James Dashner

The Maze Runner

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The Maze Runner Chapters 53-56 Summary & Analysis

Chapter 53

Thomas is almost sad to see that the Gathering has ended. Newt meets up with him and Teresa at the Box, and says that all of the Keepers have agreed to the plan to go through the Griever Hole. The hard part, says Newt, will be convincing the other Gladers. Thomas asks about Alby, and Newt says he will convince Alby to go by telling him that they can all start a new life together outside the Glade. Thomas says that perhaps they can, and that he has promised to find Chuck a home. They watch the Keepers trying to explain the plan to the Gladers. Though some boys storm off, most seem to be agreeing to, or at least considering the plan. Newt says that they need to find out who will stay and who will go, and then stock up on food and supplies. He says that, while Thomas might make a good leader, it would make matters worse to put him in charge. Newt tells Thomas that he and Teresa can stay behind the scenes and handle the code portion of the plan. Thomas is just fine with lying low, but still has doubts about their safety. Newt says that, in the end, they will stay behind and one person will die or they can go and fight and one person will die, as long as Thomas is right. Though Thomas doubts the part about only one person being killed, he does not say anything.

The Gladers spend the next few hours preparing for their escape. Thomas is surprised to find that most of the Gladers have decided to go, with only a few loud and adamant boys refusing. Thomas thinks that most of the Gladers have actually decided to fight because they are banking on only one person being killed, and they all hope that person will not be them. Teresa and Thomas go to the Deadheads to talk about strategy. Thomas says that they have to be the ones to punch in the code because if they get separated, they can still communicate telepathically. At Teresa’s suggestion of backup, Thomas says that Newt and Minho also know the words and can help if something happens to them. Teresa asks Thomas what he thinks the word WICKED means and, as he hears her say it, he suddenly understands. He makes the connection to the plaques that are all over the Maze: World In Catastrophe: Killzone Experiment Department, and realizes that WICKED is an acronym. They still don’t understand why she wrote the phrase “WICKED is good” on her arm though. Before returning to the others, Thomas confides that they could be walking into a bloodbath. Teresa reminds him that they have nothing to lose by trying to fight, but Thomas is still uneasy.

Chapter 54

As they eat their final meal before going into the Maze, Thomas is surprised at how calm Chuck seems, but figures it is just an act. Chuck asks who he is named after, and Thomas guesses Charles Darwin. Chuck says that he is not scared because only one person will die. Thomas says nothing but is both annoyed and uneasy about the fact that everyone is clinging onto the belief that only one person will die, as the Creators could easily reprogram the Grievers. In the end, however, he admits that false hope is better than no hope, and tells Chuck that if they all fight, maybe they can all make it home. He reminds Chuck about his promise to get him home, and Chuck says that as long as Thomas gets him out of the Maze, he will be happy.

Newt and Alby start rallying the Gladers and telling them that it is time to enter the Maze. Thomas notices Alby and wonders about his mental stability. The group heads over to the West Door, where Minho and Teresa are going over the code plans. Minho tells Thomas that if his plan does not work, he will kill Thomas before the Grievers can. Thomas wonders whether the idea of escaping has been planted in his head by the Creators, but realizes that there is no going back now. Newt calls the Gladers to attention, reminding them about the plan. Thomas is distracted when he sees Alby skulking away from the group, and decides to keep an eye on him while in the Maze. Minho jokes about giving a pep talk and tells everyone not to die. Newt tells the Gladers that up to now they have been treated like mice by the Creators, but tonight they are taking the fight to the Creators themselves. The Gladers start cheering and Newt raises his weapon and runs into the Maze, with the rest of the Gladers charging right behind him. Thomas falls in line with Chuck and Teresa and is overwhelmed by fear for them, but wills himself to keep going and make it to the Griever Hole.

Chapter 55

The Gladers run through the Maze for an hour without encountering any Grievers. Thomas is filled with dread at what might happen, but Teresa steels his nerves telepathically. As they reach their target, Thomas allows himself an ounce of hope. They have yet to meet any Grievers and they are already at the corridor leading to the Cliff. Minho stops everyone and peers around the corner, then turns around with a look of horror on his face. Thomas hears the sounds of Grievers. Minho says that there are over a dozen Grievers in front of the Griever Hole, and they look as if they have simply been waiting for them. Thomas realizes that the beetle blades must have shown the Creators what they were planning. Newt and Alby move to the front, and Newt says that they knew they would have to fight anyway, though his tone is unconvincing. Thomas suggests that someone has already been taken back at the Glade, which is why the Grievers are just standing there.

As if in response to Thomas’s theory, two groups of group of Grievers approach them, one from behind them, and another from the other end of the corridor, blocking off any means of escape and pushing them towards the Cliff. The Gladers are unsure what to do next, but then Alby, declaring that they should never have come, breaks into a run and dives onto one of the Grievers. He is attacked by a group of Grievers as Newt tries to break away and help him. Thomas restrains Newt and they watch in horror as Alby disappears. Minho says that they cannot let Alby’s sacrifice go to waste and tells Thomas that they will fight a path through the Grievers for him and Teresa to punch in the code. The Gladers will follow when they give them the signal to. Minho yells at the Gladers to protect Thomas and Teresa and the Grievers all power up and begin moving slowly toward the Gladers. Thomas and the others realize that Alby’s sacrifice has been in vain.

Chapter 56

Thomas tells them that he needs to get through the mass of Grievers blocking the Griever Hole. Newt nods, and Minho tells the Gladers that they are to make a path for Thomas and Teresa, and to fight the Grievers and push them towards the walls. Minho then leads the charge into the Grievers near the Griever Hole, with Newt right behind him and the rest of the Gladers in tow. Chuck is about to run past as well when Thomas grabs him and tells him to stick with him and Teresa, which Chuck is relieved to hear, though he will not admit it. Thomas says that he and Teresa might need Chuck’s help if there are Grievers waiting in the Griever Hole. Teresa says that a path has been cleared, and Thomas takes off towards the Griever Hole with the sounds of war all around him. Thomas hears people dying left and right, but knows he cannot stop to help and hopes that no one he knows has been killed. He and Teresa both get injured by a Griever, and Teresa yells out that Chuck almost got taken as well, but they make it through most of the fighting and end up at the edge of the Cliff.

Teresa jumps in first, and then Thomas helps Chuck to jump into the Griever Hole as well. As he helps Chuck, he feels kinship for him, as if they have the same mother. The battle continues behind Thomas, and he feels guilty at leaving his friends to face the Grievers. However, he knows he must do his part and so he jumps off the Cliff and into the Griever Hole.

Chapter 53 – Chapter 56 Analysis

The Keepers all agree on the escape plan and set about convincing the Gladers to join them. Their willingness to go along with the plan, despite the likelihood of injury and death shows how eager the Gladers are to escape. Regardless of Thomas’s involvement in the Maze’s construction, the Keepers realize that the task at hand is indeed to escape. Morality is an issue again as Thomas wonders about the chances that they will escape. Though banking on the hope that only one Glader will be taken, leaving the others to get through the Griever Hole, Thomas knows how easily it can all change if the Creators reprogram the Grievers. Thomas thinks of the human casualties his plan might cause, and worries for the Gladers’ survival. He eventually decides that false hope is better than no hope and continues with his plan. This does beg the question of whether or not it is right to let the Gladers think that the plan will definitely work. Is it better to give them hope for their survival, or to lay everything out and allow doubt to cloud their judgment? Likewise, Thomas again thinks about WICKED, and what it means that WICKED is good. Is the Maze, in some bizarre sense, good? If so, how does Thomas’s plan, that may cost the lives of some for the good of the rest, differ from the Creators’?

As the Gladers deal with the fact that The Grievers will not stop after taking one Glader, and that Alby’s sacrifice has been in vain, Thomas is confronted with the reality of his plan. Seeing death and despair all around him, he wonders if he has made the right choice. Doubt, however, is dangerous and threatens the possibility of moving forward. Both he and Teresa, as well as Chuck, are injured and almost taken while struggling to get to the Griever Hole. Thomas understands that being a leader also means dealing with sacrifice. More importantly, as he watches people die to defend him, people he has never met, he understands that his role is to move forward and provide hope for the others. He cannot hesitate or mope at the reality around him and so, like a true leader, he jumps into the Griever Hole.

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