Diary of a Wimpy Kid

by

Jeff Kinney

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The Cheese Touch Symbol Analysis

The Cheese Touch Symbol Icon

“The Cheese” is a moldy bit of cheese left out on the school basketball court. Legend holds that anyone who touches the Cheese is infected with the “Cheese Touch,” which they can pass to others by touching them. Consequently, students who are thought to have the Cheese Touch are socially ostracized and treated as if they are literally infections. The Cheese Touch thus symbolizes the bullying and exclusion of certain students based on largely arbitrary factors. In Greg’s middle school, social status is all-important, and students struggle to fit in and be perceived as “cool”—an elusive designation that relies on measures such as clothes, wealth, looks, and athletic ability. Students who happen to fall outside those prevailing norms, like Greg’s “weird” neighbor, Fregley, are socially excluded. The Cheese Touch illustrates what happens to those who don’t conform to certain standards of behavior, speaking, and even dressing. Greg’s preoccupation with popularity might sometimes seem excessive, but the idea of the Cheese Touch emphasizes the high social stakes of fitting in at middle school. For example, one student who had the Cheese Touch, Abe Hall, was bullied so relentlessly that he left school at the end of the year. The Cheese Touch symbolizes the ways that, for young teenagers like Greg, the loss of social status and exclusion from the wider peer community can be devastating.

The Cheese Touch Quotes in Diary of a Wimpy Kid

The Diary of a Wimpy Kid quotes below all refer to the symbol of The Cheese Touch. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Social Status and Friendship Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Abrams edition of Diary of a Wimpy Kid published in 2007.
May Quotes

If the truth ever came out about how the Cheese disappeared, Rowley would be finished. He’d have to move out of the state, and maybe even the country. That’s when I decided to speak up. I told everyone that I knew what happened to the Cheese. I said I was sick of it being on the court, and I just decided to get rid of it once and for all…if I threw away the Cheese, guess what that meant? It meant that I have the Cheese Touch.

Related Characters: Greg Heffley (speaker), Rowley Jefferson
Related Symbols: The Cheese Touch
Page Number: 214-215
Explanation and Analysis:
June Quotes

Well, if Rowley appreciated what I did for him last week, he hasn’t said it. But we’ve started hanging out after school again, so I guess that means me and him are back to normal. I can honestly say that so far, having the Cheese Touch hasn’t been all that bad.

Related Characters: Greg Heffley (speaker), Rowley Jefferson
Related Symbols: The Cheese Touch
Page Number: 216
Explanation and Analysis:
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The Cheese Touch Symbol Timeline in Diary of a Wimpy Kid

The timeline below shows where the symbol The Cheese Touch appears in Diary of a Wimpy Kid. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
September
Bullying Theme Icon
Wednesday. In physical education class, Greg takes a look at “ The Cheese ,” a moldy bit of cheese left on the basketball court. Greg explains that anyone... (full context)
May
Social Status and Friendship Theme Icon
Bullying Theme Icon
The Cheese is only a few feet away from where they’re standing on the basketball court. One... (full context)
Bullying Theme Icon
Independence and Growing Up Theme Icon
...was the one who threw away the Cheese—even though this means he now has the Cheese Touch . (full context)
June
Social Status and Friendship Theme Icon
Independence and Growing Up Theme Icon
Friday. Since getting the Cheese Touch , life hasn’t been too bad for Greg. He and Rowley are friends again, and... (full context)