© 2016 Shmoop University, Inc. All rights reserved.
I Am the Cheese

I Am the Cheese


by Robert Cormier

Adam Farmer Timeline and Summary

Narrative 1

  • Adam is biking from Massachusetts to Vermont to visit his dad at the hospital.
  • Our guy is always thinking: mostly of his mother, father, and girlfriend, Amy Hertz. He also sings, on and off, verses from "The Farmer in the Dell."
  • He meets an old man with big veins who wants to help him plan his journey.
  • A scary dog tries to topple him off his bike, freaking him out.
  • He stops at a Howard Johnson's (natch) and tries to call Amy, but no one picks up.
  • When he stops for food, three bullies taunt him.
  • He tries to call Amy again. This time a man picks up and says he has the wrong number.
  • Return of the bullies: they knock him off his bike and into a ditch.
  • An old couple stops to help him out of the ditch. They drive him close to his stopping point, a motel he and his parents had stayed at the year before.
  • Adam's bike gets stolen and a creepy old man tells him he saw who stole it. Adam goes to the boy's house and fights him, getting his bike back and taking off again.
  • Adam arrives at his stopping point and tries to call Amy. The same man picks up and tells him he's had that number for three years.
  • He sees the motel he was planning to stay at and it's abandoned. He's told it has been closed for three years. He freaks out.
  • Suddenly Adam is arriving at the hospital in Vermont, and we find out that he is a patient there.
  • He walks through the halls with his doctor and passes the same string of people he met on his bike journey.
  • In his hospital room, he keeps singing "The Farmer in the Dell" and wonders why the doctor is calling him Paul.
  • Then the bike ride starts all over again...

Narrative 2

  • Brint and Adam begin talking about his first memory: when he was very young, he and his parents abruptly left their home, as if they were running away from something.
  • Adam remembers other things: running away from someone with his dad into the woods; pulling pranks with his girlfriend, Amy; finding out that someone from his hometown had never heard of his family.
  • Brint asks Adam a lot of questions.
  • Adam remembers how he started getting suspicious, so he snooped on his parents. He heard his mom talking to an alleged aunt, and he found two birth certificates with his name on them.
  • He remembers Mr. Grey, who would often come to their house.
  • Adam's dad realized he was suspicious and told him the truth: his dad had been a witness to government corruption, endangering the whole family. They were put into the Witness Re-Establishment Program.
  • Adam is scared.
  • The whole family has to leave town one day because of a suspicious wiretap.
  • While they're on their trip, a car barrels into the Farmer family, killing Adam's mother and injuring Adam.
  • Adam isn't sure what happened to his father, but he did hear the people responsible say, "They'll get him," and he seems to remember recognizing one of the men.
  • After this, he retreats into himself and we don't hear anything more from him – we only see Brint's final transcript.