Table of Contents | Message Board | Downloadable/Printable Version
CHAPTER SUMMARIES WITH NOTES
Adam stops to eat. At the counter there is a group of “wise guys” who throw popcorn at Adam. He says that , like with the bullies in school, he just ignores them. These kind of people are everywhere in the world, he thinks. A boy comes over to him. Adam observes he looks like a million other kids his age; he is about sixteen or seventeen. The kid asks Adam where he is from and where he is going. Adam tells him and then he says he has his bike at the police station. The kids begin to pick on him, saying they want to see what is in his package (for his father that he is carrying). Although he is scared, Adam stands up to the boys and stares them down. The boys retreat.
This is an important chapter for Adam, because he is able to stand up for himself. It is apparent that he is picked on in school because he mentions how he tries to ignore the bullies at school. His father’s present is very important to him and he is willing to risk himself against the bullies. They back down.
Adam awakes in a panic and finds the doctor. Adam is upset that he cannot remember everything and he wants to. The doctor calms him and gives him a pill. Adam goes to sleep.
This chapter is an interesting contrast with the preceding one, in which Adam was brave and determined. In this chapter he is not in control and is panicking because he cannot remember anything. He repeats his name and concludes that it is meaningless. He does not know who he is.
Adam tries to call Amy again but dials the wrong number. He panics as he sees the bully boys approaching the phone booth. He takes off quickly, crying.
This chapter shows how vulnerable Adam is. He is easily scared by the boys and instead of chancing another confrontation, he runs away. Despite his age, we know he is certainly fourteen or older, he cries when he is unable to reach Amy. He is lonely and afraid.
Adam excitedly tells Brint that he remembers the gray man, although he is not sure who he is. Adam grows frustrated and refuses medication. He tells Brint that he does not know who Paul Delmonte is either; he was bluffing before.
Adam’s refusal of medication is a positive sign that he is growing strong enough to face his past on his own terms, harkening back to the story’s exposition when he decided to make the bike journey free of medication. There is symbolism in the doctor’s name, Brint. Adam mentions he is on the brink of figuring out who the gray man is. Brint and brink are closely related words. The doctor is helping him to cross the brink.
Adam’s name is also symbolic. Adam, as in the first man from the Garden of Eden, is trying to rediscover his identity. He is his own first man. When he realizes who he is, he has to then prepare himself for the rest of the world. He will have to leave his medicated “Garden of Eden.”