The Maze Runner Chapters 57-60 Summary & Analysis
Thomas finds himself in complete darkness and then into the waiting hands of Teresa and Chuck. Without Teresa’s flashlight, the place would be pitch black. Thomas ascertains that they are in a cold, ten-foot high cylinder covered in grimy oil. Chuck yells for them to type in the code, and Thomas tells Teresa to punch it in while he and Chuck keep watch for Grievers. As Teresa types in the code, a Griever jumps through the Griever Hole. Thomas pushes Chuck behind him and uses his spear to cut off one the Griever’s spikes. The Griever shrieks loudly and retreats, and Thomas realizes that Grievers can be killed. Teresa yells that she is not able to punch in the last word, PUSH, but Thomas rushes at the injured Griever, jumping on top of it and plunging his spear into its body. The creature begins shaking violently and yellow ooze emanates from its body, before it shuts down.
Before Thomas can help Teresa, two more Grievers come through the Hole. Trying to think of a solution, Chuck sees a button and suggests that they push it. As one Griever grabs Thomas and another prepares to slice at Chuck, Teresa pushes the red button, which has the words KILL THE MAZE written on it, and everything goes silent. From somewhere down the corridor, they then hear a door slide open.
The Grievers immediately shut down and suck their instruments back into their skin. Teresa hugs Chuck, and thanks him for being so smart. Thomas says that he knew they might have needed Chuck’s help, and calls him a hero. Teresa then wonders aloud about the others and, as if in response, they hear someone falling into the Griever Hole. It turns out to be Minho, followed by Newt and Frypan, and then eighteen more Gladers. Minho says that twenty-one of them survived but that the other half of the group died in the fight. Knowing that forty-one of them set out on the escape plan, Thomas wonders about their “victory,” but they all agree they need to move. Thomas explains that they heard a door open; the group moves towards the sound, and find themselves in an even darker space. They soon realize that they are meant to go down a slide, and Thomas wonders if the Creators really do think of this as a sort of game.
As he slips down, Thomas feels like the slide goes on forever and the smell of oil, burnt plastic and machinery soon gives way to the smell of mold and rot, making Thomas nauseous. Before he can throw up, however, the slide finally ends and he lands on the floor amongst the other Gladers. Thomas moves away and vomits. The Gladers all take in their surroundings; some of it is familiar to Thomas from the Changing. They find themselves in a giant underground chamber that is “big enough to hold nine or ten Homesteads” (351). To their right are large white pods that look like coffins and there are various kinds of machinery and wire all around the room. Directly in front of them are twenty or so windows lit with dim light that stretch around the compound horizontally. Behind each window stands a person, male and female, pale and thin, observing the Gladers. Though the people look like ghosts, Thomas knows that they are in fact the Creators.
The Gladers step back, staring up at the Creators. They wonder what they are supposed to do now, and Minho shouts that he is going to break the Creators’ faces. Chuck asks what they are supposed to do, and everyone looks at Thomas, though he has no clue. His memories only showed him so much. As Newt says that the Grievers are probably being revived, a loud beeping noise is heard, and the large doors opposite the white pods open up. Two people enter the room, one is an adult woman wearing a white button-down shirt with the word WICKED stitched on her lapel. Thomas recognizes the woman, but cannot place her for some reason. The other person is a boy with a large sweatshirt on, the hood of which is covering his face. The woman looks at the Gladers and says that she is surprised at how few deaths there have been after two years.
Thomas looks at the woman in shock, and Newt asks her what she means. The woman calmly responds that everything is going according to plan, though she expected a few more of them to have given up along the way. She then looks over to the boy pulls off his hood. All the Gladers take in sharp breaths as she reveals Gally, who is crying. Minho angrily demands why Gally is there, and the woman replies that they are all safe. Minho says he wants to speak to someone in charge, like the police or the Mayor, and the woman condescendingly replies that she expected more maturity from someone who completed the Maze Trials. Newt tries to ask Gally what is happening but he does not reply, and Thomas notes that something seems off with him, even more so than before.
The woman tells the Gladers that she expects them to come to terms with what is going on, and that there is one more Variable they have to deal with. She steps back and Gally begins shaking uncontrollably, saying that he is not in control of his body he starts to choke himself. Thomas remembers that the same thing happened to Alby when he tried to speak about his memories. Gally recovers but then takes a knife from his back pocket and throws it at Thomas. Thomas is frozen to the spot, but Chuck dives in front of him and is hit by the knife. Thomas drops to the ground and cradles Chuck in his arms, begging for help but knowing it is too late to help him. Chuck tells Thomas to find his mom, and is about to say more, but he dies. Thomas feels an uncontrollable rage take hold of him, and he snaps. He rushes at Gally, pins him to the ground and starts beating him, feeling bone and blood. Finally, Newt and Minho rush in and pull him off Gally, his arms and legs flailing about him. He then runs back to Chuck and holds him again, sobbing.
Thomas realizes that Chuck was a symbol for him: he symbolized the possibility of returning to a normal life. Now that Chuck is dead, Thomas realizes that his life has never been normal and that the days ahead will be difficult. Thomas gathers himself and stands up, holding Teresa’s hand and not letting go. The woman says that all things happen for a reason. Before she can continue, she is interrupted by shouts and commotion from the area behind her. The woman is visibly frightened as several men and women come through the doors with antique-looking guns. Two of them tackle the woman and shoot her repeatedly. Thomas takes a step back and stumbles. The others start shooting the Creators who are observing from the windows and there are shouts and screams and blood flies everywhere. A man with a young face tells the Gladers that they have to run as if their lives depended on it, because it does.
The Gladers move through what feels like endless hallways and machinery until they reach another set of doors and move out into darkness and a downpour of rain, which marks a strong contrast to the lack of weather inside the Maze. The people, whom Thomas can only think of as their rescuers, tell them to board a beaten-up bus that is waiting for them. As Thomas waits to board, and enjoys the rain, he is suddenly yanked backwards and falls to the ground. In the light from someone’s flashlight, he sees a hideous woman with sores all over her face who smells like sour milk, staring at him. “Gonna save us from the Flare (362), she asks, before warning him not to “believe a word they tell ya!” (363). Someone pulls the woman off Thomas and tells her that he will kill her if she moves, before yelling at Thomas to get on the bus. Thomas makes it onto the bus but he is in shock. The leader of the new group starts the engine and pulls away, and as they leave, the woman who knocked Thomas over runs in front of the bus. The bus driver keeps going and runs the woman down, leaving Thomas and Teresa with a sickening feeling.
Chapter 57 – Chapter 60 Analysis
When Thomas “kills” the Griever inside the Griever Hole he proves that his enemy does have a weak point and is not as omnipotent as they initially thought. Inputting the code and pushing the button which shuts down the Maze seems almost absurdly simple in relation to what it took to get to the computer station. Thomas assesses their success once Newt, Minho and the survivors come through the Griever Hole. He thinks that too many Gladers have died, and is saddened by the outcome. The button that shuts down the Maze also suggests that the Creators treat controlling the teenagers like a game; they were able to destroy their lives with just one button.
The slide which brings the Gladers into the underground compound is a reversal of the elevator used to transport Thomas the Glade at the beginning of the novel. The slide initially smells like the Box, but those smells soon turn to rot and mold, suggesting that things might get worse. The slide brings the Gladers to a real-life hell, one more powerful than the Maze, as evidenced by Thomas’ symbolic need to throw up when he reaches the compound. Ironically, when the Gladers meet the Creators, the adults who are supposed to be mature figures of authority—nurturing and helpful, even— they are uncaring and cold. They observe the Gladers as if they are nothing more than animals.
The last variable is Chuck’s death, which is symbolic of lost hope. Thomas realizes that Chuck was himself a symbol for Thomas, a symbol that everything would be alright in the end. His promise to keep Chuck safe was in fact a promise to return himself to safety, and with Chuck dead, Thomas realizes that the dream of safety might just that, a dream. The test is also meant to determine if he will lose hope or continue to try to escape.
The rescue scenes show just how terrifying the world outside the Glade is. There is so much that the Gladers do not know and they have barely escaped death by machines before they are faced with more violence and chaos. The reader might assume that the Gladers would be happy to see the Creators executed, yet they are too shocked to take in what is happening.