Street Rat



Hamilton, Liesel

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Street Rat immortalizes Oma’s memories, which would have disappeared forever if not recorded. Through my book, I examine how her stories have already started to disappear and change from the stories I heard as a child. Oma’s worsening dementia makes her stories more fragmented; details disappear and time becomes nonlinear. The traditional human narrative is organized by time, but time is one of the first things people struggling with dementia lose the ability to comprehend. Therefore, people with dementia often construct atypical stories that center on images or themes, rather than linear chronology. Street Rat as a whole is not linear. I relay Oma’s stories the way she told them to me, therefore allowing the details that are important to her to stand out in the prose. I braid research on dementia and memory into the memoir as well, so the reader can understand how Oma’s loss of memory is mirrored in the loss of her homeland that she experienced as a young girl.


This thesis has been embargoed for 10 years and will not be available until April 2028 at the earliest.


Memoir, Grandmother, Travel, Family