The Maze Runner
When Thomas wakes up in the lift, the only thing he can remember is his first name. His memory is blank. But he's not alone. When the lift's doors open, Thomas finds himself surrounded by kids who welcome him to the Gladea large, open expanse surrounded by stone walls. Just like Thomas, the Gladers don't know why or how they got to the Glade. All they know is that every morning the stone doors to the maze that surrounds them have opened. Every night they've closed tight. And every 30 days a new boy has been delivered in the lift. Thomas was expected. But the next day, a girl is sent upthe first girl to ever arrive in the Glade. And more surprising yet is the message she delivers. Thomas might be more important than he could ever guess. If only he could unlock the dark secrets buried within his mind. From the Hardcover edition.
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James Dashner is the author of numerous fantasy novels for both children and adults. In addition to The Maze Runner series, he authored the popular The Thirteenth Reality series. He lives with his wife and children in the Rocky Mountains. (This annotation contains an image)
Did you know that you can look up any word in the text of the book or the text of the questions and answers? Just click (or press on mobile devices) the word you want to define and hold until the blue text selector pops up. When you release, a define option will appear. Since it's so easy to look up words, make sure you use this feature frequently... Is there a word on this page you need to look up?
How would you best describe Thomas' tone in the highlighted selection?
This is the first novel in The Maze Runner series. This novel has two sequels, The Scorch Trials and The Death Cure, and one prequel written after the other novels, The Kill Order. The Maze Runner has also been made into a movie. (This annotation contains an image)
"A few trees surrounded it, their roots like gnarled hands digging into the rock floor for food" is an example of
Thomas is the novel's protagonist. Watch the video below to learn more about the role of protagonist and, as you read, try to figure out who the antagonist(s) could be. (This annotation contains a video)
What has Thomas discovered about his surroundings thus far? What are your thoughts about where he is?
The genre of this novel is post-apocalyptic science fiction. This means that the novel is set in a world in which some catastrophe has already taken place before the novel opens and the story focuses on the remaining survivors.
Thomas worries about his ____________ in the highlighted paragraph.
Dashner was heavily inspired by Lord of the Flies, a novel about a group of British school boys whose plane crashed on a deserted island during World War II. The novels share many of the same themes, notably those of civilization vs savagery, order vs chaos, friendship and death. (This annotation contains an image)
This boy, Gally, is likely
By now you have likely noticed the unusual dialogue in the novel. The boys in the Glade have invented heir own slang. This is to show what a close-knit group the Gladers are. As you'll see throughout the novel, the boys aren't truly accepted until they sound comfortable using the slang. It is a way of belonging to the group.
How would you be feeling now if you were Thomas? Do you understand his confusion?
The narration of this novel is third person limited, meaning that the narrator can only see inside the mind of Thomas, the protagonist.
What is outside the walls of the Glade?
In the novel the maze is a symbol for the boys' lives. The fact that the walls move every night, making the maze harder to solve, shows how their lives are not in their control. Watch the video below to learn more about symbolism in literature and look for more examples as you read. (This annotation contains a video)
In these early chapters, Thomas' primary emotion is
The character of Chuck, seen here in a still from The Maze Runner movie, is based on the character of Piggy from Lord of the Flies. Besides having similar physical characteristics, both Piggy and Chuck are seen as nerds and are never fully accepted by the group. (This annotation contains an image)
Memory is one of the themes of the novel. How do you think that the highlighted paragraph reflects this theme?
Although Thomas can't remember any specifics from his previous life, he has the feeling that he's been in the Glade before.
What does Newt say that life in the Glade revolves around?
Below is an artist rendering of a Griever. (This annotation contains an image)
How do the other boys treat Chuck?
Here is a picture of the Glade from The Maze Runner movie. (This annotation contains an image)
Why do you think that not going into the Maze unless you are a runner is the most important rule?
"Was that really just yesterday?" is an example of an interior monologue. An interior monologue is when the reader gets to hear the inner thoughts of a character. Usually interior monologue is differentiated from the rest of the text by the use of italics.
How does Gally feel about Thomas?
The mood in the Glade is one of tension as the boys await the arrival of their newest member. Watch the video below on tone and mood and look for ways that Dashner expresses mood in his writing. (This annotation contains a video)
What is different about the Newbie?
Alby and the other boys think that it's suspicious that the girl is delivered one day after Thomas' arrival. Thomas won't let on, but he feels that there is a significance to it, too. He just can't remember what.
What are Thomas' feelings towards the girl? Why do you think he feels this way?
In this novel we have unseen antagonists-- the Creators, as the boys call them, the people who built the Maze and sent the boys to the Glade after wiping their memories. Even though the boys do not know who they are or what their motives are, they are clearly antagonists.
Which of the novel's themes is reflected in the highlighted paragraph?
This paragraph reflects the theme in the novel of order vs chaos. The boys in the Glade are organized about everything. They all have the job that they are the best suited for, and they all pitch in. Imagine how chaotic life in the Glade would be without the focus on organization and teamwork!
Dashner is trying to _______________ in the highlighted paragraph.
This discovery highlights the savage side of life in the Glade.
What do you think that Ben means by this? Do you think that Thomas could be evil or is it his illness talking?
Dashner is using foreshadowing in the highlighted selection. Thomas' first twenty-four hours is just a preview of all of the craziness to come. Watch the video below and look for more examples of foreshadowing as you read. (This annotation contains a video)
Thomas is likely feeling
Thomas' statement is an example of verbal irony. Watch the video below to learn more about irony in literature. (This annotation contains a video)
Minho's tone could best be described as
Here is another example of verbal irony. Thomas is clearly NOT the boss.
Why is it that people keep accusing Thomas of knowing something about what is going on? Use examples from the text in your answer.
Yet again we see the theme of civilization vs savagery. The boys have to maintain strict order in the Glade, which means democratic meetings and leadership, but the punishments they hand out are often barbaric.
Ben's punishment is that he is
Thomas is having a hard time comprehending the harsh punishment that has been handed to Ben.
This scene could best be described as
Thomas cannot think about the girl without feeling like he knows her. His feelings about her reflect both the themes of memory and friendship in the novel.
Why is being a Runner so difficult? Use examples from the text in your answer.
Yet again we see the theme of order vs chaos in the novel. The boys have to maintain strict order to manage the chaos of all of the unknown and uncontrollable elements of their situation.
What is Chuck's job?
Here is a still from the movie of when the girl was found in the box. (This annotation contains an image)
Which of the novel's themes is reflected in the highlighted sentences?
As mentioned earlier, death is one of the themes of the novel. To the boys in the Glade, death is so commonplace that it is no longer a big deal. Thomas can't get used to that way of thinking.
Do you think Thomas' actions show bravery or foolishness? Do you think he did the right thing?
Watch the fan-made portrait of Minho below. Then be prepared to answer a question about this character. (This annotation contains a video)
Think back to the video that you watched about Minho. Do you think that the portrayal of Minho that you watched was accurate? What would you have added or cut out?
Thomas comes to an important realization about himself: he could never leave a friend to die. Thomas' thoughts and subsequent actions reflect the themes of friendship and bravery in the novel.
"...the whirring, the groaning, the clanging" are examples of
Thomas is showing great persistence in his quest to save Alby, just like the persistence that the Runners need to show every day in their quest to solve the Maze.
The Grievers are designed to look
Here are more examples of onomatopoeia, when a word is named after the sound that it makes.
What do you think Thomas is feeling right now? Do you think it is easy for him to leave Alby for his own safety?
Thomas' night in the Maze is filled with tension. Watch the video below to learn more about tension in literature and, as you read, notice how Dashner builds tension into the novel. (This annotation contains a video)
The theme of __________ is reflected in the highlighted paragraph.
This is the Cliff that Alby had previously threatened to throw Thomas off of.
"Oddly, its battle cry cut off sharply instead of fading as it plummeted to the depths beyond."The previous sentence appears to be ___________ something that might become significant about the Cliff.
Quiz #1: Chapters 1-21
Thomas thinks that something is strange about the Cliff and how the Grievers disappeared.
This is an example of something the boys had assumed to be true even though they had never tested it. Are there any other strictly held beliefs in the Glade that you think wouldn't hold up?
Thomas' act of bravery saved Alby!
These thoughts of Thomas' show the Creators of the Maze to be the
The Changing is not only about physical pain. The memories and emotions brought up by it can be equally damaging.
"...or beggin' to take his bloody hand in marriage" is an example of
The form of democracy in the Glade is very similar to the one in Lord of the Flies. The main difference between the two is that order is symbolized in Lord of the Flies by a conch shell. Whoever is holding the shell is the person whose turn it is to speak, whereas in the Glade the Keepers each automatically get a turn. (This annotation contains an image)
How does the form of democracy that the boys practice work to preserve order in the Glade?
Thomas figured that Minho would defend him in the meeting, but he was not expecting Minho to say that Thomas should take his pace as Keeper of the Runners!
The Glade slang can sometimes be hard to understand. What does Newt mean in the highlighted sentence?
Minho and Gally are having an external conflict. Watch the video below and look for more examples of conflict as you read. (This annotation contains a video)
The sentences highlighted in italics are an example of
Thomas' "trial" does seem silly, but it is important to those in the Glade because even though Thomas saved two lives, he broke their number one rule. Do you remember how important maintaining order is in the Glade?
How does Thomas think the meeting went? Does he seem think that both his punishment and promotion were well-deserved?
Alby is now the third person to say that he saw Thomas during the Changing.
"His eyes were deep pockets of sorrow" is an example of
Alby is foreshadowing that the maps are in danger.
Why does Newt think that something made Alby try to strangle himself?
"... and from what I gather, you weren't plantin' flowers and helpin' old ladies cross the street" is an example of sarcasm. Sarcasm is a form of verbal irony, which we talked about earlier, that is meant to show contempt.
What do you predict will happen when Thomas sits down with the girl and why?
Thomas trying to reach back into his memory is like putting a puzzle together in the dark. As you read, think about how Thomas' life at the Glade would be different if he hadn't had his memory wiped clean.
Teresa is able to communicate to Thomas telepathically. Telepathy is when you can communicate with someone through thoughts or feelings without words.
What does Thomas compare the telepathic communication to?
Thomas' presence in the Glade has been polarizing from the very beginning. It will become even more so after Teresa wakes up.
Where is Gally?
"...Thomas felt boredom creep in like rats under the door" is an example of simile.
Until now, Thomas hadn't given much thought to the families of the boys in the Glade. Why do you think this is?
What Alby saw during the Changing was similar to what Teresa communicated telepathically to Thomas-- that Thomas helped the Creators of the Maze.
The sarcasm of Alby's words in the highlighted selection is a form of
The highlighted paragraphs echo the novel's theme of persistence. Thomas is not going to give up.
The theme of ___________ is reflected in the highlighted sentences.
Here is an artist's rendering of Minho showing Thomas the Map Room. The Map Room is where the Runners convene at the end of each day to sketch out how the Maze had changed overnight and look for patterns. (This annotation contains an image)
We have already mentioned that the Maze is a symbol for the chaos of the boy's life. Contrast that with what Alby is saying about the Glade in the highlighted paragraph. What do you think the Glade could be a symbol for?
Dashner uses vivid imagery to describe the Maze. Watch the video below to learn more. As you read, notice how the imagery in Dashner's descriptions enrich your reading. (This annotation contains a video)
From the tone of the highlighted paragraph, we can surmise that Thomas is feeling very ____________ about his first day of Runner training.
Below is a picture of a beetle blade from The Maze Runner movie. (This annotation contains an image)
Dashner is ____________ that there is an exit from the Maze that the Runners haven't yet discovered. Thomas wants to check, but Alby is sure that every inch of the Maze has been examined over the past two years.
Watch the trailer for The Maze Runner below and answer the question on the following page. (This annotation contains a video)
After watching the movie trailer, how do you think the book compares to the movie? Does anything surprise you?
Thomas is having an internal conflict about whether or not to tell the other boys about his connection with Teresa and what he knows.
What is Minho thinking?
Thomas and Minho have found where the Grievers enter and exit the Maze from!
What does Minho think is the most important thing?
This is what Teresa meant by the ending-- no sun and no supplies. The Creators are forcing them into action, otherwise they will all perish.
How do you think the story will change now that Teresa is awake? Do you think she will remember enough to make herself useful solving the Maze?
The theme of memory gets stronger in the novel now that Teresa is present. She and Thomas share a past that they are both trying to remember.
What are signs of the Ending in the novel?
Keep this in mind as you read.
What could happen as a result of the walls not closing?
The Gladers all working together to prepare for the onset of the first night that the doors do not close reflects the theme of order vs chaos.
Do you agree with Thomas' theory? Why or why not?
The theme of friendship is also stronger in the novel since Teresa woke up. Not only do the boys have to trust and rely on each other to stay alive, but Thomas feels that his unknown connection to Teresa is vitally important.
Thomas talking at nightfall with Alby, Newt and Minho shows that he is now regarded as
Newt saying that he would spend the night in the Maze with his hurt leg shows that he is willing to sacrifice himself for the good of the group. Watch for more examples of sacrifice emerging as a theme in the second half of the novel.
"The anticipation of what might happen was overpowering, a suffocating blanket of misery and fear that began to take on a life of its own" is an example of
Notice how Dashner uses imagery to build tension and suspense in this scene.
What is Gally telling the boys? Do you think they should believe him?
Gally's thoughts are similar to Alby's after going through the Changing. What do the boys remember about the outside world that is so horrible?
What is the significance of the Griever Hole?
Gally said that the Grievers will kill one person a night. What is odd and unknown is how he would be privileged to that information.
What does Thomas think the "code" of the Maze could be?
The persistence that Minho and the other boys felt is giving way to hopelessness.
Newt and Minho are hesitant about letting Teresa out of the Slammer because they don't trust her. Do you agree with them or with Thomas?
We talked about both mood and imagery earlier in the novel, but have not yet tied the two together. Do you see here how Dashner is using imagery to create a foreboding mood? This is similar to how he used imagery to create tension in Chapter 38. Look for more examples of both imagery and mood as you read.
Minho's tone could best be described as
Quiz #2: Chapters 22-42
Thomas has discovered the code!
After her help discovering the code, Teresa is finally trusted and accepted a little.
Which of the novel's themes is highlighted in the selected paragraphs?
Teresa's theory might not be far off. It is obvious that their brains were altered to clear their memory, so perhaps whoever did that created their telepathic connection.
What are Thomas' main hesitations in telling others about his telepathic connection to Teresa?
Now that the walls are no longer moving, the boys' hope continues to wane even more. Their persistence and determination are fading fast. (This annotation contains an image)
"Despair hung in the air like the smoke from the Map Room" is an example of
Thomas wants to make sure none of the Gladers find out about his connection with Teresa.
Why does Thomas want to get stung by a Griever?
Thomas' plan shows the level of sacrifice he is willing to make for the group. What other examples of sacrifice have we seen in the novel?
How does Thomas' action highlight both the themes of bravery and sacrifice in the novel?
Here is a still from The Maze Runner movie of a character going through the Changing. (This annotation contains an image)
How long is Thomas unconscious for the Changing?
Did you notice how Dashner didn't reveal Thomas' plan to Teresa? He does this to build tension for the readers.
The way that Thomas describes it, their life in the Glade sounds like one long
Again we see the themes of persistence, civilization vs savagery and order vs chaos. The boys have not only not given up, but created a working society within the experiment.
How would you have responded to Thomas' revelations if you were one of the Gladers?
The genre for this novel is post-apocalyptic science fiction, meaning that the story takes place after a tragedy has wiped out most of the earth. This tragedy must be what Alby is referring to.
Alby's tone could best be described as
Thomas is willing to sacrifice his life to help out the others.
The Flare, as described, sounds like
Thomas' primary concern isn't for his own safety, but for Teresa's and Chuck's safety.
How are people reacting to Thomas' plan? Do you think it will work?
The preparation highlights many of the novel's themes: order vs chaos, civilization vs savagery, bravery, fear, sacrifice and leadership.
Below is an example of one of the signs from the Maze that Thomas is referring to. (This annotation contains an image)
What promise is Thomas referring to?
The highlighted passage is especially reminiscent of Lord of the Flies, whose similarities to this novel we discussed earlier. Watch the trailer below and answer the question on the following page. (This annotation contains a video)
What similarities in themes and characters did you notice between Lord of the Flies and The Maze Runner?
Notice how Dashner builds tension with his writing in these final chapters.
Alby's actions reflect the theme of _________ in the novel.
The Maze is requiring the boys to get in touch with their savage side and battle the Grievers so Thomas and Teresa can get through.
The highlighted sentence contains an example of
Thomas is the first person in Glade history to beat a Griever!
What was Chuck's contribution in the Griever Hole?
The Gladers have won the battle, but they have no idea what awaits them outside of the Maze.
Minho's response to seeing the Creators is one of
The lady refers to the past two years of the boys' life as the "Maze Trials." It was all an elaborate test!
Describe the sacrifice that Chuck made for Thomas. Knowing his character, does this surprise you?
Chuck had been a symbol of hope for Thomas-- hope that there were normal lives waiting for the boys at the other side of the Maze.
What is Thomas feeling as they run away from WICKED?
Remember how it never rained in the Maze? They are officially back in the real world.
In addition to giving background information to WICKED and the state of the world, Dashner is also __________ the set-up for the sequel to this novel.
Thomas is going through many different emotions: happiness, safety and relief. But these emotions are clouded by memories of Chuck and his sacrifice.
Where do the Gladers find themselves as the novel draws to a close? What do you predict for their future?
The group who "rescued" the Gladers from WICKED was actually WICKED! The Gladers are now advancing to the next stage of their test.
Quiz #3: Chapters 43-Epilogue