Study Guide

I Know This Much is True Guilt and Blame

By Wally Lamb

Guilt and Blame

Imagine something bad happens, like you're late to the dentist or your twin brother chops his own hand off in a public library. What do you do?

  • Blame your stepfather (because he was so abusive)
  • Blame yourself, because you know you must have screwed something up
  • Take a deep breath and try to find compassion for everyone involved
  • Break something

In I Know This Much is True, the answer is anything but C. The characters in this book have difficulty accepting, well, anything. They always want to blame someone else for their own actions, or blame themselves for something that is completely out of their control. And if you disagree with our assessment here, hey, don't blame us.

Questions About Guilt and Blame

  1. Who does Dominick blame for Thomas's mental illness? Himself? His mother? Ray? God? All of the above? Why does he feel the need to blame anyone at all? Get specific, yo.
  2. Ray and Dominick are both unhappy with things they did when Thomas was young. How does each man cope with his guilt over this mistreatment?
  3. Everyone feels guilty when Thomas kills himself. Who is to blame? Why?

Chew on This

Dominick takes his anger out on others because he mostly blames himself for everything that goes wrong.

Dominick not only blames himself, but he starts to feel guilty for everything his grandfather did, too, mainly because his grandfather never did anything to right his wrongs.