The Scorch Trials

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Solving the Maze was supposed to be the end. No more puzzles. No more variables. And no more running. Thomas was sure that escape meant he and the Gladers would get their lives back. But no one really knew what sort of life they were going back to. In the Maze, life was easy. They had food, and shelter, and safety . . . until Teresa triggered the end. In the world outside the Maze, however, the end was triggered long ago. Burned by sun flares and baked by a new, brutal climate, the earth is a wasteland. Government has disintegrated-and with it, order-and now Cranks, people covered in festering wounds and driven to murderous insanity by the infectious disease known as the Flare, roam the crumbling cities hunting for their next victim . . . and meal. The Gladers are far from finished with running. Instead of freedom, they find themselves faced with another trial. They must cross the Scorch, the most burned-out section of the world, and arrive at a safe haven in two weeks. And WICKED has made sure to adjust the variables and stack the odds against them. Thomas can only wonder-does he hold the secret of freedom somewhere in his mind? Or will he forever be at the mercy of WICKED?
Curriculet Details
85 Questions
87 Annotations
3 Quizzes

This free digital curriculum for high school students contains interactive videos exploring flashback and symbolism, as well as annotations describing tension, conflict, and imagery. Students will explore the themes of friendship and betrayal. The Common Core aligned questions, answers, and quizzes in this free online unit will increase student engagement while supporting reading comprehension.

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Chapter 1

The Scorch Trials is the second novel in the popular Maze Runner series by James Dashner. The series follows a group of teenagers trying to survive in a post-apocalyptic world. (This annotation contains an image)
How are Thomas and Teresa communicating?  
James Dashner is the author of numerous popular young adult and adult novels. In addition to his Maze Runner series, he is also well known for The Thirteenth Reality series. He lives in the Rocky Mountains with his wife and four children.  (This annotation contains an image)

Chapter 2

The mood in the room can best be described as ____________. 

Chapter 3

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? 
What situation have the boys found themselves in? Were they expecting this? 
The genre for this novel is post-apocalyptic science fiction. This means that the novel is set after an apocalyptic event has destroyed the world as we know it. 

Chapter 4

What is Thomas's main concern? 
Thomas is this novel's protagonist. Watch the video below to learn more about protagonists and antagonists. As you read, notice who emerges as an antagonist.  (This annotation contains a video)
Newt's tone with the mysterious boy is __________. 

Chapter 5

The highlighted sentence is an example of a simile. Watch the video below to learn more about similes and metaphors and look for examples as you read.  (This annotation contains a video)
How does the highlighted paragraph reflect the confusion that Thomas and the rest of the boys are feeling? 
Aris's story is just like what Thomas and his friends, who call themselves the Gladers, experienced in the previous novel. They were part of a trial by a group calling themselves WICKED to see if they could survive an escape from a giant maze. (This annotation contains an image)

Chapter 6

Aris's relationship with Rachel was just like Thomas's relationship with __________. 
WICKED stands for World in Catastrophe Killzone Experiment Department. The boys don't know much about WICKED except that they have been testing them since the first book and that they are trying to defeat the Flare, the apocalyptic event which you will soon learn more about. (This annotation contains an image)
The meaning behind Minho's tattoo reflects the theme of _________ in the novel. 

Chapter 7

By this point, you may have noticed some themes emerging in the novel. If you have read The Maze Runner, many of themes will be familiar to you: friendship, leadership, teamwork, and civilization vs savagery. There are some new themes that you will see emerge as well. Watch the video below and look for themes emerging as you read. (This annotation contains a video)
The Gladers have their own special slang used in the novels. If you haven't read The Maze Runner, are you able to understand the meaning behind sentences like the ones highlighted? If you have read The Maze Runner, how would you explain these sentences to someone who hasn't? 
Someone came and made the bodies disappear. This is not an ordinary building that the boys are trapped in. 

Chapter 8

What has changed in addition to the hanged bodies disappearing? 
In addition to being able to communicate telepathically, Thomas and Teresa share a special connection. Although their memories have been wiped clean, they know that they were friends prior to meeting in the Glade. (This annotation contains an image)
What theme do you think is emerging in the highlighted paragraphs? 

Chapter 9

Newt outlines the similarities between the boys' beginnings in the Glade to their current situation. Is WICKED still testing them? 
Whose point of view do you agree with more here: Thomas's fatalism or Newt's optimism? Why? 
Thomas and the other boys don't yet know it, but this period of hunger is part of their training. 
What does Minho mean when he says, "Slim yourself nice and calm"? 

Chapter 10

Here is an artist rendering of this character, whom the Gladers call Rat Man. (This annotation contains an image)
The man's tone could best be described as one of __________. 
This being Phase Two of the Trials meant that the Maze was Phase One. 
Dashner is using foreshadowing here. Watch the video below to learn more about foreshadowing in literature. As you read, keep the look that the Rat Man gives Aris in mind. Is there some significance in it? (This annotation contains a video)
What does the Rat Man tell the boys? Why do you think that what they see cannot be trusted? 

Chapter 11

The Flare is a disease that causes insanity. The Cranks who appeared to be outside the boys' windows earlier are infected with the Flare. The Flare is different from, although connected to, the sun flares that ravaged the planet. (This annotation contains an image)
"... all melding into one roar of confusion" is an example of 

Chapter 12

"You'd be right" and "The whole world sucks" are examples of interior monologue. Interior monologue shows the reader the innermost thoughts of the characters and is usually differentiated from the rest of the text by the use of italics. 
The highlighted paragraph deals with the novel's theme of __________. 
Leadership is one of the main themes of the novel. Alby, the group's leader, died near the end of the previous novel. Who will lead the Gladers now is a source of tension. Newt was Alby's successor, but the tattoos from WICKED deemed Minho as "the Leader." Also Thomas's natural leadership abilities cannot be denied. 

Chapter 13

What emotion is Thomas feeling? How do you think you would be feeling if you were Thomas? 
This is a form of verbal irony called sarcasm. Verbal irony is when someone says the opposite of what they mean. Sarcasm is when verbal irony is used with contempt. Newt was obviously NOT admiring Minho's leadership skills. Watch the video below to learn about verbal irony and look for more examples as you read. (This annotation contains a video)

Chapter 14

How would you best describe the narration of the novel? 
Dashner is engaging other senses as a way to build suspense and get the reader more involved.  
What is the voice telling the boys to do? 
Here is an artist's rendering of one of the characters with the silver ball. (This annotation contains an image)

Chapter 15

How safe are the boys in the tunnel? Cite examples from the text in your answer. 
The author, James Dashner, is building tension in this scene. Watch the video below to learn more about tension. As you read, notice how Dashner builds tension in suspenseful scenes.  (This annotation contains a video)
"... it still seemed like a million flashlights were pointed at him" is an example of 
There have been vast changes in the Earth's landscape since a period of solar flares. The area that the boys are in, the Scorch, has been badly affected. Presumably the ozone layer was decimated in this area so there is no escape from the sun's harmful rays. (This annotation contains an image)

Chapter 16

Thomas's actions could best be described as _________. 
As you can see, some parts of the novel are very graphic and hard to read through. Dashner is emphasizing the terrible situation the Gladers have been thrown into. 
How is the theme of teamwork illustrated in the highlighted sentences? What other example of teamwork can you think of in the novel? 

Chapter 17

Much of the way the boys talk to each other is in the form of joking insults. Sarcasm and slang are prevalent in the Gladers' speech, and are often used to show affection. Do you have friends or siblings with whom you communicate like this? 
What kind of ecosystem have the boys found themselves in? 
Thomas and Minho have both compared the Scorch to the Maze. Watch the trailer for The Maze Runner below and answer the question on the following page. (This annotation contains a video)
After watching the trailer for The Maze Runner, what similarities do you see between the two story lines? What elements are different? 

Chapter 18

These people are dressed to protect themselves from the sun's harmful rays. 
What surprises Thomas about these Cranks? 
Group B refers to the girls' group that Maze Trials Aris was a part of. Teresa is likely with them. 
"... pulling the nighttime and stars across the sky like a curtain" is an example of 

Chapter 19

Grievers were the Gladers' number one enemy in the Maze. If someone was stung by a Griever, he or she would undergo a process called the Changing that was both physically and psychologically painful. (This annotation contains an image)
What do you think awaits the group in the city? Do you have an ominous or an optimistic feeling about the city? 
Although the motives of WICKED are unknown to the boys, Aris has some theories on their methods. 

Chapter 20

Thomas _________ that Teresa is the girl from the building. 
Thomas worries that Teresa is __________. 

Chapter 21

What does Thomas feel after his meeting with Teresa? 
Thomas knows that Minho is right. Teresa would be dead if that's what WICKED wanted.  
Quiz #1: Chapters 1-21 

Chapter 22

Dashner's descriptions make the heat and the landscape feel ___________. 
Dashner uses many flashbacks in the novel as Thomas gets some memories back. Since Thomas didn't remember anything before his arrival at the Glade, the flashbacks serve as new information for both readers and protagonist alike. Watch the video below to learn more about flashback as a literary device.  (This annotation contains a video)

Chapter 23

The highlighted selection reflects the theme of __________ in the novel. 
Life in the Scorch is unbelievably hard, and the sun damage that occurs there is deadly. 
What does the old man's warning mean? Is there anything that Thomas and the group can do to protect themselves?  

Chapter 24

Here is a still of the Gladers approaching the city. Is this how you pictured it in your mind as you read? (This annotation contains an image)
What happened to Jack? 
Notice how Dashner is building tension in the highlighted paragraph. He is using simile and engaging three of the senses-- sight, sound, and touch. 

Chapter 25

"The rain fell in torrents, like God had sucked up the ocean and spit it out over their heads in a fury" is an example of 
Two of the themes in both The Maze Runner and The Scorch Trials are survival and persistence. Despite everything that the Gladers are up against, they persevere and keep their will to survive strong. They often have a hard time doing this, though, and rely on each other to help bring their hopes up. 
How are both the themes of survival and death reflected in the highlighted paragraphs? 
Here is an artist's rendition of Jorge. (This annotation contains an image)

Chapter 26

What does Jorge think that people need to understand about the city? 
There are many conflicts, both external-- like this one-- and internal in the novel. Watch the video below to learn more about conflict in literature and look for examples of internal and external conflict as you read. (This annotation contains a video)
How does Thomas convince Jorge not to fight them? 

Chapter 27

Thomas tells Jorge everything that WICKED has done to the boys, dating back to the Maze. (This annotation contains an image)
This is foreshadowing. Thomas's name will be important later. 
How does this new information from Jorge jive with what Thomas already knows about WICKED? Do you have a theory about the true nature of WICKED? 

Chapter 28

Thomas is loyal to his friends, but he knows that loyalty alone can't save Minho's life right now. He has to make Jorge think that Minho is too valuable to die. 
How does Jorge propose they make their way through the city? 
Jorge's punishment for Minho represents the savage side in the civilization vs savagery theme. Both in the city as well as in the Glade in the previous novel, order was maintained through savage punishments. While the Gladers never would have cut off fingers, they did banish people knowing that it meant they would be killed by Grievers.  

Chapter 29

The highlighted dialogue reflects the theme of ________ in the novel. 
Here is an artist's rendition of the group making their way through the city streets. Notice the decay all around. (This annotation contains an image)
What do you think of the new information that Brenda is telling Thomas? What kind of state is the world in? 

Chapter 30

Think of the Underneath as you would subway tunnels, making various passageways beneath the city. (This annotation contains an image)
Thomas is having internal conflict about 
How does Brenda know the term "Gladers"? Is this foreshadowing? 

Chapter 31

What does Thomas compare the Underneath to? 
Can you see how Dashner is building tension here? 

Chapter 32

"He looked like an animal about to pounce on its prey" is an example of 
Dashner is using short sentences and sentence fragments here to convey the feeling of suspense to readers. Do you think his tactic is working? 
The dialogue of the Cranks shows their _______. 

Chapter 33

Dashner describes the Crank as more of a crazed animal than anything else. Earlier in the novel they were compared to zombies who hadn't died first. 

Chapter 34

Even though the Crank was described as no longer being human and was intent on killing and eating Thomas and Brenda, Thomas is horrified that he is forced to kill him. What does this say about Thomas and his humanity?  
Thomas has always had a hard time dealing with savagery and death since being sent to the Glade. It is hard to picture him in his previous life as a designer of the Maze for WICKED. 
What is Brenda afraid of? 

Chapter 35

Brenda gives more information about the current state of the post-apocalyptic world. We learn that WICKED is a product of the remaining governments, set up to stop the Flare. 
Tom is having a _________. 
Below is a rendition of the sign. What do you think it means? (This annotation contains an image)

Chapter 36

Compare and contrast Thomas's feelings for Teresa and Brenda. Why do you think Thomas is having internal conflict over the two girls? 
Do you remember what Jorge said about there being different levels of the Flare? It sounds like these people are somewhere in between where Thomas is and where the man from the Underneath was.  
What is Ponytail's tone in the highlighted paragraph?  

Chapter 37

Thomas doesn't know what to make of his feelings for Brenda. He wishes he could be with Teresa, although he and Brenda have an undeniable chemistry. 
What is wrong with Thomas here? 

Chapter 38

Both Brenda and Teresa are strong female characters. Thomas repeatedly refers to both girls as being "tough."  
What does it say about Thomas's character that he is empathizing with the people who drugged and tied him up? If you were Thomas, would you be able to see their human side? 
Minho, seen here in a still from The Maze Runner movie, came back to rescue Thomas. Their friendship and loyalty are very important in the novel. (This annotation contains an image)

Chapter 39

Brenda's tone could best be described as ______. 
The theme of death in the novel is reflected in Newt and Thomas's greeting. Death is so prevalent in the lives of the Gladers that it has become accepted as commonplace.  
What does Thomas feel he should do about Brenda? 

Chapter 40

The gun is a symbol that WICKED can't control all of the variables. Keep this in mind as you read. Watch the video below to learn more about symbolism in literature and look for more examples as you read.  (This annotation contains a video)
What is Thomas going through since being shot? Do you think this was all part of his test by WICKED or not? 

Chapter 41

Thomas doesn't know where he is, but he has figured out that WICKED has taken him in an attempt to save his life. (This annotation contains an image)
Thomas overhears the lady from WICKED say that he 
Neither Thomas nor the reader know what to make of WICKED. For motives unknown, they are putting the boys through incredibly cruel tests, but then they unexpectedly save Thomas. Also, when Teresa woke up from her coma in the previous novel with her memory wiped clean, one thought that remained was, "WICKED is good." 

Chapter 42

What has Thomas realized about WICKED? 
It must be hard for the other Gladers to learn that WICKED values Thomas's life more than any of theirs.  
Jorge asks why WICKED thinks that Thomas is so special and Thomas tries to say that he isn't. Do you think Thomas believes what he is saying? Why or why not? 

Chapter 43

Teresa's telepathic message to Thomas after all of the silence reflects the themes of friendship and trust in the novel, but it was so ominous that it could also reflect the theme of betrayal.  
Brenda's statement is ________. 
The boys have no idea what the people of WICKED mean when they talk about killzone patterns and variables. Do you have any theories?  
Quiz #2: Chapters 22-43 

Chapter 44

Teresa's appearance could best be described as __________ for the Gladers.  
Thomas is torn between Teresa's obvious outward behavior and her telepathic message to him from the day before telling him to trust her. What do you think he should believe? 
What do you think of Teresa's betrayal? Should Thomas trust her or not? 

Chapter 45

Teresa appears to be the leader of Group B. That would be as strange as Aris becoming the leader of Group A so quickly. 
Who gave Group B instructions on how to kidnap Thomas? 

Chapter 46

Teresa, seen below in this still from The Maze Runner movie, personifies the theme of betrayal in the novel. (This annotation contains an image)
The sentence in italics is an example of 

Chapter 47

In a flashback, Thomas sees back to a time when he and Teresa were not only on the same team, but working for WICKED. If only he could remember what the variables and the patterns are, not to mention what WICKED's ultimate goal is. 

Chapter 48

Do you think Thomas will be able to talk Group B out of killing him? Why or why not? 
With the decision not to kill Thomas made, it seems like Teresa is no longer the leader of Group B and Harriet is back in charge.  

Chapter 49

Thomas now has _____________ in his relationship with Teresa. 
Where is the safe haven that WICKED had promised them? Can they trust WICKED? 
______________, Thomas follows Teresa. 

Chapter 50

Thomas has been a loyal and trusting friend in the two novels, even risking his life for those he cares about. He feels incredibly betrayed and angry.  
How does Thomas's situation reflect the novel's theme of betrayal? Is it still a betrayal if WICKED is forcing Teresa to do this? 

Chapter 51

The character of Teresa seems to have drastically changed since their days in the Glade. Watch the video below on how characters develop and think about how Teresa's character is developing as you read.  (This annotation contains a video)
In the debate between civilization vs savagery in the novel, Thomas has always stood on the side of civilization. Think back to how Thomas chose to talk to Jorge instead of fight him, or how Thomas took the drink from the three goons in he city even though he knew it was drugged. The only time we have seen Thomas fight back was at the urging of Brenda when the Crank was trying to eat them, and he had a lasting moral dilemma about that.  
What word best describes how Thomas must be feeling in the highlighted paragraphs?  

Chapter 52

Thomas can think of nothing else besides Teresa's betrayal. Is this one of WICKED's tests? 

Chapter 53

What do you think the Swipe that Aris is referring to must be? 
It hurts Thomas because he knows that they won't remember anything about their past together or their connection when they are together again in the Glade. 

Chapter 54

What do you think that WICKED hoped to gain from putting Thomas through this betrayal by Teresa?  
When Thomas calls himself a Runner he is referring to his job back in the Glade. Every one of the boys was assigned a job based on their abilities and Thomas's was to run the Maze. Below is a picture of Thomas and Minho as Runners. (This annotation contains an image)
The revelation that Teresa and Aris had been speaking telepathically since coming to the Glade must make Thomas feel ___________. 

Chapter 55

Teresa is referencing how she and Thomas helped create the Maze in the shared past that they don't remember. 
According to Teresa, all of the following is true of her relationship with Aris EXCEPT that 

Chapter 56

Notice Dashner's rich use of imagery here then watch the video below. Does the imagery help you to feel how difficult Thomas's journey is? (This annotation contains a video)
What do you think of Teresa's reaction to Thomas telling her that Aris had been there? Do you think she's being totally honest with Thomas now? 
This greeting of Minho's is _________ when you keep in mind how the Gladers talk to each other. 

Chapter 57

After struggling with his conflicting feelings for both girls, this must be an awkward moment for Thomas. 
Loyalty and friendship are major themes in the novel so it is not surprising that the Gladers will not be quick to forgive Teresa for her betrayal, even though she felt like WICKED made her do it. 
"... started to rotate open like dark, gaping jaws" is an example of 

Chapter 58

Dashner is building tension here. Does his writing style in these last few pages make you feel nervous about what might be coming? 
Here are some artist renderings of the creatures. (This annotation contains an image)

Chapter 59

Thomas thinks that the creatures are another test from WICKED. Were you expecting this or did you think that once the groups reached the safe haven they would be fine? 
Thomas has discovered how to defeat the creatures!  

Chapter 60

Which of the novel's themes is reflected in the highlighted sentences? 
"Crack!" is an example of onomatopoeia. Onomatopoeia is when a word is named for the sound that it makes. Another example of onomatopoeia would be to say, "The rain went drip drop." 

Chapter 61

"... landing with a wet smush in the mud" is an example of 
Contrast this action of Thomas's here to when he killed the Crank earlier in the Underneath. How has Thomas's character developed since then? 
Why does Thomas tell the man to kill Brenda? Does his plan backfire? 

Chapter 62

Thomas makes an analogy to the way WICKED treats the teens to lab rats. Do you think this is a fair analogy? 

Chapter 63

Thomas feels _____________ Teresa. 
Where are Jorge and Brenda? Why aren't they with the others? 

Chapter 64

Who is Thomas communicating telepathically with? 

Chapter 65

Rather than wind the story down for the conclusion, Dashner begins the storyline for the final novel in the series, The Death Cure. (This annotation contains an image)
Teresa tells Thomas that Wicked is good. Based on what you know WICKED has put them through, do you believe her? Should Thomas trust WICKED? 


Quiz #3: Chapters 44-Epilogue