I Am the Cheese
First published in 1977, "I Am the Cheese" provides an exciting introduction to psychological thrillers. This sensitive, emotional, subtly-crafted novel by the author of "The Chocolate War" was a "New York Times" Outstanding Book of the Year, as well as a "School Library Journal" Best Book of the Year.
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Why does the narrator continue to pedal?
The book begins with the narrator going on a journey. Many times in stories, a journey has deeper meaning. Journeys can mean discovery about one's self. He is going on a physical and mental journey.
The highlighted sentence contains an example of
There has been a dramatic change between chapter 1 and 2. The structure of chapter 2 is quite different with a transcript between the two characters. In addition, the point of view changed from first-person to third-person. Consider why the author changes the structure for this chapter.
How is the narrator feeling at this moment?
Below is an image from the film version of the book to give you an idea of the hat the narrator is wearing. (This annotation contains an image)
Watch the video below about textual evidence. (This annotation contains a video)
What kind of conversation do you believe is taking place in both chapters 2 and 4? Consider who you think is talking. Use textual evidence to support your answer.
Below is a video of the song that Adam is singing. Pay attention to the last part and consider how it relates to the book's title. (This annotation contains a video)
Use context clues to determine the meaning of the word vista. It most likely means
In this paragraph, Adam describes the sensory details of the scene: the sights and sounds. Reread it to notice the sound and sight of the dog, as well as the overall feeling Adam has at the moment.
Adam is currently experiencing conflict with
Notice the mentioning of a dog. This creates a link to the previous chapter and adds another level of mystery to the book.
What theme is present in Adam's description of his father?
Below is an image of a typical lion tamer. (This annotation contains an image)
What is Adam's opinion of his dad? Use textual evidence to support your answer.
Notice that Adam is again singing this children's song. This is known as a motif. Watch the video below to better understand motif. (This annotation contains a video)
This chapter mainly helps the reader to understand
The descriptions of Amy and Adam in the highlighted sentences are
A&P is short for The Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Company, which is a supermarket chain located mainly in the northeast of the United States. The author John Updike wrote a short story "A&P" (1961), which is about a teenage grocery clerk who becomes interested in three girls who go shopping in the store. (This annotation contains an image)
In this paragraph where is there an example of personification?
Consider the fact that Adam is having a conversation with himself. Is this normal behavior in this situation?
Why does the author include this information about Adam's mom?
The author here is building up tension by describing this last envelope. It adds to the mystery element of the book. Watch the video below to better understand tension. (This annotation contains a video)
In the chapters with the transcripts, the author uses what's known as limited third-person point of view. This is where the narrator is an outsider but only focuses on one character's thoughts and feelings. Omniscient third-person is where the narrator shares the thoughts and feelings of multiple characters.
In this paragraph, the blank spots refer to
With first-person point of view, the reader needs to consider how much to trust the narrator. Consider whether the three guys are actually watching Adam, or is Adam being paranoid?
What is an example of figurative language in this paragraph?
Adam's panic is due to his
When the narrator asks, "Who am I?" he is experiencing internal conflict. Watch the video about internal conflict to review this concept. (This annotation contains a video)
At the end of this chapter, Adam feels
In the transcript chapters, the reader is limited in knowing Adam's mood. Only clues such as "You look positively excited" from Brint give the reader some sort of indication.
"[M]onster's foul breath" refers to
Short sentences and short paragraphs such as these help to build dramatic tension.
Pay attention to unique descriptions such as this one. Consider what this may have to do with Adam's time at the hospital.
How does the description of Arnold change the mood after Adam's experience with Whipper and the other boys? Provide textual evidence to support your response.
The first line of this chapter
Adam is describing a short story by G.K. Chesterton. Below is a link to the short story online. (This annotation contains a link)
This is in reference to "The Tell-Tale Heart" where the narrator has killed an old man and claims he can hear the old man's heart beating beneath the floorboards. (This annotation contains an image)
A synonym for subterfuge is
What effect does the use of personification have here?
This is known as a flashback because the narrator is providing information from the past for us to better understand Adam.
The current conflict between Adam and Brint stems from
Consider what you know now about Adam's past. As you continue to read, consider why the author chooses to reveal a big part of the mystery before the book is over. What other mysteries remain?
This is a fictional program that closely resembles the real life Witness Protection.
Adam's father is upset about the last name because
Adam is most uncomfortable with the man's
The idea of feeling trapped comes up often in the book. Adam refers to his claustrophobia, and the reader gets the sense of Adam feeling trapped at the hospital. The description of the fire escape as a prison further supports this idea.
Adam's father mostly misses
This detail is similar to what Brint is doing to Adam. This can be another clue to the reality of Adam's situation.
Cloistered means kept away from the outside world, which is what Martha is by living at a convent.
What is your opinion of Mr. Grey and Brint at the end of this chapter? Provide textual evidence to support your answer.
Reflect back on Adam's behavior as he travels. His distrust of people can be because of his conversation with his mom about the Never Knows.
Adam's response here deals with the theme of
What is mainly motivating Adam at this moment?
Below is a clip from a film version of I Am the Cheese with Adam getting his bike. Notice the differences in the scene. (This annotation contains a video)
This statement from Adam ties in with the theme of identity. Adam feels lost and at this moment with Brint, Adam feels like he is getting to know himself.
This paragraph mainly represents
Amy contributes to a more light-hearted aspect of Adam. Everything else in his life is so serious that Amy is his opportunity to act out.
The phrase "her eyes like shattered marbles" is a/an
Notice the difference in the way Adam describes his dad and mom's sleeping. He gives his mom a much gentler description, indicating how he sympathizes for his mom.
What is Adam's tone when describing the hotel here?
This phone number was actually Robert Cormier's number when he lived in Leominister, Massachusetts.
The reader knows something is not right by
Below is the scene Adam remembers. (This annotation contains a video)
How does Adam's description and feeling towards this car relate to his reaction to the cars while he journeys on his bike?
This moment represents the climax of the story. The climax is the major turning point for the central character(s).
Notice the sudden shift and the mentioning of the hospital. This brings more unity between all the chapters and provides some insight into Adam's current condition.
What do all of these details reveal about Adam's journey? Provide textual evidence to support your answer.
Paul's singing, bike ride, and doll all represent his
Here the title finally makes sense and ties in the theme of isolation. If Adam views himself as the cheese, he views himself as alone. He has no one left.
Remember that Adam's mom told him the Mr. Grey is known as 2222.
Notice that the book ends where it began. This provides a sense that Adam is escaping into himself, making the same journey. It provides a very somber conclusion to Adam's story.