I Am the Cheese I Am the Cheese discussion


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Stephanie Hey everyone!

The ending twisted my mind, and I'm still not sure if I understand it. I do have my own opinion on what happened, but I am immensely curious to hear the opinions of others. So. Whay'dya think was really going on in this story?

And if you haven't read the book, don't read a discusion about the ending. Common sense.

Have a great day!

message 2: by Pandora (last edited Oct 27, 2009 06:59AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Pandora That the boy was being held by the people who killed his parnets. The boy is going to kept by these people in a craze state until such times as the boy dies or they get permission to kill him. Typically Cromier no hope.

Is there a Cromier fest? This is the second question on his books.

message 3: by Faith (new)

Faith Quick wow kat i did not get that from the book! i really feel like i need to read it again! if that is really the ending then i missed A LOT! and i mean A LOT!

i felt more like stephanie! the ending confused me...i felt like i had been tricked and i didn't know why or how. it was almost surreal, in that it was almost as if the character didn't exist at all and i really was just reading a story created from someones imagination. i realize ultimately that is what a fictional book is. only i like to feel a connection to the character and have an investment in their story. i felt as if the book "i am the cheese" was a complete fabrication and i felt as if i had been fooled into believing the character at all.

i liked the book for completly fooling me into believing that this character had a life, with circumstance, consequence, and reality. i also didn't feel in any way connected to the book or it's story because of the same reasons.

Pandora I think Cromier was trying to get you to feel the character almost doesn't exist because in his a way he doesn't. I also think Cromier was delibertly being difficult with this ending so you had to really work at it to understand what is happening. Cromier is a difficult author becasue he just loves to have a very dark and bleak ending. Unfortuntely he writes so dare well I keep reading his stuff though fortuntely I haven't come across anything lately of his I wanted to read. The Rag and Bone Shop was one of my favorites. Very hard hitting and very real.

I Am the Cheese was his most difficult book in terms of style. Usually he writes with a more realstic style.

Stephanie My theory was kinda that he had gone on a bike ride just around the neighborhood and that he does once every year or something, and certain things weren't real at all, but just his way of dealing with problems at the mental hospital or wherever he stays. But then other things like him trying to call Amy or that motel that was 3 years old are real, but just him not remembering where he was these past few years. And I think its possible his parents really did die the way he remembers. I think the memories are true. Everything not in his perspective is reliable, but what he narrates isn't reliable. I've deduced that "T", or the questioner, is the same person as Mr. Grey, because his number is 2222, and I believe he killed Adam's parents. Then that last half a page where Adam says the same thing as the first few paragraphs, I think that's him starting again on his journey to remember.

What do you think of those thoughts?

I personally love Cormier because his work is so different from other ya literature.

I like I Am The Cheese because of how he fools you to think that Adam is normal. I have great respect for how he finished it.

But even with my theories, I'm still really confused.

message 6: by Lena (new)

Lena ok so im in 8th grade and we are reading the book in class. (dont worry, i finished it before I came here) but the thing is I read ahead of my class and got SO confused. I talked to some of the other kids who read ahead and they told me-
that Pual(/Adam)is in an aslyum type thing and that he went on a bike ride. He went through and is delsional, like he imagened everything that happened early on in the book (the trouble makers, luke, the freindly old man at the gas station, ect.) and mixed reailty with his immagenation. He has done this before (thats why the tape says something about it happening 3 times at the end) and that there was no Amy Hertz and his parents are fine. He is just imagening everything that has happened... I know it sounds crazy, but kind of fits... I will update saying what my teacher tells us later. Hope it helped

Pandora Why do you think his parenets are fine? That is so unlike Cromier. He usually goes for the worst possible ending. Even when he has to force it like he did with Fade. He is simliar to the old Twlight Zone in that way. Which frequently ended with a bleak hopeless ending. Granted it has been awhile since I read this book but, what I said ealier is how I remember the book. Don't have a copy to check right now.

message 8: by Anathlyst (last edited Apr 06, 2010 07:50PM) (new)

Anathlyst I know exactly what the ending means: All the flashbacks for Adam had really happened but the entire bike ride is just his imagination. Whipper, the dog they were at the mental hospital where Adam had been ever since his parents died, he just put them into his imaginary bike ride. Mr. Grey had Adam's dad killed because they thought he had knowledge of corruption in the government, killing Adam's mother in the process. Adam is taken in and interrogated by Brint to find any information about this corruption that his father may have told him. He's interrogated once a year and the sessions with Brint you read in the book are parts of the third annual interrogation. After each one Adam seems to forget everything and starts over, doing the bike ride again. A report written by Brint after the third interrogation says it went exactly like the first two, and that there's nothing they can get out of Adam. Since he's the one remaining linkage to David Farmer, they want to get rid of him. Brint suggests changing one of their policies so that it would allow them to terminate (kill) Adam, or continue his containment until Adam's insanity drives him to a point where he destroys himself. I find it very depressing. Since he always ends up back at the start, it explains why the book ends with the phrase at the beginning, he's doing the imaginary bike ride all over again.

message 9: by Pandora (last edited Apr 28, 2012 08:03AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Pandora Anathlyst has it right. I realized after my second reading that it is the government that has Adam. Grey had betrayed Adam's family and will get away with it. I am not sure why Grey had his Adam's parnets killed. It seemed he acted on his own. The bicycle trip is imaginary and he is only traveling around the instuite. What is really horrible is no time is passing for Adam. So, if he 14 when he parenets died he still thinks he is 14 but, he is really 17.

T is not Mr. Grey. T's number is not 2222 he is just recommneding that 2222 be reinstated.

message 10: by Jeff (new)

Jeff Here is my understanding of the ending. As was told in the book, Adam (Paul) and his family is relocated under a witness protection program. Grey (2222) is handling their case and becomes aware of breach of Farmer (Delmonte) family's secrecy and sends them out for their protection. While the Farmer family is traveling they are attacked by the people from whom they are hiding, where the mother and father are killed. Gery's men were nearby - remember they had passed the family. They take Adam (Paul) to the sanatorium to keep him quite and sedated until they can understand more specifics about the case. How Grey fail and if Adam's (Paul) father had given him more information than they already had. They have determined that, although he had failed, Grey had done nothing wrong. They also have determined that Adam (Paule) has not more information and have decided to terminate (kill) him to protect the agency and cover up the failure.

message 11: by Samantha (new)

Samantha Rickle ok this is what i think happened:
Adam Farmer/ Paul Delmonte's father found information on mob corruption in the city, and he got involved in the government. Because of this, the government wants to hide the Farmer/ Delmonte family just in case the mob comes for him. After relocating, they were spotted and them went for a trip. After a long car ride, they think someone spotted them so they pulled over. Turns out that it was just one of Mr. Grey's (the man that helps the family stay under cover) men. But then after the family figured out it was just one of grey's men, someone hits them with their car. The killer hits and kills his mom and his dad runs, sparing Adam/ Paul's life. Mr. Grey finds Adam/ Paul and brings him to a mental hospital to make sure that he has no psycological residue of what the corruption is. But when he is in the hospital, he imagines that he's going on a tripto visit his father in Rutterburg, Vermont.
So, the story that's Adam going on the trip on his bike is fake but the therapy sessions are real

message 12: by Jessie (last edited Oct 14, 2013 08:06PM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Jessie I gathered that either, the people who killed his parents are holding him and giving him hallucinogenic drugs, until he dies or they can get information from him and then kill him. OR that he has been mentally ill since childhood, and no part, whatsoever, of this book really happened. I.E. it's all in his head. This was just such a strange story and ending, that it is hard to make heads or tails of it.

message 13: by Kanyinsola (new)

Kanyinsola But what about Amy and the Rest-A-While motel?

message 14: by Levi (new) - rated it 4 stars

Levi Collins Well, what I think the ending meant, is that Adam was mentally traumatized. How the evidence supports this theory is that when he came back from the adventure that the story told about, it was all in his head. He was really walking around the campus of the place he was at and the happening were all normal things that was happening that was made into a fantasy in his head.
As for the story of the sessions with him and the person who interviewed him (I forgot his name) that was real. But I believe the person who interviewed him to be part of the reason why his family died. And he is pressing Adam for more details, but once he gets to a certain part of the story he stops remembering and goes back to the beginning.
As for the symbolization that the song "farmer and the dell" had in this story, it was actually quite strong. When he got to the part where he said that he was the cheese, he was referring to the song. And in the song, the cheese stands alone, which he believes he is alone. That is what I think happened anyways.

message 15: by David (last edited Nov 08, 2013 01:57PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

David C. OK--

Everything about Adam's father uncovering the mob is real, his parents deaths are real. His bike rides "around town" are delusions. The cabin has been closed for three years, which is the amount of time Adam has been in the facility--that is likely the one sliver of sanity that Adam has left, which is why it drives him crazy to realize it.

Concerning Grey: remember, when Adam's mother is talking to him about the witness protection, and Adam mentions that she is a rebel, and that they should be talking in the paneled room. Grey likely did have the house bugged, and that is why he authorized the killing of the family. Grey concocted the final red flag to get them out of the house, so that their deaths could look like an accident. Why they didn't just kill Adam on the mountain I don't know, other than if they did that, the book itself wouldn't be possible.

Adam broke mentally when he saw his mother die, so they moved him to a facility. Adam projects his inmates to his "real world" bike ride in his delusion.

Grey is under investigation because his agency doesn't know if he ordered the hit or if the family was truly compromised. That is Brint's purpose. They likely have record of Adam and his mother's conversations outside of the paneled room, so compromise is quite possible, but near impossible to prove. Brint is actually a legit "good guy" and has been attempting to ascertain Grey's level of involvement, whether the alert was real or fabricated, whether Grey was complicit, etc.

In the last tapes Brint tries desperately to coax a name out of Adam.

"Gray pants. Him." This, of course, is likely Grey (why else would Cormier comment on his GREY pants?), and that is the information that Brint is trying to uncover.

You can imagine Brint's frustration of trying for three years to get one piece of information out of this kid, having every year to start at the beginning, hoping that this year Adam will unlock the mystery of Grey's alliance, only to fail, year after year, at the last moment.

In the end, the story is about Grey, and an internal investigation to root out mob ties within the government. Unfortunately, the only witness the government has left is a broken, mentally unstable teen.

message 16: by Monica (new)

Monica Ok "David" that's real good. I just have 1 more question. Why do we assume that the father is dead when He was said to have left the scene of the accident, which is why I believe Adam is imagining a bike ride to find him. Also thanks "Anathlyst", good info as well

message 17: by Seymur (new)

Seymur Saul Stephanie wrote: "Hey everyone!

The ending twisted my mind, and I'm still not sure if I understand it. I do have my own opinion on what happened, but I am immensely curious to hear the opinions of others. So. Whay'..."

Hello this is what happens at the end of the story very briefly. Paul Delmonte's parents are killed. Paul in other words Adam is at this mental hospital where Brint keeps interogating him. He doesn't reveal any details about his father's investigation most probably because his father didn't tell him much to protect him. Unfortunately he could not prevent it, Paul is captured by the bad guys he will be there until he is terminated.

message 18: by Tobi (new)

Tobi I now kinda understand, but what happens to Amy Hertz.

message 19: by Cem (new) - rated it 5 stars

Cem Pehlivan Hello Everyone.
I am in 8 th grade we read this book in class. It was really interesting and fun to read. I was shocked to learn that Adam's parets were dead and he was in a hospital. I think that he will stay there untill he dies. I am curious about Amy. Was she real?

message 20: by Tara (new) - rated it 5 stars

Tara Subasi Hello. I just finished reading I am the cheese. I liked it a lot. I think that it was a very interesting book. The end was very surprising. I thought that in the beginning of the book, Brint was a dr and he was trying to help. But at the end we understand that Brint didn't care about Adam. He just wanted to get information about his dad. I just wonder if his dad is really dead or not?

message 21: by Tara (new) - rated it 5 stars

Tara Subasi Tobi wrote: "I now kinda understand, but what happens to Amy Hertz."

I think she wasn't real. I am also curious about that.

Monday Tobi wrote: "I now kinda understand, but what happens to Amy Hertz."
I think that Amy Hertz was actually real since Adam is in love with her very passionately and she can't be his imagination. His memories with her are very vivid and clear. Adam has been in the hospital approximately 3 years(because Brint has done the questioning 3 times). If The Hertz family moved out right after the Farmers left, then Amy can be real.

About the Ending:
I figured out that the bike ride is kind of like a loop because the book ends exactly the way it starts. Also Adam usually uses the phrase' As if I've been pedaling forever' which shows deep down he is aware that he has been pedaling for a long time(and over and over again).And I think the father is probably dead because Adam asks the same question several times to the doctor:'Is my father dead?' and he can't get a clear answer. Also he identifies himself as the cheese which shows he is all alone.

The Cheese sits alone,
The Cheese sits alone,
Heigh-ho the derr-rio
The Cheese sits alone

Monday David wrote: "OK--

Everything about Adam's father uncovering the mob is real, his parents deaths are real. His bike rides "around town" are delusions. The cabin has been closed for three years, which is the a..."

I don't know about Mr. Grey but I am pretty sure the terminator is someone Adam is familiar with because he says'He was taller than ever'. The killer was mentioned in the book.

message 24: by Tobi (new)

Tobi o ok Thankyou!
This book is sad and depressing :(

Pandora That's Robert Cormier everything he writes is sad and depressing and many times unforeseen till the last chapter.

message 26: by Tobi (new)

Tobi yes Pandora,
I loved the book till I read the end then I was mad

Pandora Well, I was fortunate to know not to expect happiness. At least in the I Am the Cheese the ending does fit and I knew what to expect from Cormier. The one I got upset with was The Fade because Cormier tacked on an unhappy ending with an epilogue that come out of nowhere. Like what the Network did to Quantum Leap with the final words.

Julia I have read a bit on Sparknotes, so this is what I think happens:
Adam is in the hospital for the present time of the book. However, the interrogator knows that Adam's father is dead because he is working for the people that killed the family. Ironically, the people that killed them in the end were the same people who had "protected them" in the witness protection program. In reality, they were just keeping them alive until they thought they could coax the information out of them, much like how Brint is just keeping Adan alive in the hospital for the same reason. To keep Adam searching within himself for the truth, they allow him to go for bike rides once a year, under the belief that he is to bring a package to his father. By offering the hope that his father is still alive (even though they killed him), Adam continues to try to uncover the truth, which although he thinks he is doing for himself, he is really doing as their puppet, as they want the information even more than he does. He is likely medicated to keep calm and unsuspecting, which is why he does not notice that three years have gone by. This would also explain why the package only contains his stuffed pig--the yearly bike trips have become so meaningless that he has forgotten his initial goal to "bring a package to his father" and now the doctors can just put anything in the package, knowing he has probably forgotten his father altogether. By the end, they are ready to euthanize Adam because he is of no use to them any more. All Adam knows of life at this point is the annual bike rides, and so he believes that he is about to go for a ride again. Everyone that Adam or his family thought they could trust were their enemies, and so with his parents dead, Adam truly is "the cheese."

Caela okay so my theory is that Adam/Paul is in a mental hospital and he is riding his bike in the parking lot of the asylum and the other go along with it in order to keep adam/paul from rocking in a corner because he realized the truth .Also i believe that Brint is an FBI agent trying to prove grey guilty ,Grey is also the one that brought adam/paul to the asylum

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