I Am the Cheese Discussion Questions

Instructor: Kerry Gray

Kerry has been a teacher and an administrator for more than twenty years. She has a Master of Education degree.

'I Am the Cheese' is a novel by Robert Cormier that consists of a narrative that alternates with a series of tape transcripts in which Adam, a teenage boy, gradually remembers his past. This lesson will guide classroom discussions about this novel.

I Am the Cheese

I Am the Cheese by Robert Cormier uses a unique story structure to explore the life of a teenager who has unwittingly been caught up in a government conspiracy. These questions will lead to a deeper understanding of the characters, writing style, and main points in this story.

Tape OZK001-005

The questions in this section will help students comprehend the first part of the story.

  • Describe the narration style of this story.
  • What are some of Adam's fears?
  • Explain Adam's thinking process when planning his bike trip.
  • What is Adam's earliest memory?
  • Describe Adam's relationship with Dr. Brint.
  • Why is the memory of the old man at the gas station significant?
  • Why is the allusion to 'The Farmer in the Dell' used in this story?
  • How does Adam react to questions about Paul Delmonte and Amy?
  • What are the 'clues'?
  • Why is Adam afraid of dogs?
  • Describe Adam's relationship with Amy.
  • What is the Number?
  • Why does Adam lie to Amy?

Tape OZK006-011

The following questions will help students understand the events that occur in tapes OZK006-011.

  • Why do you think Adam never asked his parents about his birth certificate?
  • How does Adam remember his mother?
  • Why is Adam hesitant to reveal all of his memories to Brint?
  • What does Adam mean when he says he discovered 'too much and not enough'?
  • Why does Adam feel like he needs to spy on his parents?
  • What happens to Adam in Carver? What does this reveal about Adam?
  • According to Brint, why can't Adam remember things?
  • Describe Brint's reaction when Adam mentions the 'gray man.'
  • How does Adam change over the course of his time in the institution? Why?
  • Who are Arnold and Edna?
  • What does Adam remember about Grey?
  • What concerns do Adam's parents have as he grows older?

Tape OZK012-016

The next set of questions review the end of the book.

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