Study Guide

She's Come Undone Lies and Deceit

By Wally Lamb

Lies and Deceit

"Oh, my mother works," I told Jeanette when she suggested we go over to my house instead of hers. (2.9)

This is one of the first lies Dolores tells, and she tells it to avoid the shame of having Jeanette see what a lazy lump her mother has become. Dolores will use this technique a lot in life: lying to avoid shame.

I confessed how I had sat wickedly by while I watched my good friend Rosalie Pysyk deface her religion book with a filthy, immoral picture. I listened, somewhat amazed, to the treacherous catch in my voice. (3.103)

Dolores lies to get her bully in trouble, and she acts like she's surprised that she's able to do it. That's a lie, too. The truth is that lying comes naturally to Dolores, and eventually she starts lying more often than she tells the truth.

Ma stewed and paced for a week and then rented a typewriter. She called in sick and started […] hunting and pecking her way through the night. (8.15)

Dolores isn't the only one who lies. Ma pretends to be Dolores when she writes college essays to get Dolores into school.

Dear Kippy, I can't wait to meet you. Either my parents or my boyfriend will be driving me down to school. (9.106)

Dolores's first letter to Kippy, her future roommate, is full of three lies in two sentences: She doesn't want to meet her, she has no parents, and she doesn't have a boyfriend either.

"Bulls*** you're the same person. Just because you have a gland problem or whatever, it doesn't give you the right to pretend to be something you're not. Is the truth too much to ask from someone who's going to be your roommate?" (13.120)

Kippy calls Dolores out on her lies here, and we have to say that she does have a point. If someone lies to you before they even meet you, how can you ever trust them? And what else might they be hiding?

"We did make love. Just before he left for school. Out at this place called the Ridge."

I didn't say anything.

"It was so beautiful," [Kippy] said. "It was unreal." (13.133-13.135)

While we agreed with Kippy three seconds ago, here she reveals herself to be a giant hypocrite. She didn't sleep with Dante, and she's lying, just like Dolores is, practically in the same breath as she gets mad at Dolores for lying to her.

It was my lies that got me into this mess, not Dante. But I wouldn't even be here without lies. (21.21)

Dolores's relationship with Dante is a tangled web of lies—lies in, lies out, lies every which way. It's no wonder the whole thing eventually fails.

If you looked quickly at our three-inch stack of cross-country pictures (ten rolls' worth, developed free of charge at the photo lab back in Rhode Island), you'd swear Dante and I had had a wonderful time. (23.118)

This is the pre-Facebook version of couples who only post happy things on social media, thereby making you think that their life is one big eHarmony success story… but it's not.