Study Guide

Al Capone Does My Shirts Guilt and Blame

By Gennifer Choldenko

Guilt and Blame

Guilt: You've probably felt it before. When you did, though, was it because of something you did… or just kind of a feeling that settled in on its own? In Al Capone Does My Shirts, Moose finds himself lugging around the terrible feeling that Natalie's autism is somehow his fault—even though it definitely isn't, and even though no one ever suggested otherwise. So where does this come from? To be honest, we're not really sure. One thing we are sure of, though, is that Moose's guilt is tangled up with his sense of responsibility for his sis—so be sure to read up on duty as a theme while you're exploring this section.

Questions About Guilt and Blame

  1. What are some ways that Moose expresses his guilt? Give specific examples from the text.
  2. Mom never outright express guilt, but does this mean she doesn't blame herself? Use the text to support your claim.
  3. How does Moose realizing he isn't responsible for Natalie's problems change his character? In other words, how does guilt-free Moose compare to guilt-ridden Moose?

Chew on This

Moose's guilt around Natalie isn't so much about thinking her autism is his fault—it's guilt that his life will be infinitely easier because of his genetic luck.

Moose's guilt is tied to his unrelenting desire to do the right thing.

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