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 5-8 Summary & Analysis

Chapter 5

Before going to bed, Chuck takes Thomas on a detour to the bathrooms at the back of what he calls the Homestead, to play a practical joke. Though Thomas is uneasy, Chuck says he loves “doing this to people.” Chuck assures him everything will be alright, and he knocks on the bathroom window. The two hide below the window until someone looks outside and then Chuck jumps up and scares the boy inside. The boy starts to curse and Thomas immediately realizes that Chuck has scared Gally. Chuck runs off quickly, but Thomas is confused and unsure where to go. Gally rushes outside and sees Thomas trying to get away. Gally calls Thomas out, and though Thomas tries to apologize, Gally tells him that he knew it was Chuck, but that if Thomas pulls a stunt like that again, he will hurt both of them. Gally repeats that he has seen Thomas before, during the Changing, and that he is going to find out who Thomas really is. Before Thomas can respond, Gally leaves. Before leaving with Chuck, who returns and apologizes, Thomas thinks about how strongly he dislikes Gally.

As the Homestead is too small for all of the boys to sleep in, many of the boys sleep outside, which is where Chuck and Thomas find themselves. As Thomas tries to get to sleep, he thinks about the day and the memories he cannot connect to. Chuck reassures him that he will get used to life in the Glade. As Thomas begins to nod off, he is suddenly overcome by the sense that the Glade and the Maze are really familiar. He actually feels comfortable, as if the Maze is the best place in the world to be. Although he does not understand this feeling, Thomas makes up his mind that he wants to be—that he needs to be—a Runner in the Maze, like the boys he saw earlier. Chuck dismisses the idea, but Thomas is determined, saying he will tell Alby the very next day. In another moment of apparent clarity, Thomas tells Chuck that he actually feels that he has been in the Maze before. Chuck sits up at this, but the realization has calmed Thomas, and he finds sleep easily.

Chapter 6

Newt wakes Thomas up before dawn the next morning, telling him that he has been tasked with showing him something before the others wake up. The two boys walk quietly out of the sleeping accommodations, and then break into a jog as they approach one of the walls. Newt pushes a patch of ivy away, revealing a window. Thomas sees a glowing light coming from the window, and Newt tells him that what he is about to show him is the reason why the boys spend every waking moment trying to find a solution to the Maze, and why he should never enter the Maze after dark. Newt bids him to look into the window at the Maze.

Thomas looks, but sees nothing at first; but then, a creature appears, which seems to be a mix of animal and machine with sharp metal appendages coming from its body. The odd creature charges at the window, and Thomas screams, though the glass does not break. Newt tells Thomas that the creature is a Griever, and that they move around the Maze at night. The doors shut at sunset so the Grievers cannot get into the Glade. Newt tells Thomas that he, like the rest of the boys, has been sent here for a reason, and that their task is to find a way out of the Maze. While Thomas is thinking about the Maze and the Grievers, about why the boys have been sent to such a horrible place and how they can possibly get out, Alby arrives to take him on a tour of the Glade.

Chapter 7

Alby starts the tour by telling Thomas that he cannot ask questions, and then takes him to the Box, which is how he first arrived in the Glade. Though its doors are closed, Alby says that a new boy arrives every month, and that supplies arrive in the same way every week. The boys do not know who sends either the new boys or the supplies. He also says that the Glade is designed in four sections. The “Gardens” section is for growing crops; the “Blood House” is for raising and slaughtering animals; the “Homestead” is for sleeping; and the “Deadheads” is the graveyard. Alby explains that for the next two weeks, Thomas will need to work in each of the sections under the supervision of a Keeper—the leader of the section—until they can figure out which job suits him best. The fact that the place needs a graveyard causes Thomas concern. He is also finds it strange that he remembers animals, but does not know what his relation to them is.

Alby then brings Thomas to the South Door. Alby says that he has been living in the Glade for two years, and that everyone who lived in the Glade before him has died. For two years, the boys have been running through the Maze and making Maps, but they have not yet found a way out. Thomas steps closer to the South Door but Alby stops him, saying that no one except the Runners are allowed inside the Maze. It is the Glade’s number one rule. If anyone else goes inside the Maze and is not killed by the Grievers, they will be killed by the Gladers as punishment for breaking the rule. Though the Maze seems a terrible place, especially after seeing the Griever, Thomas still feels a gut instinct that tells him he must be a Runner.

Thomas sees another beetle blade. He asks Alby what it is and, though Thomas is not supposed to ask question until the end, Alby relents. He says that the beetle blades are how the Creators watch the boys in the Glade and the Maze. Before Alby can explain further, however, a loud boom is heard. Strangely, Alby himself seems confused by the sound and runs in the direction of the Box. Newt catches up with Thomas and explains that the alarm means that another boy is coming up through the Box. Thomas still does not understand and Newt says that the sound is so startling because two boys have never arrived in the Glade within the same month, let alone two days in a row.

Chapter 8

The boys assemble nervously outside the Box, wondering about the new arrival. Chuck explains to Thomas that they have gotten accustomed to new arrivals coming on a monthly basis, so this change seems scary to the boys. Thomas thinks about escaping through the Box, but every time he thinks of a solution, Chuck dismisses it before he can even finish his thought. Chuck explains that they have tried throwing things down the hole after the Box leaves but they never hear them hit the ground. Also, before he arrived in the Glade, some boys made long ropes from the ivy on the walls, pried open the Box doors, and sent a boy down the hole. When he went down, something swooshed by and cut the boy in half. Thomas laughs, thinking Chuck is joking about the incident. To Thomas’s disbelief, Chuck says that they keep the bones of the boy in the graveyard so that future Gladers will know not to try to escape through the hole again.

As the boys wait for Newt and Alby to arrive from the Homestead, Thomas spies Gally giving him another dirty look; he feels uncomfortable with the boy around. He asks Chuck about the Changing again, remembering that Gally, too, has gone through it, but Chuck does not respond. Newt and Alby shush the boys, and then walk over to the Box, waiting for the elevator to arrive and stop. A boom finally signals that the Box has arrived, and Newt and Alby open the doors and peek inside. What they see startles them, and Alby again asks Thomas what he knows, as the arrival of two Greenbeans in two days seems like more than a coincidence. Thomas insists that he has no idea what is going on. Finally, Newt and Alby reveal that there is a girl inside the box, the very first girl, ever, in the history of the Glade. Not only that, but she appears to be dead.

The boys use vines to lower themselves into the Box and bring the girl’s body out. Thomas notices that she is around sixteen years old as well, and that she has dark hair and skin as pale as pearls. The girl is beautiful, but Thomas is uncomfortable thinking about a dead girl in this way. Newt calls him forward, and Thomas moves towards him and Alby, with the other Gladers staring at him. Thomas feels as if everyone’s eyes are accusing him of causing the sudden change in their daily lives. Alby and Newt ask him again if he is certain that he has not seen her before, as it seems too odd to be mere coincidence. Suddenly, the girl sits straight up, startling the boys, and in a haunting voice, says “Everything is going to change” (57). She then falls back, as if into a coma. In her hand is a note which says “She’s the last one. Ever” (57).

Chapter 5 – Chapter 8 Analysis

Thomas begins to understand the true nature of the Glade, as he encounters more and more “oddities” in his new home. As in a previous chapter, it is suggested, by a bully named Gally, that Thomas is not as innocent as he appears. Gally has seen Thomas before, which is strange, as none of the Gladers have their memories from before the Maze. Gally, however, has been through the Changing, and in the memories that resurfaced during that process, he has seen Thomas. This startling revelation points to the fact that there is a lot more to Thomas than initially appears. There is a deeper level at play, one that even Thomas is not aware of.

Thomas also gets his first glimpse of the horrors in the Maze, the Grievers. The sight is unimaginable to him, and he cannot fathom how or why the Gladers would be placed in such an environment. Another development comes when a new teenager is sent in the Box the day after Thomas arrives, which has never happened before. Even stranger, the teenager is a girl, making it the first time in the history of the Glade that a girl has ever been sent there. To make matters worse for the Gladers, she brings a message that she is the last Glader ever.

The events that take place in these chapters set Thomas’s fate in the Glade in motion. Suspicion is immediately cast on the newcomer as, up until Thomas’s arrival, life had been going according to routine. In addition to showing the chaos the lies just underneath the surface of this “idyllic glade,” these chapters also show the interplay between stability and chaos. Ultimately, power is not in the hands of the Gladers, and they must adapt to the changes that are thrown at them. The chapters show how startling new developments are, and ask whether or not the teenagers can handle change and retain any hope of escape.

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