I Am the Cheese
How we cite our quotes:
I keep pedaling despite the weariness and the pain [... ] "Take it easy," I tell myself. "Take it easy. One mile at a time." (1.14-15)
Adam is compassionate toward himself at the beginning of his journey; he speaks to himself as he would speak to a friend. Over the course of the bike ride, though, he becomes more self-critical and loses compassion. What changes?
I look at the telephone in the booth with disgust. Not disgust for the phone but disgust at myself. I have lost all track of time. (9.2)
Self-loathing is a form of suffering we see far too much of in today's youth culture. We're not all orphans, but we all know what it's like to feel down on ourselves.
My stomach is tight and tense. The hamburger I ate in Howard Johnson's has turned into a rock in my stomach. I should have ordered something easy to digest: soup or chowder. And I should have taken the medicine with me. [...] A headache has begun: iron bars beneath the flesh of my forehead. (9.5)
We can't relate to everything that happens to Adam – Shmoop, for one, has never been interrogated by government authorities, for example – but one thing everyone can relate to is physical pain. Which is worse, mental anguish or physical pain?