Study Guide

She's Come Undone Coming of Age

By Wally Lamb

Coming of Age

Here's an alternate title for She's Come Undone: She's Come of Age. And not just once, but twice—maybe even three times. We lose count. Early on, Dolores's story has all the hallmarks of a classic coming-of-age story: Her parents get a divorce, they move to a new town, Dolores has to fit in at a new school. But her life gets derailed after being raped by Jack Speight, and her coming-of-age is put on hold. She has to revisit it later with the help of therapy and friends. Dolores proves that age is just a number, and maturity can come at any time.

Questions About Coming of Age

  1. What are some of the major events in Dolores's coming of age story? Why did you choose the moments you did?
  2. When do you think Dolores finally comes of age? Why or why not?
  3. What are the events that set her back, forcing her to re-start the maturation process all over again? What are the similarities and differences in the ways they set her back?
  4. Will Dolores ever stop growing up?

Chew on This

Dolores's maturity is stunted by the traumatic events that happen to her during her adolescence.

It is impossible for Dolores to come of age until she undergoes the "rebirthing" process in therapy.