Me Before You

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The Maze Symbol Icon

Lou’s mental state for much of the novel is represented by the maze in the castle above her small hometown. Lou is not often sure of what she should do, or which path to take, and is hesitant to take risks for fear of what might happen to her. Later, the maze becomes a site of trauma for Lou, the location where she was sexually assaulted as a young adult. The maze then represents all of life’s dangers, a place where Lou never goes so that she never has to move outside of her safe zone again. When Will takes Lou back to the maze, Lou’s decision to go into the maze once more shows her desire to finally move past this earlier event and find a new way through life and all of the difficulties that she must face. Lou panics in the middle of the maze, but Will comes to help her out. His assistance shows that how Will gives Lou support, especially in life’s trickier situations. With Will’s help, even after he is gone, Lou can finally get out of the maze of her own fears and move forward into a more fulfilled life.

The Maze Quotes in Me Before You

The Me Before You quotes below all refer to the symbol of The Maze. 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:
Ambition and Achievement Theme Icon
). Note: all page and citation info for the quotes below refers to the Penguin edition of Me Before You published in 2016.
Chapter 17 Quotes

I thought of my parents, my sister with her big new life. Mine was to be the small life, my ambitions the petty ones. I glanced over at the maze, at its dark, dense box hedging. I was being ridiculous. Perhaps I had been behaving ridiculously for years. It was all over, after all. And I was moving on.

Related Characters: Louisa (Lou) Clark (speaker), Will Traynor, Katrina (Treena) Clark
Related Symbols: The Maze
Page Number: 269
Explanation and Analysis:

Before meeting Will, Louisa had assumed that she was not meant to do great things, the way that her sister Katrina seemed destined to achieve an amazing life. This feeling was cemented by the sexual assault that Lou suffered in the maze at the castle above the village where Lou lives. This trauma, which occurred in a location that symbolizes the many choices and paths that Lou might have taken in her life, convinces Lou that making adventurous decisions invites pain and struggle. Lou’s fear keeps her stuck living with her parents in the tiny town where she was born, metaphorically never entering the “maze” and never making choices that carry both potential risk and potential happiness. Will brings Lou back to the maze, suggesting that she go in, and Lou finally takes the opportunity to confront her fears. With Will’s support, Lou can enter the dark maze and move forward into a better future. Lou takes back agency in her own life and goes into the maze ready to make the necessary choices to make it through and emerge on the other side with new ambitions.

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The Maze Symbol Timeline in Me Before You

The timeline below shows where the symbol The Maze appears in Me Before You. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 12
Ambition and Achievement Theme Icon
...friends and some university boys. Lou blows off Treena to go with the boys to the maze in the castle and ends up alone with the boys. Treena finds her half an... (full context)
Ambition and Achievement Theme Icon
Lou and Treena never talked about the night that Treena led Lou out of the maze . Treena led Lou safely home and Lou changed immediately. She cut off her hair,... (full context)
Chapter 14
Ambition and Achievement Theme Icon
Quality of Life Theme Icon
...nightmare with his wheelchair. Trying to lighten the mood, Will suggests that they go to the maze , but Lou refuses. (full context)
Chapter 17
Ambition and Achievement Theme Icon
...things now because of his wheelchair. For a distraction, Will suggests they try to walk the maze , but Lou refuses. Will baits her further and Lou rises to the challenge to... (full context)
Ambition and Achievement Theme Icon
In the maze for the first time in six years, Lou quickly starts to panic. She feels hopelessly... (full context)
Ambition and Achievement Theme Icon
Love and Sacrifice Theme Icon
Quality of Life Theme Icon
Once safely out of the maze , Will asks Lou why she panicked. When Lou can’t answer, Will shares his own... (full context)
Ambition and Achievement Theme Icon
...the castle grounds and Lou thanks Will one final time for leading her out of the maze . (full context)