or is a trial?
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I think the code is part of the trial which exists within the maze. To get out of the maze, the code becomes essential and a metaphor to the order of society. Despite having been imprisoned in the Glade for two years, the Gladers have not given up on trying to solve the Maze. Not trying to solve it would mean giving up and succumbing to a sense of hopelessness. Though the task may come to feel pointless, they continue to persevere.
No the code is WICKED's idea. They put all thsese kids in the Maze. Then they have to try and survive and they do survive... just half of them died... sooooooooooooooooooo sad.