I Am the Cheese
by Robert Cormier
I Am the Cheese Identity Quotes
How we cite our quotes: (Chapter.Paragraph)
He had stepped outside himself, departed, gone from this place and was outside looking in, watching himself [...] And he thought, "If I can step outside myself like this, maybe I can go to other places." (6.2)
Shmoop thinks most people watch themselves from the outside only in memories, not as they experience the present moment. Since Adam doesn't remember much, does he experience the present like most people experience memories? When you watch yourself in a memory, it's almost as though you're a different person. If Adam experiences this in everyday moments, imagine how difficult it must be for him to feel whole.
"I'm going back," I yell.
"No, you're not," I answer. (11.5-6)
This is cool for so many reasons. At first when you read it, you almost think it's a typo. Normally something like this would be written out without the format of dialogue – it would be an internal monologue. Here, though, Adam is speaking out loud the kinds of little arguments we usually have with ourselves only in our heads. Because he is alone (he is the cheese, after all), when he speaks, only he can respond. The way Cormier has chosen to convey this is really creative and kind of spooky, and it of course speaks to the division within Adam's identity.
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 there like a tree. I will not bend. I will not give him the package. I am the package. (14.38)
Adam's saying "I am the package" of course makes us think of the title, I Am the Cheese (which he also says later on in the book). At various points in the book Adam finds himself at one with other things, including the wind and his bike. What does it mean that Adam identifies with so many inanimate objects and concepts?