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The Maze Runner
Transcript of The Maze Runner
by James Dashner
Discussion Chapters 1-16
Disorientation to the Glade
Disoriented: adjective; confused as to time, place, or identity.
1. Thomas is highly disoriented throughout the early portion of the book. Where does his disorientation begin?
2. Imagine how you would act differently than Thomas if you discovered yourself in the box.
3. How do the Gladers help or hinder Thomas in understanding his new surrounding?
Listen up, Shank!
4. What impact does the Gladers usage of invented slang have on Thomas?
5. On the reader?
You buggin' know???
6. Does the language become easier to grasp the more you read?
7. What familiar words can you associate with these listed? (Censor yourself if necessary)
8. How do the Gladers react to Thomas's arrive?
9. Do you agree with their initial treatment of him?
Who We've Met So Far...
Thomas Chapters 1-9
10. Formulate and justify a personal opinion of Thomas as the novel's protagonist so far. Is he:
11. Evaluate Alby in his role as leader. Is his leadership style effective?
12. Why do the Gladers still care for and respect him despite his gruff ways?
"Kid's gonna have a buggin' heart attack, nothings even been heard yet. Name's Newt, Greenie, and we'd be alright cheery if ya'd forgive our klunk for brains new leadet, here," page 9.
13. Based on his idioms and speech patterns, speculate where Newt came from before the Glade.
14. How does Newt's more laid-back attitude compare and contrast with Alby's?
15. In what ways does Newt serve to balance out Alby in terms of leadership?
Friend and Enemy
16. What qualities (physical, emotional, social) have lead to Chuck's status as an outcast among the Gladers?
17. Why is Chuck the first to embrace Thomas as a friend?
18. What do we know about Gally so far?
19. How does immediately having an enemy upon arrival impact Thomas's efforts to understand his new situation?
3rd Person Limited
The novel is written in Third Person Limited Perspective. The narrator, and thus the reader are limited to knowing only what Thomas sees, thinks, and feels.
20. What are the limitations for this and how does it impact the reading experience?
One way Dashner builds suspense and tension is by withholding information from Thomas, giving a little at a time.
21. What plot device does he use to do this, and why does it frustrate Thomas so much?
22. What examples/actions from the text demonstrate this collectivist attitude among the Gladers?
23. Are the Gladers all equal to one another and are individual rights respected?
Noun; the practice or principle of giving a group priority over each individual in it.
Cut-off from the outside, the Gladers form a semi-democratic collectivist society.
24. Do you regard the Glader society as complex or simplistic?
25. Judge the effectiveness of the Glader society; does it seem to function well?
Concept of Reality
In addition to a rigid social structure, in the the absence of past memories or explanations, the Gladers construct their own unique world-view based on life in the Maze.
26. Why do you feel the Gladers have elevated the Creators to almost mythic status?
To come to terms and understand their situation, the Gladers create:
-Laws and traditions
-Theories/mythology concerning "the Creators" and the Maze
One thing conspicuously missing from Glader society is religion. In its place are two things:
-The almost mythic Creators
-Faith the Maze can be solved
27. What would the Gladers' lives be like without the belief that the Maze could be solved?
The Girl, Changed, and The Runner
Ben and the Changing
28. How does the arrival of the girl, and the message she brings, upset the Gladers' view of reality and what they've come to believe about their lives in the Glade?
29. How is Thomas in particular impacted?
30. How does Ben represent the price of the Gladers' determination to solve the Maze?
31. What purpose does the Changing serve in the novel?
32. What are the benefits?
33. Why does Thomas have a hard time liking Minho at first?
34. Why can Minho get away with disrespecting Alby?
35. What about Minho appeals to Thomas?
36. Do you agree with the Gathering's decision to Banish Ben for attacking Thomas?
37. What does the decision to execute Ben in such as harsh manner say about the Gladers' sense of justice?
Thomas Chapters 10-16
One weakness Thomas has as the novel's protagonist is his initial lack of character traits due to having no memories or personal identity.
38. What character traits has Thomas developed by Chapter 16?
39. What does having the goal of becoming a Runner provide Thomas that he seems to need?
40. Does he fully understand what achieving this goal would mean?
The Number One Rule
"Freak, that's the Number One Rule, the only one you'll never be forgiven for breaking. Ain't nobody -
- allowed in the Maze except the Runners. Break that rule, and if you ain't killed by the Grievers, we'll kill you ourselves, you get me?" - Alby to Thomas.
41. Do you agree with Thomas's decision to break the Number One Rule to help Alby and Minho?
42. Predict what the fall-out of this decision will be?
Discussion Chapters 17-35
Enter the Maze
"Greenie, if you think that was brave comin' out here, listen up. You're the shuckiest shuck-faced shuck there ever was. You're as good as dead, just like us," -Minho to Thomas.
1. Do you agree with Minho's reaction to Thomas's putting himself in danger to try and help Alby and Minho?
2. What does Thomas's refusal to give up, despite Minho's display of hopelessness, reveal about his developing character?
Thomas vs. Minho
3. If you found yourself in their place, would you be more likely to react like the pessimistic Minho or the hopeful Thomas?
"You don't understand, shuck-face! You don't know anything, and you're just making it worse by trying to have hope! We're dead, you hear me? Dead!" Minho to Thomas.
5. Is Minho a coward? What evidence exists to suggest he is or isn't?
4. Does Thomas's refusal to give up suggest courage, or does he simply not know how desperate the situation is?
7. After Minho abandons Thomas and Alby, what does Thomas realize about the Thomas of
Monsters of the Maze
"Part animal, part machine, the Griever rolled and clicked along the stone pathway. Its body resembled a gigantic slug, sparsely covered in hair and glistening with slime, grotesquely pulsating in and out as it breathed. It had no distinguishable head or tale, but front to end it was at least six feet long, four feet think.
Every ten to fifteen seconds, sharp metal spikes popped through its bulbous flesh and the whole creature abruptly curled into a ball and spun forward," -Chapter 19.
6. Is Minho justified in his decision to separate from Thomas and Alby?
8. Do you find the Grievers easy to visualize in your mind? What aspects are a challenge to the imagination?
The torso was a silver cylinder, maybe three inches in diameter and ten inches long. Twelve jointed legs ran along the length of its bottom, spread out, making the thing look like a sleeping lizard. The head was impossible to see because of the red beam of light shining right at him... Now it was confirmed: the red light from its eye cast a creepy glow on six capital letters smeared across the torso, as if they had been written with blood:
9. What was the previously stated purpose of the Beetle Blades, as inferred by the Gladers?
10. What appears to be the relationship between Beetle Blades and Grievers?
11. Theorize what WICKED could truly mean, and why it's printed on the backs of the Beetle Blades.
Thomas in Action
Thomas's actions to save himself and Alby in the Maze show him to be almost superhuman.
11. What does Thomas's amazing performance in the Maze foreshadow about the character's true purpose for being sent to the Glade?
12. Is Thomas's method of saving Alby believable, or does it require the readers to suspend disbelief for the sake of the story?
13. What is your opinion of Minho by the end of the Griever encounter? Does he redeem himself?
14. Do you think Thomas would have survived without Minho's idea to trick the Grievers?
15. Why does Thomas finally breakdown and cry at the end of Chapter 21?
16. Would there have been any shame in crying before this point?
17. How do the Gladers' perceive crying?
Thomas in Tears
With Alby incapacitated, the task of leading the Gladers falls to Newt.
All Hail Newt!
18. Is Newt successful in this role?
19. Does he seem to want it?
20. How would life in the Glade be different if Newt were forced to take over for Alby permanently?
"Reason we're here is because almost every lovin' kid in the Glade has come up to me in the last day or two either boohooing about Thomas or beggin' to take his bloody hand in marriage. We need to decide what we're gonna do with him," -Newt, page 153.
The Trial of Thomas
Keepers in Support
"Zart the Fart, you start."
There were a few snickers as Zart, the quiet big guy who watched over the Gardens, shifted in his seat. He looked to Thomas more out of place than a carrot on a tomato plant.
20. What fact does Zart point out in Thomas's favor?
21. Why do you believe Zart makes no official recommendations when asked?
"Shank's got more guts than I've fried up from every pig and cow in the last year." He paused, as if expecting a laugh, but none came. "How stupid is this -he saves Alby's life, kills a couple of Grievers, and we're sitting her yappin' about what to do with him. As Chuck would say, this is a pile of klunk," Frypan, page 154.
23. What is Frypan's recommendation for Thomas, and how does the Council respond?
Keeper of the Cooks
Keeper of the Gardens
"We can't trust this shank. Day after he shows up, a psycho girl comes, spoutin' off that things are gonna change, clutching that freaky note. We find a dead Griever. Thomas conveniently finds himself in the Maze for the night, then tries to convince everyone he's a hero... There's too many weird things going on, and it all started when this shuck-face Greenie showed up,"
-Gally, page 157.
24. What is Gally's recommendation?
25. How much truth, or potential truth, exists in Gally's ranting against Thomas? Do you agree with any part of it?
"I think he should be punished. No offense, Greenie, but Newt, you're the one always harping about
. If we don't punish him, we'll set a bad example,"
-Winston, page 155.
23. What is Winston's initial recommendation, and which Council member becomes excited by it?
Keeper of the Blood House
Keeper of the Builders
Minho's Crazy Idea
"I was out there; I saw what this guy did - he stayed strong while I turned into a panty-wearin' chicken. No blabbin' on and on like Gally. I want to say my recommendation and be down with it... I nominate this shank to replace me as Keeper of the Runners."
26. What's so outrageous about Minho's recommendation?
27. Which Keeper actually seems to agree with Minho's suggestion?
28. What hypocrisy does Minho accuse Gally of?
29. What support does Minho offer for his suggestion?
Gally's Hissy Fit
"Things are different now. You shouldn't have done that, Minho. You should
have done that." His maniacal gaze shifted to Newt. "I know you hate me, that you've always hated me. You should be Banished for your embarrassing inability to lead this group. You're shameful, and any one of you who stays here is no better. Things are going to change. This I promise. And you, the
who thinks he's friggin' God. Don't forget I've seen you before - I've been through the Changing. What these guys decide doesn't mean jack. Whatever you came here for - I swear on my life I'm gonna stop it. Kill you if I have to."
Then he turned and left the room, slamming the door behind him.
30. What experiences have driven Gally to such maniacal behavior?
31. Are any of these statements/behaviors justified in any way?
32. Do Gally's criticisms of Newt's leadership contain any merit?
The Verdict + A Bonus
Ultimately the Council decides to show mercy on Thomas and sentences him to just one day in the Slammer.
33. Is this a fair and appropriate punishment for Thomas breaking the Number One Rule, given the circumstances?
34. What sentence would you have handed down to Thomas if you'd bee at the Gathering?
36. What were Minho's true intentions in nominating Thomas to be Keeper of the Runners? What would his reaction have been if the Council had voted yes?
In addition to leniency, thanks to Minho, Thomas is elected to be a Runner.
34. Why is Winston the only vote against the showing leniency and making Thomas a Runner?
35. Predict how Winston may become important later on in the story.
Discussion Chapters 36-49
1. What does Teresa say was the hardest thing about forgetting?
2. Does Teresa truly remember Thomas?
Discussion Chapters 50-Epilogue
Cast of the Movie
The Maze Runner
as a Hero's Journey
Sources of Inspiration
Lord of the Flies
A 1954 dystopian novel by William Golding.
The Story Continues
37. What information about the world outside the Maze do we learn from Alby after he undergoes The Changing?
38. What price does Alby pay for trying to reveal information, and what does it say about freewill for the Gladers?
39. Why do you believe Newt advises Thomas to stay away from the other Gladers?
40. Is it odd that Thomas gets to know so few of the Gladers' names despite there only being around fifty of them?
The Girl Awakes
41. How is the connection between Thomas and the mysterious girl (Teresa) made more concrete when he goes with Newt to visit her?
42. How would you feel in Thomas's place if you suddenly had a strange voice in your head?
Into the Maze and Back (Again)
43. What does Thomas learn about his physical condition after running into the Maze on his own the second time?
44. What does this imply about his purpose for being there?
45. What has become of dear Mr. Gally? Is Thomas justified in being slightly relieved he's gone?
46. Is Thomas right to promise Chuck he'll get him home?
47. How are both Thomas and Chuck helped by this promise?
Orientation and The End
Training as Runner
After dinner Minho had told him an old story - one of the bizarre and random things he remembered from before - about a woman trapped in a maze. She escaped by never taking her right hand off the wall of the maze, sliding along as she walked. In doing so, she was forced to turn right at every turn, and the simple laws of physics and geometry ensured that eventually she found an exit. It made sense.
But not here. Here all paths led back to the Glade.
48. Does this story make sense? Why couldn't the Gladers use this approach then?
49. What equipment does Minho provide Thomas for the Maze?
50. Describe the Map Room. What do the Runners do there?
The End is Triggered
51. What ominous message does Teresa telepathically convey to Thomas from within her coma?
52. What is the first sign that Teresa's message was true?
53. What does the plain gray sky and absence of the sun tell the reader and the Gladers about the nature of the Glade and Maze?
54. What revelation about the Grievers and the Cliff are made in Chapter 35?
55. How does the Box's failure to arrive threaten to upset the Gladers' society?
56. What last startling develop occurs at the end of Chapter 35, and what do you think it will mean for Thomas?
7. What unthinkable event does Teresa get blamed for that lands her in the Slammer?
8. Are Alby's fears about her justified at this point?
57. What last vital bit of information does Teresa tell Thomas as she's awakening?
3. In what ways does Teresa handle adapting to life in the Maze differently than Thomas?
4. What advantages does she have that he did not?
WICKED is good
5. What significance does Teresa writing this on her arm have, and what could it possibly foreshadow about the Creators?
6. Why is Thomas so baffled by Teresa?
Out of a Coma and Into the Slammer
"Stay with here. I don't care what happens, no no one's gonna touch this girl. Swear your lives on it," -Newt, page 241.
9. Why does Newt not want Teresa left unattended? What does this say about his character?
10. What's the one good thing about Teresa being locked-up?
Night and Visitors
Closest I've come so far to hangin' it all up. Shuck it all and kiss a Griever goodnight. Supplies cut, blood gray skies, walls not closing. But we can't give up, and we all know it. The buggers who sent us here either want us dead or they're giving us a spur. This or that, we gotta work our arses off till we're dead or not dead," -Newt 248.
What Would You Do?
11. How do the Gladers prepare now that the walls aren't closing at night?
12. How would your prepare if you were in their place, knowing the Grievers were coming?
13. How does Minho justify his idea to stay out in the Maze all night?
Grievers in the Glade
14. Is Alby's decision to step-down as leader in the best interest of the group?
15. What surprise individual shows up before the Grievers attack?
Based on Gally's bizarre rantings, it's clear he hasn't been hiding in the Glade after all.
16. Where and who with can you infer Gally has been since he disappeared?
17. What message is Gally being used to deliver?
18. Why have the Creators chosen to use Gally this way?
No one ever understood what I saw, what the Changing did to me! Don't go back to the real world, Thomas! You don't... want... to remember!
-Gally, page 258.
19. In what ways is this statement from Gally and act of kindness towards Thomas?
20. What phenomenon does Minho confirm when he follows the Griever with Gally out into the Maze?
Breaking the Code
21. Teresa and Thomas figure out that the maps point out a code; what's the problem though?
22. Who are the three chief suspects in burning the maps?
23. Fortunately for the Gladers, the maps...
24. Describe the process by which Thomas, Teresa, and the others decipher the Maze code.
Night in the Maze and Revelations
25. What does Teresa suggest could have been her's and Thomas's relationship before the Maze (Hint: It causes him to trip while running)? Does it seem plausible to you?
26. How does Minho believe the Creators are playing with them?
27. Why does Thomas believe the Creators have chosen to trigger the Ending?
Desperate Times Call for Desperate Measures
At the same time, Thomas now had a plan. As bad as it was, he had a plan.
They needed more clues about the code. They needed memories.
So he was going get stung by a Griever. Go through the Changing. On purpose.
28. Is Thomas a complete idiot for this decision, or is he doing what's necessary? What does he hope to accomplish?
29. The Grievers' hesitation to kill Thomas confirms what?
30. If you had to describe Thomas's experience during the Changing in one word, what would it be?
32. Following the Changing, what are some of the things Thomas remembers about life before the Maze? Specifically, what is the purpose of the Maze and Glade?
31. Who was taken during Thomas's Changing, and do you the reader feel a loss now that a character you know better is dead?
34. Now knowing what they know, should the Keepers be angry with Thomas for his involvement in the creation of the Maze?
34. How would you feel in the Gladers' place if you found out the only thing you knew about your past, your name, was not even real?
1. Were you surprised to learn of Thomas's role in creating the Maze, or was it expected?
2. Is it surprising that Alby attempted to destroy the maps, and what are some of his reasons for not wanting to return to the outside world?
3. Theorize why the disease Alby remembers might be called the Flare.
4. Does the burnt-out world Alby remembers seem preferable to the Gladers' current predicament?
"It doesn't do the Creators any good if we all die - this thing is meant to be hard, not impossible. I think we finally know for sure that the Grievers are programmed to only kill one of use each day. So somebody can sacrifice himself to save the others while we run to the Hole. I think this might be how it's supposed to happen."
-Thomas, page 313.
5. Is it ever justified to sacrifice one for the sake of many?
6. Thomas offers to sacrifice himself, but is he really anymore responsible for being in the Glade than the others?
Preparing to Leave
Thomas and Newt convince the Gathering their only hope is to fight through to the Griever Hole and input the code.
7. If you were in their place, would you choose to go, or take your chances in the Glade?
8. Is there really a point in the Gladers taking weapons to use against the Grievers?
9. Is it selfish or simply logical that Chuck and the other Gladers draw hope from the idea the Grievers will only take one Glader a night?
10. How is this at odds with the previous collectivist attitude of the Griever society?
"Make sure you've got your weapons. Other than that, isn't a whole lot to buggin' say -you've all been told the plan. We're gonna fight our way though to Griever Hole, and Tommy here's gonna punch in his little magic code and then we're gonna get payback on the Creators. Simple as that."
-Newt, page 327.
11. Obviously, with their knives and makeshift spears, it's not realistic that the Gladers will truly be able to take vengeance on the Creators; so why does Newt include this statement?
Gladers vs. Grievers
12. What are Alby's motivations in sacrificing himself to the Grievers?
13. Do think Alby would care that his sacrifice was in vain?
14. Are there any benefits from Alby's sacrifice?
15. Do you feel Thomas endangers the mission by deciding to keep Chuck with him and Teresa?
16. What strategy would you use if your were fighting the Grievers?
17. What had Minho and Thomas previously done to make the Griever Hole's location more obvious?
Inside the Griever Hole
18. Describe the inside of the Griever Hole. What kind of environment awaited Thomas, Teresa, and Chuck?
19. How does Thomas kill the Griever, and how does he react to this feat?
20. Teresa's able to input the code, but what goes wrong?
21. How does Chuck become a hero in the Griever Hole?
Price of Victory and the Creators
22. About how many Gladers were lost in the battle, and how does it compare to the loss of life they were expecting?
23. In what unique way do the Gladers exit the Griever Hole chamber?
24. How are Creators different than what the Gladers, or you the reader, may have expected?
25. What surprise individual shows up (again)?
26. What evidence is given to suggest Gally is being controlled?
26. What shocking final loss occurs that final make Thomas lose control?
27. How do you feel about Dashner's decision to kill off Chuck? Does it benefit the story, and how do you think it will impact Thomas's character going forward?
The Scorched World
28. What happens to the Creators the Gladers encounter? Is this a victory for the Gladers?
29. Describe the people who "rescue" the Gladers from WICKED? Would you be happy to see such individuals?
30. What have the sun flares done to the earth? What examples do the Gladers witness?
31. What is the Flare?
32. Where do the Gladers end up?
33. Do you think they are finally safe?
34. Why is it hard for Thomas to feel joy?
35. Why does he finally allow himself to feel happiness at the end?
36. What realizations does the reader have from reading the WICKED memorandum?
37. What role could this mysterious Group B have the story to come?
36. In what ways is Ava Paige's (the Chancellor writing the Memorandum) tone heartless, well-intentioned, or both?
38. What will happen to the Gladers when they wake-up in the morning? Are their troubles over, or just beginning?
At the start of the "next war" a group of British school boys are stranded on an uninhabited island with no adult supervision. At first they establish an ordered society, but eventually they begin to give into the darker aspects of human nature. Slowly, with no adults or societal expectations, they descend into savagery.
The novel's protagonist, Ralph, is elected leader of the boys upon their being stranded. He leads through fairness and a sense of justice. He concerns himself with the welfare of all the boys on the island.
Ralph is the most like Thomas from The Maze Runner, and may have partially inspired the character.
"Inside the floating cloak he was tall, thin, and bony; and his hair was red beneath the black cap. His face was crumpled and freckled, and ugly without silliness. Out of this face stared two light blue eyes, frustrated now, and turning, or ready to turn, to anger." - description of Jack from
Lord of the Flies
Jack, the novel's antagonist, represents the darker aspects of human nature. He rejects society in favor of base instincts. He represents the irrational, unintellectual, and violent parts of the human mind. The novels main conflict is a power struggle between Ralph's sense of order and Jack's volatile freedom.
"He looked like he was fifteen or so, tall and skinny. His nose was the size of a small fist and resembled a deformed potato." - description of Gally from
The Maze Runner
Gally was partially inspired by Jack. They serve different functions in the two novels, but both demonstrate dark, irrational behavior.
Piggy, the novel's deutagonist (second lead character), represents intelligence, logic, and civilization in the novel, in addition to innocence and resistance to savagery.
Piggy and Chuck have several things in common: both are looked down upon due to their weight and lack of usefulness, both represent innocence, and both meet senseless ends that profoundly impact the protagonist.
They differ in that Piggy represents intelligence and reason, whereas Chuck is not particularly intelligent compared to the other Gladers .
Simon represents virtue and morality in the novel. He is often referred to as a "Christ-like" figure, due to his spiritual nature, kind treatment of other boys, and several other biblical parallels related to him in the story.
Simon may very loosely have inspired the character of Zart. Both are quiet, kind, and enjoy nature.
Zart's refusal to pass judgment on Thomas during the trial could also be interpreted as a "Christ-like" quality.
Golding makes extensive usage of symbolism and allegory throughout the novel.
Hair, long hair more specifically, represents savagery in the novel. As the boys descend into savagery, their hair grows. The only exception is Piggy, who represents society and reason in the novel.
Clothing represents society and rules in the novel. As the boys become more savage, they shed their clothing until they are almost naked.
The conch, a large shell that can be blown like a horn, represents order and rules in the novel. The conch is used to call an assembly and the boys agree who ever holds the conch gets to speak. The boys obey this rule even after they've descended in savagery .
The Lord of the Flies: a pig's head on a pike. Jack gives this as an offering to a perceived "monster" on the island. Simon has an imagined conversation with the pig's head which parallels Christ's being tempted by Satan prior to the crucifixion.
A 1985 Science Fiction novel by Orson Scott Card
Mankind has survived two attacks by an alien race known as Formics (or Buggers). In anticipation of another attack, and orbiting school for gifted youth, called Battle School, has been setup to train future leaders in the art of war through a series of zero-gravity games. The best hope is recruit named Ender Wiggins.
Like Thomas, Ender is gifted beyond those around him. Ender's entire life at Battle School is one big test/manipulation meant to mold him into the savior mankind needs to defeat the alien force, similar to how WICKED manipulates and tests the Gladers to get the information they need to combat The Flare.
After Viewing Discussion
1. What similarities exist between life on the island and life in the Glade?
2. Scholars sometimes refer to Simon and Piggy as "sacrificial lambs." What does this mean and how could it be applied to the characters killed in
The Maze Runner?
3. One of the central ideas of
Lord of the Flies
is that man is naturally savage, even evil, and that it is society and rules that keep people from acting on these dark impulses. Do you agree with this idea about human nature? Does the behavior of Thomas and the Gladers support or contradict this idea?
Hero's Journey Refresher
The Scorch Trials