Study Guide

I Am the Cheese Chapter 31

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Chapter 31

  • Still on his bike, Adam is in Rutterburg, feeling calm and happy (that's a first). There's no one in town, though. He looks for a phone booth (without quite knowing why), but thinking about it makes him sad.
  • When he reaches the hospital's orange gates, a Dr. Dupont is there waiting for him. According to Adam, he is "always waiting" for him (31.6).
  • Adam gets off his bike and enters the hospital. Then he looks out through the gates: "Someday I will ride my bike out there" (31.8). (Hmm...)
  • The hospital sits on a hill, and Adam notes that it looks more like a big house than a hospital.
  • Adam passes Mr. Harvester, who calls him Skipper. Mr. Harvester is the hospital's maintenance man, who's always reading maps. In fact, the veins on his face even look like a map. (Is this starting to sound familiar?)
  • Then he passes Whipper, Dobbie, and Lewis, three wise-guys who always try to play pranks on him. One time, he recalls, they knocked him over on his bike into a ditch.
  • Next comes Silver, a German Shepherd, who Adam says tries to knock him over whenever he's on his bike.
  • Still walking through the hospital, he passes Luke, the switchboard operator, who also often doles out meals to the residents. P.S. Switchboard operators are (or were, because now there are machines that do this) the people who answered the telephone at a big office (or hospital) and then flipped the correct switches to connect the caller to whoever they were trying to reach.
  • As he progresses up the stairs, Adam sees Arthur Haynes sitting behind the banister, just watching.
  • Adam walks toward his room, happy to be heading there, somewhere familiar, since he knows that Junior Varney is lurking around to steal his bike.
  • He knows there is a room where they will ask him questions, but he tries not to think about it now.
  • In his room, Adam asks Dr. Dupont if his father is dead. Dr. Dupont won't respond directly, but Adam knows the answer anyway. He finds out "again" (31.29) that yes, his father is dead.
  • Adam begins singing "The Farmer in the Dell" as Dr. Dupont opens the package he had in his hands. Inside is his old stuffed animal, Pokey the Pig, and his father's old army jacket and hat.
  • He keeps singing, while holding Pokey the Pig, and he finally reaches the final verse: "The cheese stands alone" (31.36).
  • Dr. Dupont says that everything is going to be all right, but directs his comments to someone named Paul. Adam doesn't know who this is, although he realizes he doesn't know his own name either.
  • He does know, though, that he is the cheese.

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