Study Guide

I Know This Much is True Memories and the Past

By Wally Lamb

Memories and the Past

Unless you're Robin Thicke and you can't seem to remember whether you wrote "Blurred Lines" or not, your memories are a big part of who you are. But just as your DNA comes from your parents (and their parents, and their parents…), your ancestors memories and life experiences affect you, too. Some people inherit heart disease or diabetes from their grandparents, others, like Dominick in I Know This Much is True, inherit anger management problems and mental health issues. And only by examining his past can he come to terms with his present.

Questions About Memories and the Past

  1. What does Dominick learn by reading his grandfather's memoirs? Does he change as he reads it?
  2. How are Thomas's childhood memories different than Dominick's? Which of Thomas's memories are made up because of his illness?
  3. How do Ma's memories of her father contrast with his actual self, as portrayed in his life story?
  4. Why does the narrative include chapters from Dominick's childhood?

Chew on This

Learning about the past puts Dominick's present into perspective, and shows him that he can take control of his own life.

Everyone alters their memory in some way, usually to come to terms with the past—Domenico makes himself out as a genius in his memoir; Ma makes Domenico out as the Father of the Year; and Thomas makes the abuse he was subjected to seem even worse.