Study Guide

She's Come Undone Transformation

By Wally Lamb


She's Come Undone is a story of transformation, but not a supernatural one. Dolores doesn't turn into a werewolf or vampire or golem or anything—instead she gets depressed, she overeats, and she transforms into a very heavy version of herself. Dolores doesn't transform instantly, like Optimus Prime from a truck into a robot. Her transformation is slow, as she grows to over two hundred and fifty pounds and then shrinks back down again. And it isn't just physical either. She's depressed, so she eats, then she's fat, so she's depressed. It's a vicious cycle that is hard to break.

Questions About Transformation

  1. What causes Dolores's weight gain? When does she realize that she has transformed? How does she react to this?
  2. When does Dolores realize that she needs to make a change and develop healthier habits?
  3. Do any other characters go through major transformations? Compare and contrast them with Dolores's transformation.
  4. Does Dolores every truly change, or does she just become a more fully realized version of herself?

Chew on This

Dolores embraces her transformation and uses it as an excuse to be mean to people: It's not her talking, it's the fat girl.

More than any other shift, Dolores's biggest transformation is from victim to someone in control of her life.