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The Maze Runner: Independent Study Unit

1798 words - 8 pages

The novel The Maze Runner by James Dashner begins with a teenage boy waking up in an elevator who has no memory of the past, only that his name is Thomas. When the doors of the elevator open up he is pulled into a humongous square surrounding, called the Glade, by a group of teenage boys. The boys in the Glade refer to themselves as the ‘Gladers’. Thomas learns that the Gladers have lived in there for two years and that the Glade is located in the center of a maze which contains a labyrinth of high walls that move during the night and deadly creatures called grievers. The Glade is led by two boys, Alby and Newt; they both maintain order in the Glade by enforcing strict rules and jobs that ...view middle of the document...

These memories reveal that both Thomas and Teresa worked for the creators, W.I.C.K.E.D which stands for World In Catastrophe: Killzone Experiment Department. Thomas also knows that in order to escape the maze he must go into the griever hole and input the code on a computer that would be found within the griever hole. When the Gladers escape, they escape into the W.I.C.K.E.D compound. The workers of the compound inform the Gladers that the maze was a trial so that they could single out the best and brightest and then use those kids to help find a cure for a disease called the Flare. Soon after they are rescued by a rebel group and help the Gladers escape and they are brought to a safe place. But the epilogue reveals that the rebel group and the escape were a part of the trials and that they only completed the first trial. It is also revealed that another group, group B has been through the same trials.
The protagonist Thomas demonstrates that he can be both heroic and caring throughout the novel The Maze Runner. Thomas exhibits that he is heroic by stepping through the maze as the doors protecting the Glade are about to close locking both Minho and a wounded Alby out of the Glade for the night. Thomas is heroic by risking his life to save both Minho and Alby:
“He looked back into the Maze, at the closing wall. Only a few feet more and it’d be over… They weren’t going to make it. Time was up. That was it… Five feet. Four feet. Three. Two. Thomas knew he had no choice. He moved. Forward. He squeezed past the connecting rods at the last second and stepped into the Maze” (Dashner 112).
Thomas stepping through the Glade doors exhibits his heroism because Thomas knows that within the two years that the Gladers have lived in the maze no one has ever survived a night in the maze. With this knowledge Thomas is still willing to set his life on the line to save two friends that he barley knows, because he is the ‘newbie’ in the Glade. This is an act of heroism because Thomas is setting aside his fear of death to let in a fear of losing friends, which required a vast amount of bravery. This reveals a lot about Thomas’ character because the only thing he is certain of is his first name and that this act of heroism was the first defining act of his character. This defining act can show what type of character Thomas is going to become over the course of the novel.
Another character trait that Thomas demonstrates in the novel would be how caring and compassionate he is toward others. He demonstrates this characteristic in the novel by realizing how scared his friend Chuck is when he is told that he needs to be one of the Gladers that have to be defending both Thomas and Teresa by fighting off the grievers, which means that they have to risk their lives. After Thomas sees the fear in Chuck he tells him to tag along yet being considerate of his feelings by making not recognizing his fear:
Chuck stumbled backward, then looked up at Thomas, his eyes so full of...

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