Study Guide

Thayer Kitchen in She's Come Undone

By Wally Lamb

Thayer Kitchen

Meant to Be

Thayer is the man whom Dolores ends up with, but he shows up in the book at the very last minute. Fate seems to drop him right into Dolores's lap. He's in her college writing class and, along with her, the best writer in the group. He does drywall, and—go figure—she needs a new ceiling. And guess what else? Yup, he's single. Well, he's divorced to be specific. He has a son, and he's willing to have a child with Dolores, although they eventually fail to conceive.

Thayer's patient and supportive, even at times when we just want to scream at Dolores for being stubborn. She resists marrying him because her father was abusive, her husband was abusive, and "one of [her] best friends has AIDS" (28.77). We're not sure what the last thing has to do with anything, but Thayer tells her, "This wouldn't be your marriage to [Dante]. This would be our marriage" (28.80), treating her with kindness and reassurance instead of exasperation and the threat of a fist like pretty much every other guy she's known has.

We understand Dolores's trepidation about getting into a new relationship—men haven't treated her well ever—but Thayer wants her to know that just because he has things in common with previous men (think: eating, breathing, peeing standing up), those things are just "coincidences. Just wanted to make sure we weren't the same person, you know?" (27.250). And unlike other men, Thayer doesn't start out kind and then turn dark on Dolores, instead staying true to her until the very end.

There's one little thing about Thayer that we're not quite sure what to do with, though. See, he shows up a bit earlier in the book than we said. When Dolores leaves the institution, she draws him on her Etch-a-Sketch for her psychic, who says that the guy that looks like her drawing will be Dolores's husband someday. What's up with that? Fate? Coincidence? Something else? Over to you, Shmoopers.