Study Guide

I Know This Much is True Compassion and Forgiveness

By Wally Lamb

Compassion and Forgiveness

Who said, "to err is human; to forgive, divine"? It was either Alexander Pope or John Waters… Either way, it's a quote appropriate for this book.

If to err is human, the characters in I Know This Much is True must be superhuman, because they make a ton of mistakes. Forgiveness, however, isn't one of their strong suits. For all the characters with a god complex (Thomas thinks God talks to him; Domenico thinks God chose him; Dominick thinks God is out to get him), you'd think at least one of them would try the forgiveness route to get a little closer to Him, but it's a lesson not learned until the end of the novel.

Questions About Compassion and Forgiveness

  1. What does it take for Dominick to forgive Ray? Refer to the text, please and thank you.
  2. Although Dominick seems to forgive Ray, does he forgive his mother for favoring Thomas over him? Why or why not? How can you tell?
  3. Why do you think Dessa forgives Dominick and remarries him?
  4. Why does Dominick ask Prosperine to forgive him at the end of the novel?

Chew on This

The only way for Dominick to let go of his anger is to forgive the people his anger is directed toward… even himself.

The moral of the story: You can be as big of a jerk as you want so long as you ask for forgiveness before it's all over.