The Maze Runner

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Alby Character Analysis

The leader of the Gladers, Alby is the oldest and most trusted teenager in the Glade. Despite Alby’s merciless enforcement of the strict laws of the Glade, he is a competent leader capable of inspiring loyalty and bravery in the other Gladers. After going through the Changing and learning about the devastations that have struck the outside world, Alby becomes withdrawn and loses his will to lead. Unable to confront the realities waiting for him outside the Glade, Alby sacrifices himself to the Grievers in a desperate attempt to protect his friends.

Alby Quotes in The Maze Runner

The The Maze Runner quotes below are all either spoken by Alby or refer to Alby. 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:
Memory and Identity  Theme Icon
). Note: all page and citation info for the quotes below refers to the Delacorte Press edition of The Maze Runner published in 2009.
Chapter 13 Quotes

“This ain’t got nothin’ to do with no hate or like or love or friends or anything. All we care about is surviving. Drop your sissy side and start using that shuck brain if you got one.”

Related Characters: Alby (speaker), Thomas
Page Number: 86
Explanation and Analysis:

Alby, the leader of the Gladers, is a tough young man. He understands that life among the Gladers is about living or dying, nothing else. Because of their isolation and the constant danger in their environment, the Gladers needs to be on their guard--they can't give in to their innate sense of sympathy (or so they assume). Alby's job is to keep his followers, including Thomas, healthy and sane--he's stern with them, and some of the rules he enforces seem cruel, but supposedly he only acts this way because he wants them to survive.

Alby's speech suggests that he sees maturity as a somber, no-nonsense affair. Being a mature person means being tough, strong, and never sympathetic--it's all about upholding law and order. These ideas will be challenged throughout the book, however.

It's also worth noting that in this all-male group, anything seen as feminine or "sissy" is considered weak or shameful. Once again the Glade resembles a kind of harsh high school environment.

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Chapter 14 Quotes

Alby spoke in a loud, almost ceremonious voice, looking at no one and everyone at the same time. “Ben of the Builders, you’ve been sentenced to Banishment for the attempted murder of Thomas the Newbie. The Keepers have spoken, and their word ain’t changing. And you ain’t coming back. Ever.”

Related Characters: Alby (speaker), Thomas, Ben
Page Number: 93
Explanation and Analysis:

In this passage, Alby punishes Ben--who's pleading temporary insanity, i.e., the "Changing"--for attempting to kill Thomas. Ben probably doesn't deserve such a harsh punishment--he wasn't in his right mind when he attacked Thomas, and has shown himself to be valuable to the Gladers in other ways, too. Furthermore, he's begged for forgiveness and appealed to the other boys' sympathies. Yet Alby is so insistent on procedure and ceremony that he doles out a harsh punishment to Ben, whether it's just or not. Alby believes that his job is to maintain safety and unity among his followers--the best way to do so, he thinks, is by harshly punishing anyone who steps out of line. There's a constant sense of danger among the Gladers, but not just because of the Maze--Alby himself is a dangerous person, and the kind of rigid, conformist mentality that allows for cruel punishments like this can easily lead to other atrocities.

Chapter 23 Quotes

“Are they changed because they want to go back to their old life, or is it because they’re so depressed at realizing their old life was no better than what we have now?”

Related Characters: Thomas (speaker), Alby, Newt
Related Symbols: The Changing
Page Number: 149
Explanation and Analysis:

Here Thomas sits with Newt and discusses the Changing, the mysterious mental transformation that Alby is now undergoing as he recovers from the Grievers' venom. Newt explains that the Changing can be intensely painful for some people--during the Changing, Gladers see flashes of their old lives, and then have to return to their present-day existences outside in the Glade. Newt takes the position that the Changing is depressing because Gladers get to remember the past, but then have to go back to their current lives, which are harder and sadder than their past lives. Thomas, however, suggests that the Changing is so traumatic because it illustrates that the Gladers never had a happy life--their pasts are no better than their presents.

The passage corresponds to two views about human development. If the Changing symbolizes puberty and maturity, then Newt is arguing that people are innately good and innocent--and they lose their innocence during puberty. Thomas, however, suggests that there is innate goodness, or an innate lack of goodness--childhood is no happier or better than adulthood.

Chapter 26 Quotes

“I didn’t do anything wrong. All I know is I saw two people struggling to get inside these walls and they couldn’t make it. To ignore that because of some stupid rule seemed selfish, cowardly, and...well, stupid. If you want to throw me in jail for trying to save someone’s life, then go ahead. Next time I promise I’ll point at them and laugh, then go eat some of Frypan’s dinner.”

Related Characters: Thomas (speaker), Alby, Newt, Frypan
Related Symbols: The Maze
Page Number: 166
Explanation and Analysis:

In this passage, Thomas negotiates with his fellow Gladers. Thomas has saved the lives of Minho and Alby while they were in the Maze--but in the process, he's broken the rules, venturing into the Maze. A trial is held for Thomas, to determine whether he should be punished for breaking the rules or praised for helping his peers.

The trial illustrates the basic tension between the Gladers: those who believe in rules and order, and those who believe in right and wrong. Thomas defends himself by saying that protecting Alby and Minho was the "right" thing to do--he doesn't deny that he broke the rules, but he questions whether such rules are really worth following in such a situation. Notice that Thomas also says that saving Alby and Minho was the practical thing to do--had he followed the rules, his peers would have died, leaving the entire community weaker.

Chapter 30 Quotes

Newt’s head appeared at the little glassless window, looking through the bars, a smirk on his face. “Nice reward for breakin’ the rules. You saved some lives, Tommy, but ya still need to learn—”

“Yeah, I know. Order.”

Related Characters: Thomas (speaker), Newt (speaker), Alby, Minho
Page Number: 191
Explanation and Analysis:

Thomas has been sent to the Glade jail, the Slammer, for disobeying the rules of the community. In the Slammer, Newt lectures Thomas about the importance of obedience to authority. But by this point in the novel, Thomas has already heard Newt's little speech several times--it's getting boring, and Thomas doesn't take it even halfway seriously.

Thomas is beginning to develop his own moral code, distinct from that of the Glade. While others, such as Newt, emphasize obedience to authority, Thomas makes his own rules, and acts for moral reasons--even going out of his way to save Alby and Minho from the Maze. Thomas's self-reliance makes him the most sympathetic and admirable character in the book. Rules and laws are useless when they go against fundamental morality, and so Thomas's disobedience looks like heroism.

Chapter 31 Quotes

Alby continued. “I hope the Changing doesn’t give us real memories—just plants fake ones. Some suspect it—I can only hope. If the world’s the way I saw it...” He trailed off, leaving an ominous silence.

Related Characters: Alby (speaker), Thomas
Page Number: 197
Explanation and Analysis:

In this passage, Alby tells Thomas that during his (Alby's) Changing he saw images (supposedly his own memories) of the outside world, beyond the Glade. Alby was frightened by such images, and hopes that they're just hallucinations, not real memories. Alby's reaction to the images is interesting, because he seems not to enjoy them in the slightest. If Alby's memories symbolize his old life, then the fact that Alby rejects such images might suggest that he'd prefer to hang onto his life in the Glade. Alby is a kind of Adam figure, trying to stay in the Garden of Eden for as long as possible before he gets knowledge of the outside world. One could say that he's also a quintessential "child" archetype as well, because he's trying to cling to his innocence and ignorance for as long as possible, and is afraid of the "Maze" and outside world of adolescence and adulthood.

Chapter 51 Quotes

“I’m telling you.” Alby sounded like he was begging—near hysterical. “We can’t go back to where we came from. I’ve seen it, remembered awful, awful things. Burned land, a disease—something called the Flare. It was horrible—way worse than we have it here…Better to die than go home.”

Related Characters: Alby (speaker), Thomas, Newt
Page Number: 312
Explanation and Analysis:

In this passage, it's revealed that Alby doesn't want Thomas and his friends to go back to the outside world--he wants everyone to remain in the Glade, where life is dangerous and strict, but at least ordered and familiar. Alby has been sabotaging any plans that could potentially lead to an escape--he's absolutely desperate to remain in his current home. Alby explains that he's seen visions of the outside world, in which existence looks cruel and frightening.

In spite of--or perhaps, because of--the fact that he's a leader among the Gladers, Alby is too afraid to leave the Glade forever. For all his pretensions of maturity and control, he's a child--too frightened of the outside world to explore it on his own, and longing to remain in his state of "ignorant bliss."

Chapter 55 Quotes

Minho continued. “Alby didn’t wanna go back to his old life. He freaking sacrificed himself for us—and they aren’t attacking, so maybe it worked. We’d be heartless if we wasted it.”

Related Characters: Minho (speaker), Thomas, Alby, Newt
Page Number: 334
Explanation and Analysis:

In this passage, Alby, the leader of the Gladers, has just sacrificed himself to the deadly Grievers in order to protect his friends from danger. Alby has been frightened of leaving the Glade for some time now--yet here, he not only participates in the movement to explore the outside world; he even gives up his own life for the sake of the mission.

Alby's sacrifice, it could be argued, reinforces how opposed he was to leaving the Glade. He's exceptionally brave, and yet he's also deeply frightened of going back to his old life--a life that he's previously described as terrifying and horrible. Alby's act is a kind of noble suicide, designed to free himself from the pain of returning to the past, but also to help those who are determined to do so.

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Alby Character Timeline in The Maze Runner

The timeline below shows where the character Alby appears in The Maze Runner. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 2
Stability and Order vs. Change and Chaos  Theme Icon
...with domesticated sheep and pigs. One of the boys steps forward and introduces himself as Alby. Noticing that all the other boys look at him with reverence, Thomas figures out that... (full context)
Stability and Order vs. Change and Chaos  Theme Icon
Thomas asks Alby to tell him where they are. Alby obliges, sitting down in front of him, which... (full context)
Chapter 3
Memory and Identity  Theme Icon
Growing Up Theme Icon
...to push past the boy and go up the stairs, but the boy says that Alby doesn’t let the “newbies” see someone who’s been stung. The boy then tells Thomas that... (full context)
Stability and Order vs. Change and Chaos  Theme Icon
Hope Theme Icon
...which makes some of the other boys snicker. Gally lets Thomas pass him, hoping that Alby will punish him for breaking the rules. (full context)
Memory and Identity  Theme Icon
Growing Up Theme Icon
At the top of the stairs, Thomas opens a door and sees Alby and Newt sitting by Ben who is writhing in pain on a bed. Large green... (full context)
Chapter 4
Memory and Identity  Theme Icon
Growing Up Theme Icon
...a handle. Chuck finds Thomas and hands him a sandwich. After having bad interactions with Alby and Gally, Thomas feels happy that he can rely on Chuck as a friend. When... (full context)
Chapter 6
Memory and Identity  Theme Icon
Growing Up Theme Icon
...they can be expected to find a way out. As he thinks through these problems, Alby taps his shoulder and tells him that he will give him a tour now. (full context)
Chapter 7
Stability and Order vs. Change and Chaos  Theme Icon
Alby takes Thomas to the Box, which is what they call the metal doors in the... (full context)
Memory and Identity  Theme Icon
Stability and Order vs. Change and Chaos  Theme Icon
Alby brings Thomas to the South Door. Alby says that he’s been living in the Glade... (full context)
Stability and Order vs. Change and Chaos  Theme Icon
Thomas sees another beetle blade and asks Alby what they are. Alby says that they think they’re spies for the Creators of the... (full context)
Chapter 8
Growing Up Theme Icon
Sexism Theme Icon
...Newt cuts them off, saying that she looks like she may be dead. Newt and Alby use vines to lower themselves into the Box and bring the girl’s body out. Thomas... (full context)
Stability and Order vs. Change and Chaos  Theme Icon
Hope Theme Icon
Thomas is about to go with them when Newt and Alby ask him to stay and look at the girl to see if she looks familiar.... (full context)
Chapter 9
Memory and Identity  Theme Icon
Growing Up Theme Icon
Sexism Theme Icon
...out, sarcastically asking why the Med-Jacks get to touch her first. Fearing for her safety, Alby says that if any of the boys touches her, he’ll be banished. As they take... (full context)
Chapter 11
Stability and Order vs. Change and Chaos  Theme Icon
Growing Up Theme Icon
Ben gets up and takes out a knife from his pocket. Before Ben can strike, Alby appears in the graveyard with a bow and arrow pointed at Ben and tells him... (full context)
Chapter 12
Sacrifice  Theme Icon
Thomas fears the Runner may have been stung, so he calls out for help and Alby comes running to meet them. When they reach the Runner, they find that he is... (full context)
Stability and Order vs. Change and Chaos  Theme Icon
...is different. When Thomas asks what he found, Minho says he’ll have to wait till Alby gets back before he says anything else. When Alby returns and gives Minho permission to... (full context)
Chapter 13
Stability and Order vs. Change and Chaos  Theme Icon
Alby seems surprised to learn that Minho had found a dead Griever in the Maze. They... (full context)
Memory and Identity  Theme Icon
Stability and Order vs. Change and Chaos  Theme Icon
At dusk before the walls close, Alby assembles everyone at the East Door. A couple of Gladers drag a crying Ben to... (full context)
Chapter 14
Stability and Order vs. Change and Chaos  Theme Icon
Alby wraps the collar around Ben’s neck. Ben pleads that he only tried to kill Thomas... (full context)
Chapter 16
Stability and Order vs. Change and Chaos  Theme Icon
...her unconscious state. Newt listens but says that what’s concerning him more is Minho and Alby’s whereabouts: they went into the Maze to investigate the Griever and should have been back... (full context)
Stability and Order vs. Change and Chaos  Theme Icon
Hope Theme Icon
By dinner time, all the Runners have retuned except Alby and Minho. Afraid that they’re dead, the Gladers eat dinner solemnly. As they eat, Newt... (full context)
Stability and Order vs. Change and Chaos  Theme Icon
Sacrifice  Theme Icon
Growing Up Theme Icon
Hope Theme Icon
As the Door begins to close, Thomas sees Minho inside the Maze with Alby, stung by a Griever, being helped along. Thomas calls for Newt’s help, but realizes Newt... (full context)
Chapter 17
Stability and Order vs. Change and Chaos  Theme Icon
Hope Theme Icon
...dark and Thomas feels terrified, but he manages to find his way to Minho and Alby. Minho tells Thomas that he was stupid, not brave, to enter the Maze because now... (full context)
Chapter 18
Hope Theme Icon
...said they already tried climbing the vines, Thomas devises a plan to tie vines around Alby and hoist him up the wall. After much strenuous effort, Thomas is able to climb... (full context)
Chapter 20
Growing Up Theme Icon
...weight to swing and catch nearby vines. The Griever follows Thomas instead of going for Alby, which makes Thomas feel glad that he can draw the creature away from the unconscious... (full context)
Memory and Identity  Theme Icon
Growing Up Theme Icon
Hope Theme Icon
...and starts running in order to escape the Griever and lure it further away from Alby. Keeping track of the turns he makes so he can find his way back, he... (full context)
Chapter 22
Stability and Order vs. Change and Chaos  Theme Icon
Hope Theme Icon
...for half an hour. When he calms down, Thomas tells Minho they have to find Alby. Minho says that Alby must be dead already because they didn’t inject him with the... (full context)
Stability and Order vs. Change and Chaos  Theme Icon
Hope Theme Icon
On their way to Alby, Minho says the Serum is short for the Grief Serum. He says that the Creators... (full context)
Stability and Order vs. Change and Chaos  Theme Icon
Hope Theme Icon
...sleep but is woken up by Chuck a few hours later, who tells him that Alby has survived but is now going through the Changing. (full context)
Chapter 23
Hope Theme Icon
Hearing the sounds of Alby’s screams, Thomas is no longer able to sleep. To find some quiet, he goes to... (full context)
Growing Up Theme Icon
Chuck and Newt find Thomas in the graveyard. Newt tells him that Alby be will alright soon. When Thomas asks about what happens during the Changing, Newt says... (full context)
Stability and Order vs. Change and Chaos  Theme Icon
Sacrifice  Theme Icon
...by going into the Maze or honor him for saving the lives of Minho and Alby. (full context)
Chapter 24
Stability and Order vs. Change and Chaos  Theme Icon
...also there as Keeper of the Runners. There is one chair empty for the absent Alby. Newt leads the meeting, saying that half the Gladers think Thomas is a rule-breaker and... (full context)
Memory and Identity  Theme Icon
Stability and Order vs. Change and Chaos  Theme Icon
Hope Theme Icon
...be brave enough to go into the Maze and smart enough to save Minho and Alby, two of the most accomplished Gladers. Gally says Thomas only saved the two of them... (full context)
Chapter 25
Memory and Identity  Theme Icon
...scared and ran off but Thomas stayed calm and risked his own life to protect Alby. Gally interrupts again, diminishing Thomas’ accomplishments by saying he was lucky. Minho yells at Gally,... (full context)
Chapter 26
Stability and Order vs. Change and Chaos  Theme Icon
...runs into the hall after everyone’s left except Minho and Thomas. Chuck tells Thomas that Alby is asking for him. (full context)
Chapter 27
Growing Up Theme Icon
Thomas enters Alby’s room. Alby, who still looks sick, tells the Med-Jacks to leave the two of them... (full context)
Growing Up Theme Icon
Alby starts to say something else, but then begins to viciously choke himself. Thomas calls for... (full context)
Chapter 28
Memory and Identity  Theme Icon
Newt and Thomas get leftovers from lunch and discuss the situation regarding Alby. Newt says that no one has ever tried to tell them what they remembered from... (full context)
Chapter 30
Memory and Identity  Theme Icon
Stability and Order vs. Change and Chaos  Theme Icon
...Chuck arrives with Thomas’ lunch. He says no one has found Gally yet but that Alby is up and around. (full context)
Chapter 31
Growing Up Theme Icon
As Thomas hears the Doors begin to close, Alby arrives at the Slammer and lets him out. Alby tells Thomas that during the Changing,... (full context)
Stability and Order vs. Change and Chaos  Theme Icon
...Frypan, had prepared especially for him in gratitude for saving the lives of Minho and Alby. Minho joins Thomas as he eats and tells him what he should expect for Runner... (full context)
Chapter 33
Memory and Identity  Theme Icon
...them in order to leave a trial. At lunchtime, they rest and Minho explains how Alby nudged the dead Griever with his foot. This caused the creature to come alive, but... (full context)
Chapter 35
Stability and Order vs. Change and Chaos  Theme Icon
After failing to find anything else, they return to the Glade to tell Newt and Alby about the portal, which Thomas christens the Griever Hole. But first Minho takes Thomas to... (full context)
Stability and Order vs. Change and Chaos  Theme Icon
After drawing the map, Minho and Thomas run into Newt and Alby outside the Map Room. Newt informs them that supplies have stopped coming through the Box.... (full context)
Chapter 36
Sexism Theme Icon
Newt, Alby, and a Med-Jack named Jeff come into the graveyard. Newt asks how Teresa got to... (full context)
Chapter 37
Sexism Theme Icon
Despite Thomas’ protestation, Alby has Teresa brought to jail for triggering the changes. Thomas tries to defend her but... (full context)
Chapter 38
Stability and Order vs. Change and Chaos  Theme Icon
Inside the Homestead, Minho, Newt, Alby, and Thomas discuss what they need to do to defend themselves and escape the Maze.... (full context)
Chapter 41
Stability and Order vs. Change and Chaos  Theme Icon
...arrives, he finds a group of boys huddling around Minho who is cradling an injured Alby. Minho says that whoever set fire to the maps must have also beaten up Alby.... (full context)
Chapter 49
Growing Up Theme Icon
...the Gladers when they were children and named them after scientists (Thomas for Thomas Edison, Alby for Albert Einstein, Newt for Sir Isaac Newton, etc.). (full context)
Chapter 51
Stability and Order vs. Change and Chaos  Theme Icon
Growing Up Theme Icon
With bloodshot eyes, Alby quickly stands up, knocking his chair over behind him. He accuses Thomas of working for... (full context)
Memory and Identity  Theme Icon
Stability and Order vs. Change and Chaos  Theme Icon
Hope Theme Icon
Realizing his mistrust is unwarranted, Alby admits his real reason for opposing the plan: he doesn’t want to go back to... (full context)
Chapter 53
Hope Theme Icon
...doesn’t know how many of the Gladers will follow them. Newt says that he’ll get Alby to fight with the Keepers by convincing him that they have a chance at starting... (full context)
Sacrifice  Theme Icon
Hope Theme Icon
...Once there, they decide that if they fail to enter the code, then Newt and Alby will be the back up pair to enter the Hole and punch in the code. (full context)
Chapter 54
Sacrifice  Theme Icon
Hope Theme Icon
As everyone finishes dinner, Newt and Alby announce that it’s time to enter the Maze. Thomas notices Alby vacantly staring at the... (full context)
Chapter 55
Sacrifice  Theme Icon
Hope Theme Icon
...Grievers coming from the opposite direction, blocking off their escape. The group huddles together and Alby, in act of brave desperation, throws himself at the Grievers guarding the Hole. They swarm... (full context)
Sacrifice  Theme Icon
Hope Theme Icon
...As Newt is speaking, the Grievers near the Hole start moving closer to the group. Alby’s sacrifice has failed to stop the Grievers from continuing their attack. Thomas’ fears are realized:... (full context)
Chapter 59
Growing Up Theme Icon
...someone who completed the Maze Trial. She then says there is one more Variable. Like Alby in bed after the Changing, Gally struggles to speak, saying that he can’t control himself.... (full context)