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During the last meal before they all enter the Maze, Thomas and Chuck talk about the plan. Chuck says he’s not scared because only one person will die. Without saying anything, Thomas feels bad that so many people are hoping that someone else will die in their place. Thomas tells him that if they all fight, maybe they can all make it home. Thomas then says that Chuck should not forget Thomas’s promise to get him home. Chuck says that as long as he gets out of the Maze he’ll be happy.
Thomas tries to correct Chuck’s perverse form of hope. Thomas spends the entire novel trying to give hope to his fellow Gladers, but once they actually get the idea, they pervert it into something ugly and cruel: a hope that someone else will die. The Gladers are stuck in a kind of sacrificial mindset where they think it’s ok to sacrifice one person so that the others can live.
As everyone finishes dinner, Newt and Alby announce that it’s time to enter the Maze. Thomas notices Alby vacantly staring at the ground and decides that since Alby is unstable, he’ll need to keep an eye on him inside the Maze. Newt calls everyone to attention and gives a pep talk. He says that up to now they’ve been treated like mice, but tonight they’ll take the fight to the Creators. He says that although in the past they were the ones scared of the Maze, tonight the Grievers better be scared. When the Gladers start cheering and yelling, Newt raises his weapon and dashes into the Maze with the rest of the Gladers charging right behind him.
Newt’s comparison of the Gladers to mice is apt since the the Creators have no concern for their safety—they treat them like lab rats in a maze. Willing to sacrifice the Gladers’ lives for their test, the Creators perform the wrong kind of sacrifice: taking risks with other people’s lives without their consent. Newt’s speech also inspires hope in the Gladers, giving them the strength and courage to charge into the Maze.
As the Gladers run toward the Maze, Thomas notices Chuck and Teresa running beside him with spears in their hands. Thomas feels an overwhelming sense of fear for their lives. This fear makes it hard for him to run, but his determination to escape and protect his friends gives him the courage to fight his way to the Hole.
Like always, Thomas’ hope and determination beat out his fear. Learning responsibility is a sure sign of growing up, so Thomas seems like an adult in that regard as well: he’s become like a protective and responsible older brother to Chuck.