The Maze Runner


James Dashner

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The Maze Runner: Chapter 11 Summary & Analysis

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 he’ll kill him if he tries anything with the knife. Ben shouts back that Thomas is the one they should kill because he’s not one of the Gladers. In a fit of screaming and gurgled words, Ben flings himself at Thomas and Alby shoots Ben in the cheek, killing him. Before Thomas can ask any questions, Alby disappears back into the forest.
In the Glade under Alby’s leadership, breaking the rules can be fatal: rather than warning Ben or incapacitating him with a non-lethal shot, Alby shoots to kill. Alby’s casual response to Ben’s killing shows how justified he feels in sacrificing lives to enforce the rules.
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Thomas spends the rest of the day in a blur of fear and anxiety about living in the Glade. The next morning, Thomas wakes up feeling depressed for having been a part of Ben’s death. But as he starts his training with the Keeper of the Blood House, he starts to feel better. The head of the Blood House, Winston, shows him around and makes him shovel animal feces (also known as “klunk”). When he sees how much pleasure Winston derives from slaughtering animals, Thomas thinks that Winston must have been sent to the Glade for being a serial killer. Before his lunch break, Thomas watches in disgust as Winston slaughters a pig. Thomas decides he will never be able to work in the Blood House or eat pork again.
Thomas’ views on human nature and identity are becoming clearer. Because all of the boys in the Glade have no pre-Glade memories, their past experiences cannot overtly determine their behaviors. Thus, Thomas thinks that Winston is an inherently cruel person rather than a person whose experiences in life have made him cruel. Over time, the novel will complicate this view of identity as innate and unaltered by experience.
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As Thomas leaves for lunch, he notices a Runner coming out of the East Door earlier than normally expected. Thomas walks over to him in order to ask him what it’s like being a Runner. Before he reaches him, the Runner collapses to the ground.
In another change in the routine, a Runner comes home early. Once again, this change seems to signify something bad: the Runner may have been stung.
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