Theses and Dissertations - UTB/UTPA

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Dr. Danika Brown

Second Advisor

Dr. Matthew J. Christensen

Third Advisor

Dr. Alyssa Cavazos


This thesis is an ethnographic analysis of street youths, runaways and foster children. It focuses on the rhetorical and literacy practices that serve as a foundation for an underground community. Very little research, within the English field or from a literacy perspective, has been done on this demographic. This study includes data from interviews conducted with eight individuals who were “homeless” between the ages of 12 and 18 years old. Homeless is being defined as any duration spent absent of a stable living situation, including, but not limited to, foster homes, sleeping on the streets or in temporary settings, with adults or predators that were not related to them or in places accrued through their personal work or independent finances. This piece serves to raise awareness to their plight and to offer a clearer understanding of how these children navigate and survive through the use of nontraditional language and customs.


Copyright 2015 Regina L. Welch. All Rights Reserved.

Granting Institution

University of Texas-Pan American