The Maze Runner

by James Dashner

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Last Updated September 5, 2023.

Fortitude: The kids need to show strength of mind and courage to even think about escaping the Glade. Though they've encountered numerous setbacks, they never succumb to hopelessness. They dig deep within themselves to try to crack the puzzle of the Maze and make their escape.

Friendship: When people are thrown together in situations of extreme adversity, friendships often arise. At first, it may be practical; you need to have solidarity with others if you're going to win your freedom. But as the story progresses, friendships forged in adversity become deeper and more intense. The relationship between Thomas and Teresa is particularly strong. They form an unbreakable bond; it's almost as if they're soulmates. Indeed, their friendship is so strong it reaches back into a shared past, one that no amount of mind-erasing can ever destroy.

The importance of rules: This theme is linked to the earlier one of fortitude. If you're going to come together and fight injustice, you're going to need discipline. Thankfully, the Glade is a rule-based community. But then it has to be. Everyone has their own sociall -allocated role within the Glade. This allows people to come together more effectively and develop a sense of solidarity in the face of their common enemy.

In stark contrast, there's the Maze, which is crazy, chaotic, and disordered, the complete antithesis of the Glade. Unlike the Glade, it isn't a civilized place at all; it's barbarous, brutal and unforgiving. In solving the Maze, the Runners will represent a triumph of order over chaos, civilization over barbarism, rules over anarchy.

Freedom: Compared to the Maze, life in the Glade is a bowl of cherries. But Gladers know that there's something not quite right, even though they've had their memories wiped. The Glade, though superficially pleasant (it never rains, for example) is not a place to live in but a place to escape from. If the Glade is supposed to be a haven of freedom, then why is the place surrounded by high walls and a deadly maze?

Despite what's happened to them, the Gladers have a deep sense of their own freedom, their own humanity. Their understanding of this and the steps they take to solve The Maze show that the human spirit is strong and can never truly be broken.

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