Study Guide

I Am the Cheese Chapter 1

By Robert Cormier

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Chapter 1

  • Our nameless narrator describes – in the first person – how he is traveling from Monument, Massachusetts, to Rutterburg, Vermont on a cold October day using an old, rickety bike. (Don't try this at home.)
  • He passes a hospital, which makes him think of his father, whom he is on his way to see.
  • The narrator reminds us that this is a tough bike ride.
  • The narrator checks to be sure no one is following him. (Kind of eerie, if you ask us.)
  • When he left home that morning, he didn't say goodbye to anyone, including someone named Amy.
  • Our narrator says he is afraid of closed <em>and</em> open spaces. That means he's both claustrophobic and agoraphobic at the same time. (Remember those for the spelling bee.)
  • He's also afraid of dogs, so much so that the thought of them made him almost reconsider taking his trip to Vermont.
  • Before he left, he wrapped up a gift for his father and grabbed his father's wool cap to keep him warm. (Since Shmoop is in sunny California, we feel the need to mention that it's cold in New England in October.) He also took some money and a jacket. He checked himself out in the mirror, and he looked strange.
  • Our narrator loves Amy Hertz. He knows he could just call her to say goodbye, but he doesn't. He's keeping his eye on the prize (Vermont).
  • The narrator dumped his pills down the garbage disposal this morning. Although we don't know what these pills were for, we wouldn't recommend this.
  • Just as he started out on his trip, he hesitated again, but the sun came out, he started on his way, and there was no turning back.
  • He keeps going even though it's cold and his legs are tired.
  • Did he mention that it's cold and his legs are tired? Once more for good measure.
  • The road finally starts downhill and the bike takes him, effortlessly, away into the next town of Aswell.

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