Study Guide

I Am the Cheese Chapter 2

By Robert Cormier

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Chapter 2

  • This chapter opens with a transcript of some sort that seems to have been recorded on a cassette tape. (Side note: a tape is what old-timers used to use to record and listen to music, before CDs and mp3s. You've probably seen these lying around at garage sales and your grandparents' house.) This is a pretty cool narrative technique, different from what you see in most novels.
  • The conversation is between a person named Brint (labeled in the transcript as "T"), who is introducing himself, and someone labeled "A." They are talking about memories – more particularly, A's first memory.
  • The format then turns back to narrative prose, third person this time. (Many of the chapters involve both transcribed dialogue and third person narrative, seamlessly woven together to tell one story. In order to preserve that seamless feeling, Shmoop won't mention when the narration shifts. Just one more reason for you to sit down and take some time with the book. Plus, the constant alternation actually makes it difficult for us as readers to know how much is being spoken aloud anyway.)
  • A remembers the happy conversations between his mother and father that he used to overhear from his bedroom while he was cuddling with his stuffed animal friends. His dad made jokes, his mom was tender – life was good.
  • One night, though, he heard his mother and father speaking more harshly than usual....
  • Brint asks A what he heard. A has a hard time distinguishing between what he actually heard and where he is just filling in the blanks. (Like when you think you did your homework, but it was really just a dream.)
  • He does remember taking a trip, an unpleasant bus ride. Brint presses him for more details, but all he can remember are a few smells, the sad mood, and the feeling he was running away from something. He says he can't remember more, but...
  • Then he does remember more – he remembers clues. But he doesn't trust Brint.
  • Brint asks A: "What clues?" Had he said that out loud? A doesn't know (and neither do we).
  • A decides he's through with the session, and they end the tape.

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