The Maze Runner

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Sexism Theme Analysis

Themes and Colors
Memory and Identity  Theme Icon
Stability and Order vs. Change and Chaos  Theme Icon
Sacrifice  Theme Icon
Growing Up Theme Icon
Hope Theme Icon
Sexism Theme Icon
LitCharts assigns a color and icon to each theme in The Maze Runner, which you can use to track the themes throughout the work.
Sexism Theme Icon

Gender plays a small but significant role in the novel. For two years, the Glade consists of boys only, until Teresa arrives the day after Thomas. Since the boys have never encountered a girl before, Alby senses that there is a risk that some of the boys may rape Teresa, so he has guards protect her. Likewise, when Teresa first arrives, the boys catcall her, treating her like an object rather than a human being. The boys, including Thomas, also direct sexist insults at her, calling her weak and helpless. Teresa, however, proves herself to be braver, stronger, and smarter than most of the boys in the Glade, proving that women are just as capable as men.

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Sexism Quotes in The Maze Runner

Below you will find the important quotes in The Maze Runner related to the theme of Sexism.
Chapter 8 Quotes

Newt looked down in the Box one more time, then faced the crowd, gravely. “It’s a girl,” he said. Everyone started talking at once; Thomas only caught pieces here and there. “A girl?” “I got dibs!” “What’s she look like?” “How old is she?”

Related Characters: Newt (speaker), Thomas, Teresa
Page Number: 54
Explanation and Analysis:

In this passage, we're introduced to Teresa, a girl who's been sent up into the world of the maze. The boys in Thomas's community are excited by the prospects of having a girl in their group--they've only ever been sent boys as new members. Notice that Newt cries out, "It's a girl," the phrase usually associated with a birth. Newt's outburst emphasizes that emerging from the elevator and into the Glade is itself a kind of birth--a rebirth, allowing the characters to discover their own personalities or possibly create new ones. (Especially since none of them have memories of their past lives.) Notice also that the boys clearly have sexual needs, and seem to think of Teresa is strictly sexual terms. The overall "vibe" of Thomas's community is that of a middle school or high school, full of immature teenagers.


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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.

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 36 Quotes

“Congrats, Jeff,” Newt said. “You’re officially the first guy here to get your butt beat by a girl.”

Teresa didn’t stop. “Keep talking like that and you’ll be next.”

Related Characters: Teresa (speaker), Newt (speaker), Jeff
Page Number: 238
Explanation and Analysis:

In this passage, Teresa proves that she's tougher and stronger than many of the boys in her community. She's snuck to the graveyard, where she meets Newt. Teresa explains that she was able to sneak to the graveyard by attacking Jeff, another Glader. Newt laughs about how Jeff must be weak, but falls silent when Teresa threatens to attack him, too. The message is clear: even if the overall "vibe" of the Glade is masculine, competitive, and immature, women like Teresa are strong and confident enough to stand up for themselves and fight any boys who give them trouble. The novel certainly doesn't delve into many complications of sexism or gender roles, but merely sticks with its assertion that women are as strong and resourceful as men.

Chapter 54 Quotes

“After two years of being treated like mice, tonight we’re making a stand. Tonight we’re taking the fight back to the Creators, no matter what we have to go through to get there. Tonight the Grievers better be scared.”

Related Characters: Newt (speaker)
Page Number: 328
Explanation and Analysis:

In this passage, Newt sums up everything the Gladers are going to achieve. For too long, Newt and his friends have been forced to run through the Maze like mice--now, they're going to track down the people who designed the Maze and kidnapped them in the first place.

Notice that it's Newt, not Alby, the group's supposed leader, who's speaking to his friends here. Newt, in spite of his dogmatic reliance on the rules, is brave and optimistic enough to inspire his friends--unlike Alby, his commander, he's not really afraid of the outside world. Newt inspires his peers to stand up for themselves and explore the unknown--in short, to grow up.