without any problems.

Logos, Pathos, Ethos

Throughout the book all three of Aristotelian Appeals are used.  For instance, an appeal to logos would be how the author uses statistics to tell us how many Central Americans try to reunite with a parent and there are as many as 75 percent looking for their mothers, (Nazario 5).  Another example appealing to logos is the cause and effect argument throughout this story; mothers leave their children and the child grows up and looks for the mother.  Furthermore, Sonia Nazario goes on this journey to feel the fears and see the danger that these migrants face. This would be appealing to Ethos because she is trying to give herself the credibility she needs to write such a story.  Nazario says, “As a journalist, I love to get the inside action, watch it unfold, take people inside worlds they might not otherwise see.  I wanted to smell, taste, hear, and feel what this journey is like.  In order to give a vivid, nuanced account, I knew I would have to travel with child migrants through Mexico on top of freight trains” (xiiii).

 Lastly the appeal that I feel strongest to is Pathos. I felt Nazario wrote this book to try and make us feel the empathy of Lourdes, Enrique, and every other character in this story.  The way she picked Enrique so she could follow him to reunite with his mother who had left him as a child back in Honduras personalizes this story.  When reading Enrique’s Journey, I came across a part where I felt teary eyed.  It was the part where every year on Mother’s Day he makes a card for his grandmother instead of his mother because she is gone (12).  Personally, this makes me feel so sad to even imagine that I as a mother would have to leave my kids and that they would consider someone else their mother.  Even if I leaving my children was for the same reason Lourdes left hers, because they had nothing to eat.  Another fragment was when Lourdes was leaving Honduras and she walks off the porch without saying goodbye to Enrique consequently, he cries for his mother and continuously asks for her but, she never returns (Nazario 5).  This reminded me of when I was growing up and my mom had to go to work and I would cry since I would be staying with an aunt but, I wanted my mother.  It made me feel so unhappy because being a child, I thought she was never coming back but yet, she was.  On the other hand, Enrique’s mother was not.  Enrique felt unhappy like I did but, he had to grow up with this feeling inside of him.  He would dream about seeing her again and the thought of not knowing when or if you will see your mother again is very heartbreaking.  Another method of an appeal to pathos was when I read where Nazario wrote, “On his train rides through Mexico, he told me, he had witnessed five separate incidents where migrants had been mutilated by the train”, this was her way of describing the story to us the readers and my response to this was feeling a knot in my stomach to the point of wanting to gag. (xvi). Just to imagine that a human being can be torn to pieces by a train that he/she is riding to reach a better future is shocking.


Sonia Nazario in Enrique’s Journey uses many forms to appeal to Logos, Pathos, and Ethos.  The way she uses her statistics so accurately and how her cause and effect argument is how Lourdes leaves Enrique as a child and then he grows up and goes looking for her leaving his unborn child in Honduras.  This is all a vicious cycle of immigrants having to look for lost parents, and then staying here in the United States and living here illegally.  This is where her audience of politics comes in.  In addition, her detailed way of describing every moment of this book like how Lourdes acts after not seeing  Enrique for 11 years because she left him behind in Honduras.  How she would try to take care of him like if he were the same five year old she left behind in Honduras and how Enrique rebels against her for not being there and now Lourdes wants to be a mother to him. Sonia Nazario says, “For months I traveled in Enrique’s footsteps, I lived with the near-constant danger of being beaten, robbed, or raped” (xxi). The author going on the journey that many Central Americans take every day to arrive in the United States emphasizes the story with plenty of credibility.

Works Cited

Nazario, Sonia. “Enrique’s Journey”. New York: Random House, 2006. Print. 

Sherman, Christopher. “Child Immigrants Surge.” The Monitor [McAllen, TX.] 30 April 2012: 1A. Print


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