I Am the Cheese

by: Robert Cormier

Important Quotations Explained

Quotes Important Quotations Explained

"...I stood there with all that immensity of space around me in center field and I felt as though I'd be swept off the face of the planet, into space."

Adam says this at the very beginning (Section 1) of the book, as he lists some of his various fears, such as claustrophobia and a fear of dogs. His claustrophobia is understandable, as Adam is physically confined to a mental hospital. He is also psychologically imprisoned, as he is not able to grasp the reality of his tragic situation, nor is he able to tell anyone about his secrets or escape his secret life. Adam sympathizes with Arthur Hayes when he sees him encaged in the fire escape. Adam's fear of phone booths is as much due to the absence of open communication with other human beings, as the small physical space of the booth. The basis for his fear of open spaces, however, is subtler. Adam has only a loose hold on his identity, and he is dimly aware, at this point, of how much it is has been altered without his consent. Whereas he delights in the powerful feeling of moving outside his body when talking with Brint, he accepts the out of body experience because he is controlling it. On the other hand, in center field, as in his life, Adam knows that he is a helpless individual in a huge world where others hold the reins. He is alone in the huge space of the world, as well as the tiny details of life.