The Gladers run through the Maze for an hour without seeing or hearing any Grievers. As they near their target, Thomas feels fear for his friends rather than courage. When they arrive at the corner that leads onto the passageway to the Cliff, they hear the sound of Grievers. Minho tells everyone to stop running and scouts ahead, when he comes back he says there are over a dozen Grievers in front of the Hole just waiting for them. Thomas says that the beetle blades must have let the Creators know that they were planning this attack.
The approaching showdown between the Grievers and the Gladers marks the climax of the novel. Will the Gladers succumb to fear and run away, sacrifice one of their own in order to save themselves, or will they stay hopeful and fight?
Thomas sees more Grievers coming from the opposite direction, blocking off their escape. The group huddles together and Alby, in act of brave desperation, throws himself at the Grievers guarding the Hole. They swarm over him and tear his body apart. When Newt tries to save him, Thomas tells him there is nothing he can do for Alby now. Minho says that Alby didn’t want to go back to the real world so he sacrificed himself, hoping that the Grievers would stop their attack once they’ve killed one of them.
Alby becomes like a mirror image of Gally. Like Gally, Alby loses hope and sacrifices himself for the good of the Gladers. Alby’s sacrifice shows that not all self-sacrifices are acts of bravery. Alby only sacrificed himself because he was too afraid of the real world to try to escape.
Realizing that Minho is right, Newt tells the Gladers that their main priority is to protect Thomas and Teresa so that they can make it to the Hole. As Newt is speaking, the Grievers near the Hole start moving closer to the group. Alby’s sacrifice has failed to stop the Grievers from continuing their attack. Thomas’ fears are realized: the Grievers will kill more than one Glader tonight.
Alby’s fear and hopelessness make him needlessly sacrifice himself, revealing once again that self-sacrifice isn’t always the right decision. Alby’s failure to stop the Grievers suggests that self-sacrifice isn’t valuable or even particularly admirable when done out of rash hopelessness. If he had more hope, then he could have held on and risked his life in the more productive way of fighting the Grievers in the coming battle.