The Maze Runner

The Maze Runner

The Maze Runner Chapter 4 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Outside, Thomas notices a concrete building with an iron door that has a steering wheel for 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 Thomas asks what’s behind the walls, Chuck gets uncomfortable and says he’s never been outside the Glade. Thomas asks why everyone is being so secretive and Chuck says that no one really knows the whole story of what’s going on in the Glade.
Thomas realizes that he’s not the only one in the dark about what’s going on in the Glade. Whereas before Gally made Thomas feel like an outsider, Thomas is beginning to see that everyone is a “newbie” in the Glade. Thomas’s experience in the Glade continues to be a metaphor for growing up: just as nobody really knows what’s happening in the Glade, there is no set of rules for life, and everyone must navigate it on their own, defining their identity along the way.
Themes
Memory and Identity Theme Icon
Growing Up Theme Icon
Thomas goes to explore but Chuck says he shouldn’t because the big openings in the walls, which Chuck calls the Doors, will close soon. Thomas doesn’t believe that the walls can move so Chuck tells Thomas to go see for himself, saying that the Runners will be back soon anyway. They go to the East Door where Chuck explains that the doors close every night. Chuck also says that the walls inside the Maze shift around during the night. Thomas realizes that Chuck must have revealed something that he wasn’t supposed to by referring to the Maze. When Thomas asks about the Maze, Chuck says he won’t answer any more questions and heads back into the center of the Glade.
Thomas cannot fathom that the walls, which look so stable and immobile, can move. Thomas will quickly learn not to trust the appearance of stability so readily. As he will learn, even the most orderly and stable aspects of life in the Glade (and life in general) can move and change at any moment.
Themes
Stability and Order vs. Change and Chaos Theme Icon
Thomas stares into the Door and notices the pathway keeps going straight but that there are also many other pathways diverting off the path to the left and right, just like in a labyrinth. As he stares, a boy suddenly turns a corner onto the main pathway and runs straight out of the door and past Thomas. Thomas then sees one boy entering the Glade from each of the three other Doors. All four boys meet at the concrete building with the steering wheel door and go inside.
All the Runners arrive in the Glade at almost exactly the same second. This shows how organized and controlled the Glade appears on the surface.
Themes
Stability and Order vs. Change and Chaos Theme Icon
Chuck reappears at Thomas’ side and tells him he should get some sleep. At that moment the walls begin to close. There is a loud grinding sound and the earth shakes, which makes Thomas panic, but Chuck just laughs at his surprise and naiveté. After the walls seal up the Doors, Chuck tells Thomas that they should go to bed. Knowing he has no other choice, Thomas follows Chuck to the sleeping quarters.
As the walls move and change position, Thomas’ sense of stability and of his own identity are also in flux. Once again he is treated like a newbie, this time due to Chuck’s laughter at his innocent sense of panic.
Themes
Memory and Identity Theme Icon
Stability and Order vs. Change and Chaos Theme Icon
Growing Up Theme Icon
Get the entire The Maze Runner LitChart as a printable PDF.
The maze runner.pdf.medium