The book “Who Moved My Cheese?” (Johnson, 1998) is an allegory of how people react to change. The story is of how two mice, Sniff and Scurry, and two littlepeople, Hem and Haw react to life in the “Maze” in their search for “cheese.” The “cheese” is a metaphor for the things that we want in our lives. For different people this represents different things they seek to make them satisfied. “The “Maze” in the story represents where you spend time looking for what you want” (Johnson, 1998, p.14). Johnson establishes the setting of the story in the maze, a complex, extensive, and daunting place. The cheese is located in Cheese Stations in various locations in the maze. The cheese comes in a variety of quantities and qualities representing that, while what we search for in life has common elements, we each search for our own type of satisfaction.
The characters in the story are initially paired up in their adventures in the maze. The mice, Sniff and Scurry, are simple characters representing simplistic and instinctive human traits. They maintain their partnership throughout the story. Sniff is the mouse that monitors his environment constantly and rapidly identifies change. Scurry is the mouse that scurries into motion when his partner Sniff identifies change or possible paths to new cheese. The mice are always ready to move on to find new cheese. Johnson depicts the mice two-dimensionally as instinctive and emotionless except in their satisfaction in finding their cheese. In contrast, the littlepeople represent the complex aspects of human behavior. Johnson depicts the littlepeople as having complex emotions and thoughts which interfere with their ability find new cheese and tell when their cheese in going stale. Hem represents arrogance, egotism, pride and possessiveness always wanting to be in charge. His cheese is success and power. At the outset of the story, Hem represents the follower who fears change and only wants the comfort of holding onto his cheese.
The beginning of story depicts the pairs in pursuit of their cheese, each employing their various attributes. All of the characters eventually find their cheese at the same location, Cheese Station C. After discovering the cheese, the pairs differed in their reaction to this treasure trove of cheese. The mice continued with their daily routine: arriving at the cheese, getting minimally comfortable, taking satisfaction in their cheese, and staying ready to move on if they sniffed out change. Initially, the two littlepeople would follow the same routine as the mice with the exception that they relaxed far more and were far less ready to move on. Over time, the littlepeople became lazier and more complacent. They came to feel entitled to the cheese and that it would always be there.
The turning point in the story comes when Cheese Station C stops producing cheese. Each of the pairs reacted to the change differently. The mice reacted quickly to hunt down new...