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Free Study Guide-I Am the Cheese by Robert Cormier-Free Book Notes
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CONFLICT

Protagonist

The protagonist of a story is the main character, who traditionally, undergoes some sort of change. He or She must usually overcome some opposing force. In this novel the protagonist is Adam Farmer, a.k.a. Paul Delmonte. He must overcome his “blanks” or spaces of lost memory. He does this; however, he is ultimately unsuccessful because he is medicated back into total oblivious.

Antagonist

Traditionally, the antagonist of a story is the character that provides an obstacle for the protagonist. However in this story the antagonist is essentially the government--represented by Brint and Grey. These characters destroy the Farmer/ Delmonte family by using them for government purposes.


Climax

Because there are three separate, but intertwined plots, there are three climaxes found in this novel:

The past tense story -Adam’s recollections of his life--reaches climax first: it is when the family is attacked by the car on the side of the road.

The climax of present tense Adam--the story of the quest on bike-- is his arrival at the hospital, when it is apparent that he is a regular resident. We learn as he walks through the halls, that he never really was on a journey at all. He was simply riding his bike around the hospital grounds. As he sees different people from the hospital it becomes apparent that he has created all of the characters from his adventure--similar to The Wizard of OZ.

The climax of the tapes--the conversations between Brint and Adam-- comes at the very end of the book: we find out Adam was placed in the facility and medicated to produce his current condition. Agent Grey was behind the murder of his parents. It seems that, as Adam’s parents suspected, Grey did not believe Adam’s father was giving him all of the information he knew. Adam was placed in the institution and drugged to find out what he might know. The government plans to kill Adam next.

Outcome

There is one general outcome to the story: The government has been using the Farmer/ Delmonte family for its personal gains. When they were through with the family, they attempted to terminate them all. Since Adam survived, they used him as long as it was worthwhile (three years) to try to extract further information. They now plan to kill him too.

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