James Dashner

The Maze Runner

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  • Features 63 chapter summaries and 6 sections of expert analysis
  • Written by a literary scholar with a Master's degree in English Literature
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The Maze Runner Chapters 33-36 Summary & Analysis

Chapter 33

Thomas follows Minho through the Maze. He is able to keep up, but feels himself becoming fatigued over time and hopes the feeling is simply due to nerves. They start in section Eight and find the Door that leads into Section One. As they run, Minho shows Thomas how to cut ivy without stopping and how to drop it behind them like “bread crumbs”, in order to leave a trail. At lunchtime, they rest and Minho explains how they found the “dead” Griever and how Alby nudged it with his foot, which caused the creature to suddenly come alive. Instead of attacking them, however, it tried to flee, and ran over Alby in the process.

They run some more and then rest again. Thomas sees a beetle blade and asks Minho what the creatures are for and why they have the word WICKED written on them. Minho says that the Gladers have never been able to catch one, and that they do not know what the word stands for. The Gladers have always assumed that the beetle blades spy for the Creators. As Minho talks about his desire for revenge on the Creators, Thomas notices a glimmer of gray on a wall. Thomas approaches the wall and pushes the ivy out of the way to see a metal square with the words, “WORLD IN CATASTROPHE: KILLZONE EXPERIMENT DEPARTMENT” stamped on it. Minho nonchalantly replies that the metal squares are all over the Maze. They finally reach the end of the section, and Minho says it is time to return to the Glade. Thomas asks if anything has changed, but Minho says nothing has, and it never will, but that they must keep going because the Maze is there and there has to be something significant about its presence.

At the end of the day, Thomas is physically drained. Becoming a Runner has lost its appeal and he overcome by the bleakness of the Maze. Chuck tries to talk to him but he is too tired to concentrate. Right before he falls asleep, he hears Teresa’s voice in his head, saying “Tom, I just triggered the Ending” (217).

Chapter 34

The next morning Thomas awakes to shouting and general confusion in the Glade. He has slept later than normal and finds that the sky is completely gray and sun seems to have disappeared. He sees bewildered Gladers standing near the Box staring up at the gray sky, and thinks their reaction is ridiculous. There has to be a scientific reason for the sun disappearing. Thomas reasons that the truth of the matter is that they were probably never really able to see the sun in the first place. Chuck finds Thomas and says the sky looks like a gray ceiling. Thomas says that maybe something is broken, and then the memory of Teresa’s warning from the previous night—about her triggering the ending—creeps into his head and he worries that the sun’s disappearance is not a coincidence and may truly be the beginning of the end.

Minho appears and tells Thomas to get ready to run the Maze, which shocks Thomas, given the situation. Thomas asks why they still need to go running, and Minho says that it is even more important now. Without the sun, none of their plants or animals will be able to survive in the Glade for long. The Gladers are desperate and Thomas considers telling someone about what he heard in his head the previous night, but decides against it. He does not want them to think he has really lost his mind and lock him up for good. Instead, he finishes his breakfast and follows Minho into the Maze. They see a Griever before they even make it to the Door leading from Section Eight to Section One. The Griever appears to be “dead” like the one that ran over Alby, but eventually runs off. Against Thomas’s better judgment they follow the creature to see where it is headed. Shockingly, the Griever runs to the Cliff and jumps off. Instead of falling, however, it disappears into thin air.

Chapter 35

Minho says that the Grievers must be leaving the Maze by jumping over the Cliff somehow. On three separate occasions they have seen the Grievers disappear in this way. To test Minho’s theory, they throw rocks off the Cliff. The rocks all fall normally and the boys begin to think the idea is stupid, but then Minho throws a rock and it disappears. They try throwing another in the same spot and it works again. Thomas speculates that the hole is only a few feet square, which is why it has never been found before. The Grievers must just be able to fit through it, and must balance on the edge of it and jump into the Maze. Before returning to the Glade to share their new discovery, Minho says they need to explore the rest of the Maze to see if anything else has changed.

After failing to find anything else, they return to the Glade. Thomas is excited to tell Newt and Alby about the portal, which he has called the Griever Hole, but Minho insists they go to the Map Room first, where they work on their section map for the day. After each run, the Runners draw Maps of their sections. By looking for patterns in the way the Maps change from day to day, Minho says that they hope they can find some clue to the Maze. Thomas looks at all of the Maps, the corridors and lines, and feels as if something significant is there. Minho says he can always return and work on theories about the Maps, but that they now need to tell Newt and Alby about what they have found.

As soon as they exit the Map Room, Minho and Thomas run into Newt and Alby. The two boys are rude to Thomas and Newt informs them that supplies have stopped coming through the Box. There are no backup supplies, and the food and animals will soon die due to the lack of sun. Thomas realizes just how dire the situation is. As Minho and Thomas finally tell the two boys about the Griever Hole, Chuck comes running up to the group to them to tell them that the girl is awake, which causes Thomas’s stomach to turn. Thomas then hears Teresa in his head saying that she needs him to come and rescue her, that she does not know any of the boys, and that she needs to tell him things before her memories fade. The chapter then ends with her saying, “The Maze is a code, Tom. The Maze is a code” (232).

Chapter 36

Not wanting to face Teresa, Thomas slips away while the others go to see her, and runs into the Deadheads to be alone. After settling in, he hears Teresa’s voice again, but this time he hears her with his ears, not his mind. She says that forgetting him was the worst part of the memory loss. Thomas turns and sees Teresa standing near the stone wall, dressed in jeans and a t-shirt. She is more beautiful than he can imagine.

Teresa asks if he remembers her and, though he cannot explain why, Thomas admits that she seems familiar. Teresa says that she “remembers remembering,” but that the memories are blurred. Thomas asks her how she knows him and how she knows about the Maze, but she says it is all confusing to her. She does say, however, that she knows Thomas is her friend, calling him Tom. Thomas says that he likes when she calls him “Tom,” as it reminds him of home, even though he does not know where home is. He then asks how she has been communicating with him telepathically, and, speaking in his mind this time, she tells him that she does not know, but that it feels normal; like riding a bicycle. When Thomas asks her if she remembers anything else, she shows him her arm on which she had scrawled a note, saying, “WICKED is good” (237). She says she was able to write this down before her memories completely faded, but that she no longer remembers what it means. Thomas tells her that the word WICKED appears on the beetle blades as well, which spy on the Gladers for the Creators.

Thomas and Teresa are then interrupted by Newt, Alby, and a group of other Gladers. Newt asks how Teresa even found Thomas as the last time anyone saw her she was escaping from the Homestead. She is not scared and replies that the Med-jack, Jeff, neglected to say that she kicked him in the groin and escaped through the window. When Newt chides Jeff for being the first Glader to get beaten up by a girl, Teresa says that Newt will be next. Newt does not show any fear, but before he can respond, Alby steps in demanding to know what is going on between Teresa and Thomas. Thomas admits that he does not know, but that they must have known each other before arriving in the Glade. Like everyone else, however, they cannot remember details of their past life. Alby gets angry with Teresa, asking her pointedly what she did to cause the changes now taking place in the Glade. Teresa admits that she triggered the ending, but that she does not know why or what it even means. Thomas gets upset, but is shocked when Alby says that they have been too wrapped up in one another to even realize that it is past sunset and the Doors to the Maze have not yet shut.

Chapter 33 – Chapter 36 Analysis

Thomas gets his first real glimpse of the Maze, and deals with the mental and physical fitness needed to be an effective Runner. He sees the strange plaques that dot the walls of the Maze, and wonders at their purpose. His surprise at seeing these plaques is juxtaposed with Minho’s indifference, as Minho has seen them for the last two years. Their different reactions show just how important seeing things for the first time can be. The event also points to how complacent the Runners and Gladers have become about their reality, so much so that something which seems to be a clue to the Maze, and might possibly even lead to escape, is shrugged off as a mystery.

Thomas once again has to deal with changes and possibilities, as Teresa tells him telepathically that she has just triggered the ending. When he awakens the next day, the sun has disappeared. The sun’s disappearance has dire consequences for the Glade, which highlights how easily the fragile order of the Glade can be shattered. Without the sun, the Gladers run around bewildered, which surprises Thomas. Moreover, without the sun, the crops and animals cannot survive, which means that life as the Gladers have known it has now changed. If the Gladers cannot work or feed themselves, what hope they have? These are some of the questions that these chapters address. The sun’s disappearance is also important because Thomas realizes that the sun was probably never there to begin with. This revelation highlights the fact that the Gladers’ environment is controlled by some omnipotent force. It also points to the fact that Teresa might have been right when she said that she triggered the ending, and if she was right about that, then Thomas might, as Gally suggested, be complicit in bringing about the end of the Glade.

When Teresa awakens and finds Thomas, their connection is obvious. Teresa even confesses to having triggered something, which causes her to be placed in jail. Suspicion continues to surround Thomas and who he is, as well as why he has come to the Glade. Though Thomas wants to reject the idea that he has played some role in this situation, he can’t. As Thomas has been so focused on Teresa and the other Gladers’ suspicion of him, he has failed to notice that the Doors have not closed for the night, signaling an important change: now, the Grievers can enter the Glade. Thomas’s lack of insight is significant in that his vision has been clouded by his attention to himself and his own position, whereas before he was focused on the group.

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