The Maze Runner Chapters 61-63 (Epilogue) Summary & Analysis
They drive for more than an hour, passing through ruined towns and cities, filled with people wearing tattered clothes and with sores on their faces. These people rush the bus as if trying to get on, but the driver just moves on at dangerous speeds. Thomas asks the woman sitting across from them what is going on. The woman looks at him and Teresa and says that it will take a while for them to get their memories back, if they ever do. She says that they are not scientists, so they do not know exactly what was done to the Gladers. She then explains that everything started with natural sun flares that could not have been predicted. By the time people noticed them, it was far too late. The sun flares burned out satellites and then scorched large portions of the earth, killing millions instantly. After this environmental disaster, a disease now known as the Flare began affecting people. It was impossible to keep it isolated to South America, and now only the richest people can afford treatment. She tells them that the Gladers are just one group among thousands of orphaned kids who were tested in an effort to see if they could help beat the Flare. She tells them that the disease starts with delusions, and then people become governed by animal instinct until they lose all sense of humanity. Ultimately, it is a disease that lives in the mind. She also says that it is better to die than to catch it.
The woman tells Thomas and Teresa that they do not believe in testing children and will stop at nothing to defeat WICKED. She explains that most of her group lives up north, in what was once known as the equator. It is now called the Scorch, a wasteland filled with people who are sick with the Flare. They are trying to cross the land in the hope of finding a cure in the Andes. She wants Thomas and Teresa to join them in their fight. The bus finally arrives at a multicolored building two hours later, and the kids are ushered into dorms. The building is surprisingly clean and, before bed, the Gladers are given pizza. Though Chuck’s death still hangs over Thomas, he feels safe and content to have good food and a bed, and thinks that he could sleep for a month.
Thomas shares a bunk bed with Minho, while Newt and Frypan are in the bunk next to them. Minho asks Thomas what he thinks happened to the Gladers who stayed behind, and Thomas, who has not even thought about them until this point, says they are probably crawling with Grievers now. Minho asks if he thinks they are safe with these new people, and Thomas says yes. Minho talks some more but Thomas feels exhaustion taking over. Before he falls asleep, Thomas talks to Teresa telepathically. She has been placed in separate quarters from the boys, and Thomas misses her. She says she is sorry about Chuck, but that Thomas should not beat himself up about it. Half of the Gladers survived, thanks to him. She also says that he should not spoil Chuck’s sacrifice, but accept it. When he finally agrees, Thomas says he wishes he could remember their life together before the Maze, and Teresa feels the same way. She says goodnight, and as Thomas rolls over and falls asleep, he feels a sense of relief and happiness.
The epilogue is formatted like a memo, bearing the date “232.1.27.” It is written by someone called Chancellor Ava Paige, and is addressed to “My Associates,” with the subject line, “THOUGHTS ON MAZE TRIALS, Group A.” The Chancellor writes that she is surprised by how many of the boys survived the Maze, and that the responses to the Variables are encouraging. She also writes that the “rescue” and the boy’s murder were a “valuable finale” that was needed to shock their systems. However, watching the boys believe that everything is alright now has been hard for the woman, she writes, but they are doing this for the good of the people, and so will move forward. She writes that she has someone in mind for the “leader,” but will withhold her thoughts so as not to sway the decision. She states that she is encouraged by what they have seen, and recalls “the girl” writing that WICKED is good on her arm. She then writes that the “subjects” will soon regain their memories and eventually understand what WICKED has done to them and what they plan on doing. Above all, she states, WICKED is indeed “good.” Before ending the memo, she notes that the group will be allowed one night’s rest before Stage 2 is implemented and that they should all feel hopeful. The memo then ends with her observation that Group B’s trial results were just as good but that she needs more time to process the data, and that they can touch base in the morning.
Chapter 61 – Epilogue Analysis
As the Gladers learn more about the world outside the Glade and see firsthand the devastation caused by the Flare, they are again faced with monumental decisions. The most important of which is whether they should give up hope in this post-apocalyptic world or continue to hope for something better in the future. The dorms they are placed in, as well as the food they are given, symbolize their hoped-for return to something resembling normality. Minho asks an important question of Thomas, which is whether or not they are truly safe. Thomas does not know the answer, but he says they are because that is what hope is all about. They have to hold on to the hope that things will be better now that they are outside the Maze. Even if the world is in chaos, they have to believe in moving forward or the pain and trauma of what they have gone through will consume them. Thomas, more than anyone, has to hold on to this hope. Chuck’s death is still fresh in his mind, and Teresa reminds him that Chuck’s sacrifice was a choice, a decision. Thomas must honor Chuck’s sacrifice by “growing up,” by moving forward, and by hoping to help make things better for the other survivors. When Thomas falls asleep with a measure of hope, it shows that he is capable of inspiring and fostering hope not only in others, but in himself.
The epilogue reveals that WICKED has choreographed the Gladers’ “rescue” and Chuck’s death to shock the Gladers. In this sense, WICKED is shown to be even more omnipotent in the lives of the remaining Gladers than previously thought. The fact that they can kill so easily attests to how desperate the times are. The question of WICKED’s morality is also addressed by the Chancellor of the Maze Trials herself, when she says that despite deceiving the teenagers, WICKED’s actions are still good. In this sense, the needs of the many—humanity in general—far outweigh the needs of the Gladers. It is left to the reader to decide whether this moral ambiguity is acceptable. The “rescuers” say they cannot allow WICKED to experiment on kids, while WICKED says that it must experiment on kids if it will ease the suffering of mankind.