James Dashner

The Maze Runner

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The Maze Runner Essay Topics

1. The exit from the Box and entrance into the Glade can be seen as a birth of sorts, or a rebirth. Even the language the Gladers use is something newcomers have to learn. Using specific examples of Thomas’s experience, discuss how the concept of birth, as well as the concept of “growing up,” plays out in his character arc.

2. Order and stability are recurring themes in the novel. Discuss the importance of order and stability in the novel, giving examples of order in practice, as well as examples of what happens when order appears to break down.

3. Chuck, Alby and Gally all sacrifice themselves in the novel, though for different reasons. Describe each sacrifice, and then compare characters and why they sacrificed themselves.

4. Examine and discuss Thomas’s transformation from a confused and frustrated newcomer to a leader in the Glade and eventual savior of the Gladers.

5. Though Ben’s plight is a sad one, it holds lessons for the other Gladers. Discuss Ben’s character and banishment as it relates to Thomas, and then more specifically, as it relates to the rules and order of the Glade. What does Ben’s sentence suggest about the social system in the Glade?

6. How can the novel be viewed as a coming-of-age tale? What elements and events in the novel point to this interpretation? Discuss with clear examples.

7. The Maze is a powerful symbol in the novel. Using concrete examples, discuss the significance of the Maze in the everyday lives of the Gladers, even those who do not go into the Maze. What comparisons can be made between the Gladers and their fear of the Maze, and real-life teenagers?

8. WICKED is good, or so the Creators suggest. Given what WICKED has done and plans to do, can WICKED really be considered good? Are their actions justified? Discuss what the Gladers know about the Creators and what they come to learn about WICKED. Given the state of the world, can a positive case be made for WICKED?

9. Compare and contrast the leadership styles of Alby and Newt. Using specific examples from the text, which leadership method works best? Are there merits to both?

10. The Glade runs by keeping the Gladers busy with routine work. Thomas, too, must take his turn with the different groups to see what type of work suits him best. Discuss the different types of work in the novel, such as Sloppers and Slicers, giving examples of what the groups do and characters from each group.

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