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Free Study Guide-I Am the Cheese by Robert Cormier-Free Book Notes
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IMPORTANT QUOTES / NOTABLE QUOTATIONS

1) “ I am afraid of a thousand things, a million. Like is it possible to be claustrophobic and yet fear open spaces, too?” - Adam,
p.12

This is our first glimpse into the neurosis of Adam Farmer. It might seem like an innocent statement, but he is telling the truth. We find as the story progresses, he really is afraid of everything.

2) “Why should I play games? I’m on the edge of panic half the time.” - Adam, p.69

Adam says this to Brint when asked if he is playing games during his therapy sessions. This statement exemplifies Adam’s nervous disposition and the state of mind from which he is recounting his stories.

3) “The package is for my father and nobody, nobody is going to take it away from me or prevent me from bringing it to him. I stand like a tree. I will not bend.” - Adam, p.90

These are Adam’s thoughts as the bullies try to take away the package he is bringing to his father. This is the first time we see Adam act unafraid, although he is. He is prepared to defend what is important to him. This line shows that he is a multidimensional character.


4) “When I want privacy, I get privacy” - David Farmer, p.121

This statement is ironic because, although Adam doe not know it, his father is referring to the “safe room” in their cellar. This room is supposedly safe because it has been checked for bugs. However, in reality, David has no privacy at all--not even in the safe room where he meets with Mr. Grey. Mr. Grey is the enemy.

5) “We really had no choice” - David Farmer, p. 138

Adam’s father is speaking of joining the witness protection program. Grey convinced him to join. This statement is important because it shows how as soon as the Delmonte family became involved with the government, all of their choices were taken away.

6) “it’s never knowing what’s going to happen, that’s the worst thing.” - Louise Farmer, p.163

This is a telling statement. It explains why Louise is so sad and withdrawn. It also explains her anxiety with their situation as well as with Grey.

7) “I sometimes think we are too unquestioning , Adam, too naïve.”- Louise, p. 167

This statement epitomizes Cormier’s overall message of the book: question government because it is often corrupt. Louise is correct about her fears of the government and Grey. This is similar to when Anthony Delmonte did not trust his instincts that late night working at the paper-he almost was killed. In this case, Louise does not trust her instincts and is killed.

8) “Act nonchalant, always act as if you belong wherever you are.”- Amy Hertz, p.184.

Amy says this to Adam on more than one occasion in reference to her Numbers. She brings an element of excitement to Adam’s life, she makes him excited.

9) “I’ve already packed. I always keep the suitcases ready.” - Louise, p. 190.

Louise says this to David when he asks if they should pack. This statement explains their lives: always on the alert, always ready to flee.

10) “I am the cheese” - Adam, p.217

This is a very important statement because it is the title of the book and because it exemplifies Adam’s constant conflict with his identity. The song The Farmer in the Dell is a constant source of comfort for Adam. He is singing it when Dr. Dupont is putting him to sleep. Adam is briefly confused about why the doctor calls him Paul (the medication seems to make him oblivious to what he has already remembered). Adam thinks that he knows who he is, he is the cheese. This seems to be the ramblings of a drugged and tired person; however, in the song, the cheese stands alone. This is the truth for Adam. With no family, no past, no lucid present and no apparent future-he is truly alone.

Edition used: Laurel Leaf Books, 1977.

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