Historical Context

New Realism
With works including The Chocolate War and I Am the Cheese, Cormier became associated with a movement...

(The entire section is 708 words.)


Like Cormier's other novels, I Am the Cheese is set in small-town New England. In this case, Adam Farmer (formerly Paul Delmonte of...

(The entire section is 138 words.)

Literary Style

Separate Threads
The most challenging element of I Am the Cheese is its three-part structure. Three separate threads, or...

(The entire section is 498 words.)

Literary Qualities

Critical reaction to I Am the Cheese has taken two directions. Many readers find the novel a mind-boggling, deliberately confusing...

(The entire section is 642 words.)

Social Sensitivity

To parents and educators familiar with Cormier, I Am the Cheese will seem an extension of the author's indictment of American...

(The entire section is 209 words.)

Bibliography and Further Reading

Bell, Robert, Review of I Am the Cheese, in the School Librarian, September 1978, p. 281.


(The entire section is 344 words.)


(Masterpieces of American Literature)

Campbell, Patricia J. Presenting Robert Cormier. Boston: Twayne, 1985.

Coats, Karen. “Abjection and Adolescent Fiction.” JPCS: Journal for the Psychoanalysis of Culture & Society 5 (Fall, 2000): 290-300.

Gallo, Donald R. “Reality and Responsibility: The Continuing Controversy over Robert Cormier’s Books for Young Adults.” In The VOYA Reader. Metuchen, N.J.: Scarecrow, 1990.

Hyde, Margaret O. Robert Cormier. Philadelphia: Chelsea House, 2005.

Ishandert, Sylvia Patterson. “Readers, Realism, and Robert Cormier.” Children’s...

(The entire section is 166 words.)

Compare and Contrast

1970s: The federal Witness Protection Program is new, and not many citizens have factual information about it. Its workings are...

(The entire section is 242 words.)

Topics for Discussion

1. It is not until late in the novel that Adam discovers his secret past. What earlier indications are there that his parents are hiding...

(The entire section is 262 words.)

Ideas for Reports and Papers

1. Cormier's novels are often compared to J. D. Salinger's Catcher in the Rye and John Knowles's Separate Peace. Research...

(The entire section is 290 words.)

Topics for Further Study

If you were making a film version of I Am the Cheese, whom would you cast to play the part of Brint and how would you tell him to...

(The entire section is 203 words.)

Related Titles / Adaptations

I Am the Cheese is one of four novels by Cormier dealing with social and political evils and the role of human nature in the creation...

(The entire section is 193 words.)

Media Adaptations

I Am the Cheese is available as an unabridged audiobook from Recorded Books, LLC. It was produced in 1994 and narrated by J. Woodman...

(The entire section is 50 words.)

What Do I Read Next?

The Chocolate War (1974) was Cormier's first novel for young adults. With its disturbing ending in which the lone hero does not win...

(The entire section is 236 words.)

For Further Reference

Bryfonski, Dedria, and Gerard J. Senick, eds. Contemporary Literary Criticism. Vol. 12. Detroit: Gale, 1980. Capsulizes a broad...

(The entire section is 167 words.)