The Maze Runner


James Dashner

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The Maze Runner: Chapter 16 Summary & Analysis

Thomas spends the morning hours pulling weeds and doing farm work alongside the Keeper of the farmers, Zart. Zart explains the other positions in the Glade. He says that Sloppers do all the cleaning work and that the Baggers take care of the dead but also work as police. As lunchtime nears, Thomas feels an even stronger urge to be a Runner to avoid farm work, which he despises. His desire to be a Runner is mixed with strong emotions about the girl who arrived in the Box, but he doesn’t yet know why.
As we will soon learn, Thomas connects his desire to be a Runner with his feelings for the girl due to an unconscious memory on the verge of resurfacing. Though he doesn’t realize it yet, Thomas’ memories govern his desires and emotions.
Memory and Identity Theme Icon
At lunch, Newt is distraught and tells Thomas that the girl is still in coma. Newt says that the girl is saying “weird stuff” in 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 hours ago. When Thomas suggests sending a search party into the Maze to look for them, Newt looks horrified and says that’s not allowed because more people may get lost. Thomas notices, however, that Newt’s terror was less about a fear of losing other Gladers and more about his own fear of the Maze.
Newt’s unwillingness to send in a search party shows that he would rather risk the lives of his friends than break the rule forbidding non-Runners from entering the Maze. Though Alby has been the Glade’s biggest supporter of the rules, in an ironic twist Newt’s refusal to break them might lead to Alby’s death.
Stability and Order vs. Change and Chaos 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 runs frantically from Door to Door, hoping that Alby and Minho will return before the Doors close. Thomas goes to see Newt at one of the Doors a few minutes before they all close. Newt says that Minho and Alby must be dead since they haven’t come back yet. Losing all hope, Newt walks back toward the Homestead.
Newt’s fear connects the theme of Stability and Order vs. Change and Chaos with the theme of Hope. Newt’s fear of the Maze makes him rely on the established rules to give him a sense of security. If Newt had more hope and less fear, then he would risk breaking the rules and send a search party to look for Minho and Alby. Without hope and relying too much on the rules, Newt fails to save his friends.
Stability and Order vs. Change and Chaos 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 won’t be able to get to the Door in time to save them. Feeling he must help, Thomas slips into the Maze and the Door closes behind him.
In an act of brave self-sacrifice, Thomas enters the Maze to save the others. Thomas acts like a true adult, knowing that he must sometimes break the rules in order to do the right thing.
Stability and Order vs. Change and Chaos Theme Icon
Sacrifice Theme Icon
Growing Up Theme Icon
Hope Theme Icon
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