James Dashner

The Maze Runner

  • 67-page comprehensive study guide
  • Features 63 chapter summaries and 6 sections of expert analysis
  • Written by a literary scholar with a Master's degree in English Literature
Access Full Summary

The Maze Runner Major Character Analysis


Thomas is the novel’s protagonist. He is a teenager who enters the story in a Box and finds himself in the Glade, with no memories other than of his first name. Like every other newcomer to the Glade, Thomas arrives scared and confused. Unlike others, however, he feels a strong connection to the Maze. In record time, he demonstrates his bravery and confidence, and even saves the lives of seasoned Gladers, Alby and Minho. Thomas also shares a telepathic connection to Teresa, the last teenager—and only girl—to be sent to the Glade, and someone he thinks he might have known before arriving to the Glade. With her help, Thomas works to recover his memories and find out who he really is in relation to the Maze, with dramatic consequences. Thomas is also one of the first successful people to challenge the Gladers’ rules, thereby changing day-to-day life in the Glade in a short amount of time and proving himself instrumental to understanding the Maze.


Teresa is the first and only girl to arrive in the Glade, and strangely, appears only a day after Thomas arrives, setting off a slew of cataclysmic events. Though her first few days are spent in a coma, she is ever present in the minds of the Gladers, especially Thomas. Teresa is self-confident and bold, and easily challenges the sexist attitudes of the Gladers. Teresa also stands up to the leaders of the Glade, is not afraid to speak her mind, and becomes a close friend of Thomas. She can also communicate with Thomas telepathically, which motivates them to learn how and why they are so uniquely connected. She is sent to the Glade as a trigger for the Gladers and, as she has no memories of her past except for the few things she tells Thomas, she aids him in trying to figure out their past and purpose in relation to the Maze.


Chuck is one of the youngest Gladers and was the newest addition to the Glade before Thomas arrived. He is assigned to take care of Thomas, and becomes Thomas’s first friend in the Glade. Chuck enjoys practical jokes, and is very talkative, sometimes annoying Thomas with his persistent banter and childish antics. In time, however, Chuck becomes a loyal and caring friend to Thomas, so much so that Thomas views him like a brother by the end of the novel. Thomas promises Chuck that he will help Chuck find his parents once they escape from the Maze. Chuck eventually sacrifices his own life to save Thomas. Through this act, Chuck is revealed to be a symbol for Thomas, a symbol of a peaceful and hopeful life.


Alby is the first person that Thomas sees when he leaves the Box. He is the leader of the Gladers, and is the oldest—and most trusted—teenager in the Glade. Alby initially appears to have a bad temper, and he enforces the strict laws of the Glade to the letter. He is, however, an extremely confident leader, and is capable of inspiring loyalty and bravery in the other Gladers. Alby is stung by a Griever in the Maze and goes through the Changing, in which he learns about the devastating state of the world outside the Maze. As a result, he becomes withdrawn and depressed and loses his will to lead the Gladers. At the novel’s end, Alby cannot live with what the Gladers might be returning to in the real world, so he sacrifices himself to the Grievers in an attempt to protect his fellow Gladers.


Newt is Alby’s second-in-command in the Glade and he is an immediately likeable teenager. Thomas sees him as kinder, smarter and actually more level-headed than Alby. Newt constantly references the need for order in the Glade, just like Alby does, but he gets his message across through work and labor, rather than punishment. Newt was a Runner at one time, though he was injured and now walks with a limp. Though a leader himself, Newt is one of the first Gladers to befriend Thomas. When Alby goes through the Changing and is unable to command the boys, Newt takes over his role as leader of the Glade.


Minho is the Keeper of the Runners, which means he is in charge of leading the Runners who go into the Maze on a daily basis. He is also one of the very first boys to have arrived in the Maze. He is sarcastic and confrontational, and his leadership style is intuitive, rather than strategic, which can have explosive consequences, especially during the Gatherings. Minho is strong and strong-willed as well, and makes it a point to own up to his mistakes. He eventually becomes a trustworthy ally and friend to Thomas.


Gally is cruel, hotheaded and arrogant throughout the novel and is antagonistic to Thomas from the start. He threatens many of the Gladers and holds a personal hatred for Thomas. Gally has gone through the Changing and knows that Thomas is not exactly who they think he is. Gally is determined to expose Thomas, even if he has to kill him. Gally does, however, sacrifice his own life in the novel so that other boys are not taken by the Grievers. He returns at the end of the novel and throws a knife at a bewildered Thomas, after declaring that he is being controlled.


Ben is a former Runner who goes through the Changing on the day Thomas arrives in the Glade. Ben sees Thomas through the filter of memories that resurface during the Changing and, in a fit of rage, Ben almost kills Thomas. As punishment for attempted murder, Alby banishes Ben into the Maze, which is a death sentence. Ben apologizes for his actions, and pleads for leniency, but is thrust into the Maze nonetheless, an event that haunts Thomas in the novel.

This is just a preview. The entire section has 986 words. Click below to download the full study guide for The Maze Runner.