Study Guide

She's Come Undone Memories and the Past

By Wally Lamb

Memories and the Past

If we had a life like Dolores's in She's Come Undone, we might want to forget it—it's pretty rough, after all. But that's not what Dolores does. In fact, the whole book is her looking back at her past and sharing it with us in all its glory: all the happiness, all the sorrow, and all the pain. Life is harsh to Dolores, but she makes a lot of mistakes, too. If she didn't decide to take this painful walk down memory lane, we wouldn't have a book in our hands, since the entire thing is her recollection.

Questions About Memories and the Past

  1. How does Dolores's point of view (as an adult looking at the past) influence the narrative?
  2. Why does Grandma avoid talking about the past? Use the text to support your answer.
  3. How does Dolores learn to come to terms with her traumatic past? Get specific, please.
  4. How does Dolores use her story to help others? Does it work?

Chew on This

Both Dolores and Grandma experience trauma in their lives, but Dolores dwells on it while Grandma ignores it. Thing is, both methods have their pros and cons.

Only when she overcomes the past and stops letting it control her can Dolores use the events in her life as teachable moments.