I Am the Cheese

by: Robert Cormier

TAPE OZK015–016

Summary TAPE OZK015–016

In the dialogue, Brint asks who the man was, but Adam does not respond. He asks Adam to lift his hand, but he does not.

Adam narrates as he reaches Rutterburg. He turns a corner and sees "the hospital" and meets Dr. Dupont. Adam looks outside the gates and vows to ride his bike out there someday. Dr. Dupont leads Adam back inside the hospital. They see Mr. Harvester, the elderly maintenance man, and Whipper with his two friends. Adam thinks about the time he was riding around the grounds and Whipper and his friends chased him into a ditch.

Dr. Dupont calls the place a home for troubled people, not an institution. He shoos away Silver, the German shepherd, who often chases Adam. They pass by Luke, the switchboard operator, who doubles as a meal-server and often gives Adam extra portions. Dr. Dupont and Adam walk up a spiral staircase and see Arthur Hayes, the fat man who watches everyone from the second floor. Adam is afraid that Junior Varney may try to steal his bike.

Adam enters his hospital room and Dr. Dupont gives him two pills. Adam asks the doctor whether his father is dead. Adam fears going to "that other room" with bars on the windows, where he sits and answers questions. Dr. Dupont does not answer, and Adam asks again. Adam knows that his mother is dead, although he is unsure how he knows. Adam recognizes the sad look on the doctor's face—Dupont has the same look every time Adam re-learns that his father is dead.

The doctor takes Adam's package and Adam sings "The Farmer in the Dell." The doctor opens up the package and takes out Pokey the Pig, Adam's old stuffed animal. Adam is happy the doctor found Pokey, as well as his father's old hat and army jacket. Adam finishes the song, which ends with the line, "The cheese stands alone." The doctor calls him Paul, and Adam wonders who that is. He knows there is another name, but he cannot think about it. Adam knows who he is, and he says "I am the cheese."

Brint files his annual report on "File Data 865–01," with references to "Subject A" (Adam), "Personnel #2222 (Grey)," and "Agency Basic Procedures." Brint says it was impossible to elicit the suspected information from Adam that is sought by "Department 1-R." The summary report states that this is the third annual questioning of Adam. Adam does not reveal any information given by "Witness #599–6," Adam's father, a member of the Witness Re-Establishment Project. The report also says that Adam withdraws completely when he tries to remember the death of his father and mother, but that the knowledge may be in the "psychological residue" of the subject.