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Rhetorical Analysis:

Colonias in Arizona and New Mexico

by Adrian Esparza and Angela Donelson

Ulysses Cano

The University of Texas at El Paso

RWS 1301

Dr. Vierra

October 1, 2018


In this paper, the composition of rhetoric is under review to test a text. The paper

analyzes the book Colonias in Arizona and New Mexico by Adrian Esparza and Angela

Donelson. This study contains interview, observations, and surveys. Traces of ethos, pathos, and

logos were found within the book. Through research, ethos, pathos, and logos was determined to

play a large role of the text by Esparza and Donelson.


Rhetorical Analysis

Colonias in Arizona and New Mexico

Rhetoric is driven by component that are used together to form effective text and

speeches. According to Covino and Jolliffe (1995), there are four key elements in rhetorical

theory (p. 332). The elements are the rhetorical situation, the audience, the pisteis or proofs, and

the five canons of rhetoric. The rhetorical situation is the reason for the text to be written or

spoken. The audience is the people who will listen or read the text that has been written for them.

The pisteis or proofs are the elements of persuasion using ethos, pathos and logos. The five

canons consist of invention, arrangement, style, memory, and delivery. Invention is how the way

the author writes the text. Arrangement is the order in which the author chooses for his audience.

Style is how the author writes to keep the reader engaged. Memory is how the writer recalls

information. Delivery is how the text is presented. In Colonias in Arizona and New Mexico,

Esparza and Donelson effectively used rhetorical appeals that supports claims made.

Esparza and Donelson (2008) use direct and indirect supports for the idea that danger is

attracted to colonia communities in Arizona and New Mexico. Through their field of expertise,

they are able to share their credible knowledge on the colonias. Their book is peer reviewed to be

sure the information is reliable and can be used by other. Because the book got published by a

university press, Esparza and Donelson indirectly show how they feel about the topic. They

choose to show fact sheets and graph of the data. Esparza and Donelson attempt to persuade

readers that there are problems going on in colonias.

Esparza and Donelson use the monograph, Colonias in Arizona and New Mexico, to

present data for the discourse community they intended their book would be used for. Genres are

groups of text written for a similar purpose. According to Swales (1990), texts in the game genre

exhibit various patterns of similarity in the structure, style, content, and intended audience (p.

58). Since genres have similar purposes, the expectations for text of the same genre should be

similar. Each text can be altered to be written in a way different from before, the text should still

have some of the similar patterns of the structure, style, content, and the intended audience.



The author of text always has an audience they are writing for. According to Ede and

Lunsford (1984), the authors that imagine their audience, proved a better writing for them (p.

156). The relationship between the author and the audience is essentials for getting information

across and building on knowledge. Esparza and Donelson (2008) have an intended audience of

people wanting to help urbanize colonias (p. 203). The two authors propose plans to get their

audience engaged in helping the communities. Some of their audience were not actual people

looking to solve the colonias problem. Some papers that used this source were about different

topics such as drug, immigration, and homeland security. Although not all the audience is

following the author’s footsteps, they choose to interpret information and pass along more



Ethos provides security to enforce the quality of a text. Covino and Jolliffe (1995) define

ethos as the credibility of the rhetor (p. 336). Esparza and Donelson (2008) are two doctoral

degree holders (p. 203). Esparza received his doctoral degree at the University of Illinois in

Urbana, Illinois. By the year of 2008, Esparza was an associate professor at the University of

Arizona. His research consisted of urbanization along the U.S.-Mexico border, rural community

development, and suburban and exurban land conversion in the Southwest. He was also able to

be published in urban planning and border studies journals. Donelson received her doctoral

degree at University of Arizona. She then worked as the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban

Development’s representative to Arizona’s colonias. Donelson later worked as an urban and

regional planner. By 2008, she was the president of a firm that assisted small nonprofit

organizations with housing and community buildings called Donelson Consulting. Donelson’s

research targeted community development in intercultural contexts and small and grassroots

organizations, rural poverty, and housing policy. Her published work was appeared in housing

and community development journals.


Pathos presents the choices people care about because it brings in emotions. Esparza and

Donelson (2008) show images of the poor quality of housing in colonias in the states of New

Mexico and Arizona (p. 73). Esparza and Donelson do not directly appeal to human emotion, but

they take a more clinical approach. They chose the image present that would indirectly influence

the emotions of the human body. As Covino and Jolliffe (1995) said, “an effective text will

somehow activate or draw upon the sympathies and emotions of the auditors, causing them to

attend to and accept its ideas,” (p.338). The images are presented as information to support the

claims made. Although the images were showing extremely underdeveloped areas, not all areas

look the same. Some areas could be more developed, while others could be even more

underdeveloped. Esparza and Donelson knew the effectiveness critical for the images chosen, so

the chose some of the more rundown colonias where people could imagine how it would be to

live there.


Logos requires thinking on the part of the reader or listener. According to Covino and

Jolliffe (1995), logos is reasoning that audiences find persuasive (p. 338). Esparza and Donelson

(2008) use tables, maps, and graphs to show information such as the farming employment and

the number of colonias (p.52). Through the observations of these graphs, tables, and maps,

correlations between the density of colonias and the percentage of farm work employment.

Evidence provided in these figures allow readers to understand that there is a real problem rather

than think Esparza and Donelson are exaggerating. Some maps, tables, and graph work together

to provide reasoning as to why the colonias are structured how they are. The tables show the

size, income, and Hispanic percentage while the maps show where they are located that help the

reader use some reasoning as to why the data on the tables exist how it is.


Because ethos, pathos, and logos were presented effectively, Esparza and Donelson use

rhetorical appeals within their text. The text of Esparza and Donelson was able to connect to the

topic of genre by the style and for whom they wrote for. By using the elements of ethos, pathos,

and logos, Esparza and Donelson able to connect with the audience to prove their claims.

Therefore, Esparza and Donelson are effective in the use of rhetorical appeals in their text.


Covino, W., & Jolliffe, D. (1995). What is rhetoric? Rhetoric: Concepts, Definitions, Boundaries

(pp. 325-344). Boston: Allyn & Bacon.

Ede, L., & Lunsford, A. (1984). Audience addressed/audience invoked: The role of audience in

composition theory and pedagogy. College composition and communication, 35(2), 155-


Esparza, A. X., & Donelson, A. J. (2008). Colonias in Arizona and New Mexico. Tucson: The

University of Arizona Press.

Swales, J. (1990). The concept of genre. Genre analysis: English in academic and research

settings (pp. 33-58) Cambridge University Press. Retrieved