© 2014 Shmoop University, Inc. All rights reserved.
I Am the Cheese

I Am the Cheese

by Robert Cormier

Memory and The Past Theme

If there's one thing we learn from <em>I Am the </em>Cheese, it's that memory is a precious thing. We take for granted the fact that we can recall why we entered a room (usually…) or whether our parents are still alive. Adam's lack of memories causes him to feel lonely and confused, but at the same time it protects him from the grief of the traumatic experiences he's had. When he does remember, it's beautiful how vivid these memories are. When people say they have a vague memory of something, there's probably a more vivid memory deep down, just waiting to be brought to the surface. If only, like Adam, we had someone who already knew our life story and could give us a nudge in the right direction....

Questions About Memory and The Past

  1. Do you think Adam can remember more than he's letting on to Brint?
  2. What made Adam lose his memory? A head injury? Medication? Post-traumatic stress? Are there other possibilities?
  3. What other characters in the book have memories? What do these memories say about them?
  4. What did you have for lunch last Thursday? (Not as easy as it sounds, right?)

Chew on This

Try on an opinion or two, start a debate, or play the devil’s advocate.

The memories that Adam does recall are so traumatic that it would be better if he couldn't remember anything at all.

Without Brint there to ask him questions, Adam would have no memories at all.

People who Shmooped this also Shmooped...

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement