The Maze Runner

The Maze Runner

The Maze Symbol Analysis

The Maze Symbol Icon
The Maze is a complex symbol representing both chaos and order. Every night the walls move and shift, making it harder for the Gladers to find an exit. These constant changes along with the apparent impossibility of actually solving the Maze make most of the Gladers see the Maze as a symbol of futility and chaos. Yet, like all labyrinths, the Maze only appears chaotic and random. Thomas teaches the Gladers to adopt a new, more all-inclusive perspective when viewing the Maze in order to see the rationality in its construction. As Thomas realizes, instead of shifting randomly, the Maze’s wall change in the same way according to a pattern that repeats itself on a monthly basis. While the boys were only trying to solve each section of the Maze individually, Thomas shows them that if they look at the Maze as a whole, then they will see that patterns in the Maze actually spell out a code word. As such, the Maze reveals how things and events that seem chaotic can actually be seen as ordered when looked at from a new perspective.

The Maze Quotes in The Maze Runner

The The Maze Runner quotes below all refer to the symbol of The Maze. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Memory and Identity Theme Icon
). Note: all page and citation info for the quotes below refers to the Delacorte Press edition of The Maze Runner published in 2009.
Chapter 6 Quotes

“Out there’s the Maze,” Newt whispered, eyes wide as if in a trance. “Everything we do—our whole life, Greenie—revolves around the Maze. Every lovin’ second of every lovin’ day we spend in honor of the Maze, tryin’ to solve somethin’ that’s not shown us it has a bloody solution, ya know? And we want to show ya why it’s not to be messed with. Show ya why them buggin’ walls close shut every night. Show ya why you should never, never find your butt out there.”

Related Characters: Newt (speaker), Thomas
Related Symbols: The Maze
Page Number: 38
Explanation and Analysis:

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Chapter 17 Quotes

“You don’t understand, shuck-face! You don’t know anything, and you’re just making it worse by trying to have hope! We’re dead, you hear me? Dead!”

Related Characters: Minho (speaker), Thomas
Related Symbols: The Maze
Page Number: 117
Explanation and Analysis:

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Chapter 18 Quotes

Thomas rocked back on his heels, then ran his arm across his forehead, wiping away the sweat. And at that moment, in the space of only a few seconds, he learned a lot about himself. About the Thomas that was before. He couldn’t leave a friend to die.

Related Characters: Thomas
Related Symbols: The Maze
Page Number: 119
Explanation and Analysis:

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Chapter 26 Quotes

“I didn’t do anything wrong. All I know is I saw two people struggling to get inside these walls and they couldn’t make it. To ignore that because of some stupid rule seemed selfish, cowardly, and...well, stupid. If you want to throw me in jail for trying to save someone’s life, then go ahead. Next time I promise I’ll point at them and laugh, then go eat some of Frypan’s dinner.”

Related Characters: Thomas (speaker), Alby, Newt, Frypan
Related Symbols: The Maze
Page Number: 166
Explanation and Analysis:

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The Maze Symbol Timeline in The Maze Runner

The timeline below shows where the symbol The Maze appears in The Maze Runner. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 4
Stability and Order vs. Change and Chaos Theme Icon
...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... (full context)
Chapter 5
Memory and Identity Theme Icon
Growing Up Theme Icon
...Thomas starts drifting into sleep, he has a sudden realization that the Glade and the Maze feel familiar. Although he doesn’t know why this feeling came over him, he feels a... (full context)
Chapter 6
Memory and Identity Theme Icon
...shoots through the window. Newt tells Thomas he needs to show him what’s inside the Maze. (full context)
Growing Up Theme Icon
...doesn’t break. Newt says these things are called Grievers and that they take over the Maze at night. Since the doors shut at sunset, the Grievers can’t get into the Glade.... (full context)
Chapter 7
Memory and Identity Theme Icon
Stability and Order vs. Change and Chaos Theme Icon
...in the Glade before him has died. For two years, they’ve been running through the Maze and making maps, but they still haven’t figured out how to escape. Thomas steps closer... (full context)
Stability and Order vs. Change and Chaos Theme Icon
...what they are. Alby says that they think they’re spies for the Creators of the Maze. Before Alby can explain anything else, a loud alarm sounds. Alby seems confused and explains... (full context)
Chapter 9
Memory and Identity Theme Icon
Growing Up Theme Icon
Hope Theme Icon
...together after each day and pool their information to add to their maps of the Maze. Realizing he may never escape the Glade, Thomas wonders aloud if they are all murderers... (full context)
Chapter 12
Stability and Order vs. Change and Chaos Theme Icon
Thomas asks Minho if he found anything out in the Maze. Minho says that although that’s normally the worst question to ask a Runner, today is... (full context)
Chapter 13
Stability and Order vs. Change and Chaos Theme Icon
Alby seems surprised to learn that Minho had found a dead Griever in the Maze. They agree to haul the Griever back to the Glade tomorrow. Alby then turns to... (full context)
Chapter 14
Stability and Order vs. Change and Chaos Theme Icon
Sacrifice Theme Icon
...the Door begins to close, the Keepers use the pole to thrust Ben inside the Maze. In the last moment before the door closes, Thomas sees Ben screaming and crying. Thomas... (full context)
Chapter 15
Memory and Identity Theme Icon
Stability and Order vs. Change and Chaos Theme Icon
Sacrifice Theme Icon
...they banish someone, the Grievers leave the banished person’s collar at the threshold of the Maze. (full context)
Chapter 16
Stability and Order vs. Change and Chaos Theme Icon
...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... (full context)
Stability and Order vs. Change and Chaos Theme Icon
Sacrifice Theme Icon
Growing Up 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... (full context)
Chapter 17
Stability and Order vs. Change and Chaos Theme Icon
Hope Theme Icon
Inside the Maze, everything is dark and Thomas feels terrified, but he manages to find his way to... (full context)
Hope Theme Icon
...split up and run as fast as they can. At that, Minho runs into the Maze, leaving Alby and Thomas alone and defenseless against the approaching Griever. (full context)
Chapter 21
Growing Up Theme Icon
Hope Theme Icon
Thomas follows Minho to the Cliff, where the Maze appears to end abruptly. The path looks over a seemingly infinite expanse of black sky.... (full context)
Chapter 22
Stability and Order vs. Change and Chaos Theme Icon
Hope Theme Icon
...closed or they weren’t able to get back in time and presumably died within the Maze. Minho says they have always just assumed that the Serum wouldn’t work after sunset. Gaining... (full context)
Chapter 23
Hope Theme Icon
...goes to the graveyard and feels the crippling reality that he is surrounded by a Maze that contains real-life monsters. Thomas feels an intense desire to get revenge on the Creators... (full context)
Stability and Order vs. Change and Chaos Theme Icon
Sacrifice Theme Icon
...to discuss if they should reprimand Thomas for breaking the rules by going into the Maze or honor him for saving the lives of Minho and Alby. (full context)
Chapter 24
Stability and Order vs. Change and Chaos Theme Icon
...interrupts, accusing Thomas of breaking one of their most important rules: not going into the Maze. Before he can say anything else, Newt yells at Gally to wait until it’s his... (full context)
Memory and Identity Theme Icon
Stability and Order vs. Change and Chaos Theme Icon
Hope Theme Icon
...for the Creators because no newbie could ever be brave enough to go into the Maze and smart enough to save Minho and Alby, two of the most accomplished Gladers. Gally... (full context)
Chapter 25
Stability and Order vs. Change and Chaos Theme Icon
...that out of all the Keepers, he’s the only one who has been inside the Maze except for Newt. Gally interrupts, saying that he’s been in the Maze, but Minho yells... (full context)
Memory and Identity Theme Icon
Minho continues, saying that inside the Maze, he got scared and ran off but Thomas stayed calm and risked his own life... (full context)
Chapter 28
Memory and Identity Theme Icon
...be why Alby started choking himself. Thomas wonders to himself if it were possible that Maze somehow asserts a kind of mind control on them. (full context)
Memory and Identity Theme Icon
...out of the room to escape the voice. Without realizing it, he runs into the Maze in attempt to get further away from her. As he runs, Teresa says in his... (full context)
Chapter 29
Memory and Identity Theme Icon
In state of confusion and distress, Thomas unintentionally ran for an hour inside the Maze. Realizing he must get back to the Glade before sunset, Thomas finds it surprisingly easy... (full context)
Memory and Identity Theme Icon
...tells him that Gally has disappeared. Some of the Gladers think he went into the Maze, but Chuck thinks he’s too smart to make such a bad decision. Chuck says that... (full context)
Chapter 31
Stability and Order vs. Change and Chaos Theme Icon
...laws of physics and geometry, she was able to find the exit. But in the Maze, Minho says, all the paths just lead back to the Glade. After dinner, Thomas gets... (full context)
Chapter 32
Stability and Order vs. Change and Chaos Theme Icon
In the Map Room, Minho draws Thomas a map of the Maze. First he draws a large square that fills up the entire page. Within that square,... (full context)
Stability and Order vs. Change and Chaos Theme Icon
...the walls repeat the same pattern of shifting every month. Minho also admits that the Maze is incredibly discouraging, but agrees with Thomas when Thomas says that they can’t give up... (full context)
Chapter 33
Memory and Identity Theme Icon
Thomas follows Minho through the Maze, keeping up but slowly getting more and more tired as he runs. They start in... (full context)
Stability and Order vs. Change and Chaos Theme Icon
...words, “WORLD IN CATASTROPHE: KILLZONE EXPERIMENT DEPARTMENT.” Minho says these plaques are all over the Maze. They continue to run, but finding nothing new, they turn back an hour later (full context)
Chapter 34
Stability and Order vs. Change and Chaos Theme Icon
Minho and Thomas run into the Maze and, in Section Eight, they come across a Griever. It runs off, but Minho and... (full context)
Chapter 35
Stability and Order vs. Change and Chaos Theme Icon
Minho tells Thomas that Grievers must be leaving the Maze by jumping through some sort portal beyond the Cliff. To test Minho’s theory, they throw... (full context)
Stability and Order vs. Change and Chaos Theme Icon
...him things before her memories fade. The chapter ends with her saying that that the Maze is a code. (full context)
Chapter 38
Stability and Order vs. Change and Chaos Theme Icon
...Alby, and Thomas discuss what they need to do to defend themselves and escape the Maze. Minho says he and the Runners are going to need to spend the night in... (full context)
Chapter 39
Stability and Order vs. Change and Chaos Theme Icon
Sacrifice Theme Icon
...by charging into it. The Griever takes hold of Gally and drags him into the Maze with the other Grievers following behind. Watching the Grievers, Thomas sees Minho follow them into... (full context)
Chapter 40
Stability and Order vs. Change and Chaos Theme Icon
Hope Theme Icon
...goes inside. As Newt tells him not to go inside, Minho runs out of the Maze, telling them he just wanted to confirm that the Grievers had gone through the Hole.... (full context)
Stability and Order vs. Change and Chaos Theme Icon
...she’s been sleeping this whole time. They discuss what she meant by saying that the Maze is a code. Thomas wonders if it’s possible that the Maze is spelling something out... (full context)
Chapter 41
Stability and Order vs. Change and Chaos Theme Icon
...with him to the Slammer because he and Teresa may know how to solve the Maze. (full context)
Hope Theme Icon
...agree to let her out. Once she’s out, Thomas says that she remembers that the Maze is a code. Minho asks what kind of code and Thomas responds that he’ll be... (full context)
Chapter 42
Memory and Identity Theme Icon
Growing Up Theme Icon
...materials, Thomas orders everyone to trace the last ten days of each section of the Maze onto the wax paper. After tracing for a while, Newt says they should test out... (full context)
Chapter 43
Memory and Identity Theme Icon
Stability and Order vs. Change and Chaos Theme Icon
...can continue tracing the maps, Minho says he needs to get back to exploring the Maze. Thomas says that’s a waste of time, but Minho responds that all the changes in... (full context)
Growing Up Theme Icon
Hope Theme Icon
Minho tells Thomas to follow him through the Maze like the last time. Before they enter the Maze, Chuck meets up with them and... (full context)
Chapter 44
Stability and Order vs. Change and Chaos Theme Icon
Sexism Theme Icon
As Thomas and Minho run through the Maze, they notice the walls hadn’t changed at all the previous night. Teresa’s voice comes into... (full context)
Stability and Order vs. Change and Chaos Theme Icon
Hope Theme Icon
After Thomas and Minho run through the entire Section, they explore the Maze more closely, feeling the walls and climbing the ivy to look for hidden spots. Around... (full context)
Chapter 45
Stability and Order vs. Change and Chaos Theme Icon
Hope Theme Icon
...arrives Teresa shows him the message: FLOAT. CATCH. BLEED. DEATH. STIFF. PUSH. After PUSH, the Maze gives them no new letters for a week before resetting at FLOAT. At first Thomas... (full context)
Sacrifice Theme Icon
Growing Up Theme Icon
As he leaves, Thomas resolutely decides that in order to find the answer to the Maze, he needs more memories. To get his memories back, Thomas decides to get stung by... (full context)
Chapter 48
Memory and Identity Theme Icon
Growing Up Theme Icon
Hope Theme Icon
...now. Thomas says they’ve done bad things but he has a plan to escape the Maze. With regret, Thomas says that some people may die in the process. (full context)
Memory and Identity Theme Icon
Hope Theme Icon
When Newt arrives, Thomas tells him that the Maze is actually a test designed to see if the Gladers will continue to fight and... (full context)
Chapter 49
Growing Up Theme Icon
...that during the Changing he saw flashes of his lost memories. He says that the Maze was a trial that was never meant to be solved and that whoever survives will... (full context)
Memory and Identity Theme Icon
...says the Creators wanted to test if the kids would keep trying to solve the Maze despite the Variables, which are the events and things that prevent or discourage them. Thomas... (full context)
Chapter 50
Stability and Order vs. Change and Chaos Theme Icon
Thomas admits that he and Teresa helped design the Maze. He says he doesn’t know why the Creators picked them to help but it may... (full context)
Chapter 51
Stability and Order vs. Change and Chaos Theme Icon
Growing Up Theme Icon
...was the one who saved him when Minho got scared and ran off in the Maze. Alby responds that maybe Thomas was just trying to get the Gladers to trust him.... (full context)
Memory and Identity Theme Icon
Stability and Order vs. Change and Chaos Theme Icon
Hope Theme Icon
...who burned all the maps, fearing that Thomas would figure a way out of the Maze. Alby explains that he had visions of a disease called the Flare and that he... (full context)
Chapter 52
Sacrifice Theme Icon
Hope Theme Icon
...wants to sacrifice himself because it’s the only way to redeem himself for building the Maze. Newt says that it’s not his fault because he was just a kid forced by... (full context)
Chapter 54
Sacrifice Theme Icon
Hope Theme Icon
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... (full context)
Sacrifice Theme Icon
Hope Theme Icon
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,... (full context)
Hope Theme Icon
As the Gladers run toward the Maze, Thomas notices Chuck and Teresa running beside him with spears in their hands. Thomas feels... (full context)
Chapter 55
Hope Theme Icon
The Gladers run through the Maze for an hour without seeing or hearing any Grievers. As they near their target, Thomas... (full context)
Chapter 59
Growing Up Theme Icon
...the man wears a hood that obscures his face. She congratulates them on completing the Maze, saying that she is surprised with how few of them died or gave up. (full context)
Growing Up Theme Icon
...going on and she says that she expects more maturity from someone who completed the Maze Trial. She then says there is one more Variable. Like Alby in bed after the... (full context)
Chapter 61
Hope Theme Icon
...brightest of them who they hoped could be raised in the harsh conditions of the Maze so that they would develop an undefeatable sense of hope despite seemingly impossible odds. WICKED... (full context)
Chapter 62
Sacrifice Theme Icon
...her, Thomas says that he wishes he could remember her and their life before the Maze. She says she feels the same way. They say goodnight and Thomas rolls over, feeling... (full context)
Epilogue
Stability and Order vs. Change and Chaos Theme Icon
...date “232.1.27” by Chancellor Ava Paige. The email has the the subject line, “Thoughts on Maze Trials, Group A.” She writes that she is surprised about how many of the boys... (full context)