She first describes an incident that occurred when she was returning from a book reading and several aggressive border patrol stopped her and her companion. She began thinking about a book she had read describing thousands of disappearances in Argentina where the military police ran out of political prisoners to torture and terrorize and began randomly abducting citizens off the street. This passage establishes both ethos and pathos. The incident gave her first-hand knowledge of the fearing the loss of her freedom or worse.
She is also a Native American, which establishes ethos as her people were decimated earlier in the history of the United States, a history about which she was raised learning. Despite the improved conditions of her people during her times, this historical backdrop makes us trust her in terms of the argument she makes especially when combined with the knowledge she gained when being stopped by border patrol. She goes on to describe the regular occurrence of border patrol checks, asserting that only those with darker skin are pulled over.
Their rights are violated as it is implied if they request a warrant to search their car the patrol makes them wait for hours and conducts a strip search. These experiences lead further support to the trustworthiness of her argument as a first hand account. Pathos continues to be established, since after 9/11 most people know what it feels like to have their freedom curtailed whether by curfews or random searches at the airport. Even though these policies did not remain in effect permanently our outrage over the loss of civil liberties even for a short period makes us sympathize with what Silko went through.
Silko uses a great deal of imagery in her story some examples that make use envision the picture in our minds include: “Vast dessert plateaus” (pg. 1), “a dark, lonely stretch of two-lane highway” (pg. 1), and “a steel wall 10 feet high to span sections of the border with Mexico” (pg. 4). By first establishing a common connection about the meaning of freedom in our lives, then describing a situation that we can relate to in some way or imagine as something we have feared and finally, with the imagery she includes, it is easy to feel as if you are sharing what she experienced. Feeling some of what she probably felt when she had to live through being repeatedly stopped by border police leads to a state of outrage that causes the reader to more fully identify with Silko’s story. This identification with Silko also makes it more likely that you will interpret her article as accurate and truthful, and ultimately agree with her position.