The shut down Grievers suck their instruments into their skin and turn off their lights. Thomas and Teresa cheer Chuck for finding the button. Minho then jumps into the Hole, followed by Newt, and some of the other Keepers and Gladers. Minho says that eighteen of them survived but that the other half of the group died in the fight. Thomas wonders if they can call it a victory with so much death.
Thomas’ uncertainty about the value of sacrifice reveals the limitations of what good self-sacrifice offers. If half of them die, then was the sacrifice really worth the victory?
The survivors see that the code opened a door, which leads them to a long steep slide. Thomas is the last of the Gladers to go down the slide. As he slides down, he feel like the slide goes on forever, as if he falling into the belly of a giant monster. Smelling a horrible odor of oil and rot, he feels like he may throw up. But before he can, the slide ends and he lands on the floor among the other Gladers.
Traditionally, novels depict escape or coming into new knowledge as an elevation, but since everyone who’s gone through the Changing has said that the real world is worse than the Glade, their descent symbolically shows that they are travelling into the even darker, harsher adult world.
They find themselves in a giant chamber, bigger than twenty Homesteads. Against one wall is a glass panel where groups of thin people in white stand watching them. For a moment Thomas thinks they are ghost, but then realizes that they are the Creators.
Thomas’ claim that the Creators seem like ghosts is a more apt metaphor than he realizes. Like ghosts, the Creators were the unseen forces affecting the boys’ lives.