Throughout the novel, the Gladers struggle to maintain hope despite the nightmarish and horrific nature of their circumstances. The three main leaders, Alby, Newt, and Minho, each have their own views about the best way for maintaining hope. Alby believes a system of laws and punishments will give the Gladers stability and the hope necessary for their continued search for an escape. In contrast, Newt thinks that work is the only thing that will keep the Gladers hopeful and stop them from panicking. Finally, Minho believes that the Runners’ daily routine of navigating the Maze gives the rest of the group hope. While all three of the leaders at different times succumb to hope-killing fear (Alby even sacrifices himself in vain after losing all hope), together their approaches preserve hope in the Glade while preventing widespread panic from taking hold.
At the end of the novel, the Creators explain that they put the boys in the Maze in order to test if they would lose hope and stop fighting for survival. The novel ends by suggesting that hope is the most important factor in surviving dire situations.
Hope Quotes in The Maze Runner
“Order,” Newt continued. “Order. You say that bloody word over and over in your shuck head. Reason we’re all sane around here is ’cause we work our butts off and maintain order. Order’s the reason we put Ben out—can’t very well have loonies runnin’ around tryin’ to kill people, now can we? Order. Last thing we need is you screwin’ that up.”
“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!”
“Are they changed because they want to go back to their old life, or is it because they’re so depressed at realizing their old life was no better than what we have now?”
“No one ever understood what I saw, what the Changing did to me! Don’t go back to the real world, Thomas! You don’t...want...to remember!”
Thomas shook his head. “No, you don’t get it. They’re weeding us out, seeing if we’ll give up, finding the best of us. Throwing variables at us, trying to make us quit. Testing our ability to hope and fight. Sending Teresa here and shutting everything down was only the last part, one more...final analysis. Now it’s time for the last test. To escape.”
“I’m telling you.” Alby sounded like he was begging—near hysterical. “We can’t go back to where we came from. I’ve seen it, remembered awful, awful things. Burned land, a disease—something called the Flare. It was horrible—way worse than we have it here…Better to die than go home.”
Minho continued. “Alby didn’t wanna go back to his old life. He freaking sacrificed himself for us—and they aren’t attacking, so maybe it worked. We’d be heartless if we wasted it.”
“All things happen for a purpose,” she said, any sign of malice now gone from her voice. “You must understand this.”