The Maze Runner

The Maze Runner Summary and Analysis of Chapters 21 to 25

Ch 21

Thomas looks back to see the original Griever still pursuing him. Deciding one is better than three, he begins to charge toward the sole Griever. He screams as he charges. The Griever hesitates for a second, as if it is shocked by his newfound courage. Its spikes pop out and it begins to roll toward him.

Just before collision, Thomas plants his left foot and dives to the right. The Griever rolls past him trying unsuccessfully to stop. It turns and begins to pursue him again but now his path is clear and Thomas scrambles down the path.

Three corridors later, the four Grievers now chasing him, two arms pull him into an adjoining hallway. Thomas is scared to death before he realizes that it is Minho. Minho orders him to follow him.

As they round another corner, Minho tells Thomas that he saw his dive maneuver earlier and it has given him an idea. They enter a corridor that doesn’t end in a wall. Instead there is just darkness. Thomas is unsure of what he is looking at. Instead of a wall, he can see stars. It is an opening. Minho tells him not to get excited. They have not found a way out.

Thomas explores the opening. All he can see in all directions is openness and stars. How is this possible? “Careful”, says Minho. “You wouldn’t be the first shank to fall off the Cliff.”

The Grievers round the corner, rolling toward them single-file with surprising speed. Thomas begins to understand Minho’s plan. They stand next to each other waiting for the last possible second. In unison, they both dive out to their respective sides as the Grievers begin to fly off the edge of the Cliff. Thomas notices that the horrible screeching sound the Grievers make as they fall doesn’t fade but is simply cut off sharply.

The first three Grievers tumble over but the fourth is able to stop itself. Instinctively, Minho and Thomas leap out and kick the monster, sending it flying over. Thomas peers over the edge, expecting to see the Grievers tumbling down. Instead, there is nothing. They are gone without a trace.

Thomas collapses to the ground, exhausted. Then, finally, he begins to cry.

Ch 22

Thomas and Minho stay there for a half hour. Thomas finally stops crying, wondering how Minho now sees him. He has no self-control left; he couldn’t help himself. He is sure this has been the most traumatic night of his life. He crawls back toward the Cliff. Now he can see the sky beginning to brighten to a purple with a distant flat horizon. He stares straight down and sees that the stone wall of the Maze goes toward the ground in a sheer cliff, disappearing into something far below. He still can’t see what it might be. It doesn’t seem possible. It must be an illusion, he thinks.

Minho cannot believe they are still alive. It has never been done before. Thomas asks what happened to the Grievers. It is as if they disappeared going over the Cliff. Minho tells him that some other Gladers had a theory along those lines. He tosses a rock over the Cliff and the two boys watch it descend normally. “Maybe the Grievers are magic”, he muses.

Thomas suddenly remembers Alby. They must get back to him. Minho reflexively says that there is no way he is still alive. Thomas reminds him that no one would expect them to be alive either, but there they are. Minho argues that Alby has not been given the Serum. Thomas feels Minho is simply assuming that no one would survive without it. It isn’t a certainty. He convinces Minho that Alby may still be alive.

They hurry back as fast as they can, slowed by exhaustion. When they reach the West Door, Thomas can see Newt and other Gladers. Newt is shocked to see them alive. He leads him over to the wall where he points to Alby’s body on the wall. He is not moving. Thomas hopes he is alive.

Newt orders Thomas and Minho to see the Med-jacks and get some rest. After that, he says, he wants to hear the full story. Thomas resists. He wants to know if Alby is alive but Minho drags him away. As they enter the Glade hordes of boys stand at both sides, gawking. Thomas is embarrassed by the attention. He notices Gally is one of the boys and directs his stare at him. As he gets within five feet of Gally, the boy’s stare falls to the ground. He is almost disturbed by how good that feels.

Thomas and Minho return to the Homestead, escorted by Med-jacks. Thomas gets a glimpse of the girl in her room. He still has a powerful desire to see her, but now, he must rest. After getting food, water, and bandages he lays down to sleep. As he falls asleep two things come to mind: the word “WICKED” on the Beetle Blade, and the girl.

Chuck shakes Thomas awake. Thomas just wants to sleep but Chuck has news: Alby is alive. Thomas feels new energy come over him but then hears a blood-chilling scream from down the hall. Alby has begun the Changing.

Ch 23

Thomas wonders about Alby. Was it worth saving him? Now the boy was in serious pain. He might become psychotic like Ben did. He wishes to see Alby but Newt tells him it will only make matters worse.

Despite several hours of rest Thomas still feels exhausted. He spends most of the day on a bench in the Deadheads. The joy of his escape has quickly evaporated, leaving only pain and the thoughts of his miserable life in the Glade. How could anyone be so evil to this to children? For the first time, Thomas feels a real need for revenge. But despair quickly takes him again. If Newt and the others had been trying to find a way out for two years, what chance did he have?

Eventually, the day comes to a close. Chuck comes by with food and a big glass of cold water. Thomas eats quickly, realizing now how hungry he really is. Chuck informs him that he is the talk of the Glade. Thomas tries to deflect this, feeling embarrassed again. “Don’t get all humbly bumbly on us - what you did is freaking unbelievable”, says Chuck. Thomas tosses his empty plate on the ground. If it is unbelievable, then why does he feel so crappy about it? “Same reason we all feel crappy”, he says.

Newt joins the two of them. He turns the conversation toward Alby. The worst of the Changing appears to be over, he says. Alby should be screaming less and doing better soon. Thomas can’t believe how bad the Changing must be. He asks Newt what it is. Somewhat angrily, Newt throws his hands up. The Gladers don’t know. All they do know is that if someone is stung and doesn’t get any serum, they will die. Thomas asks why it’s called the Changing.

Newt takes a breath and relaxes a bit. He tells Thomas that the Changing brings back memories but only small snippets. Anyone who goes through it goes through a brief psychotic episode, though not as severely as Ben did. Thomas considers this. He asks Newt if they are sure. “Sure about what?”, asks Newt. Thomas asks if those who are stung are depressed because they realize what they have lost or because they realize their old life is no better than what they have now. Newt considers this for a moment. He tells Thomas that those who have gone through the Changing never really talk about it. They become different, unlikable.

Thomas asks about the girl. Newt says that her condition has not changed. She mutters nonsense now and then but she has remained in a coma. Newt says that the next matter is to figure out what to do with Thomas. Half the Gladers think he is a hero, the other think that he should be thrown down the Box hole. Tomorrow, Newt says, there will be a Gathering and they will decide then.

Ch 24

The next day Thomas finds himself seated in a chair surrounded by eleven other boys: the Keepers. That means that Gally is one of them. They sit in a large room in the Homestead that Thomas has never been in before.

Newt calls the meeting to order and introduces Thomas as the topic of discussion. Many strange things have been happening since his arrival. “He’s just a rule breaker now”, pines Gally.

Newt tells him to keep some semblance of order. He begins to calling each Keeper forward and asking for their opinion. He begins with Zart. Zart admits that Thomas broke the rules, but as a result, things have changed. They now know things they didn’t know before. Gally interrupts again, claiming it was probably Minho who actually took out the Grievers. Newt warns him again, threatening to banish him.

Frypan thinks the whole Gathering is ridiculous. He thinks Thomas should be placed on the Council and tasked with training all the other Gladers as to what he did. This statement brings about a great deal of arguing. Newt has to calm everyone again.

Thomas is feeling some relief. It seems most of the Keepers are on his side. Winston feels Thomas should be punished with a week in the Slammer with just bread and water. Some agree and some do not.

Finally, Gally’s turn comes. He states that he suspects Thomas of being some kind of spy for the people that put them in the Glade. The room explodes into another uproar. Gally thinks it’s too much of coincidence that Thomas was able to survive in the Maze and has only been in the Glade for a few days. He suggests Thomas go to the Slammer for a month and then another evaluation can take place after that.

The last Keeper to speak is Minho. Minho says he’s the only one who was there. He saw what Thomas did. He nominates Thomas to replace him as Keeper of the Runners.

Ch 25

More arguing resumes as a result of Minho’s suggestion. Gally thinks it is a ridiculous suggestion. He suggests Minho be removed from the Council for even saying something like this. Any pity Thomas felt for Gally disappears at that moment.

Newt calms the crowd and asks Minho to explain his position. Minho explains that he was the only one who was there with Thomas and the only one who has been out in the Maze. Gally interrupts, stating that he was out there once but...

Minho interrupts him, stating that doesn’t count. Gally stepped out into the Maze, breaking the same rule that Thomas is being tried for. Minho says that is hypocrisy. Newt calms Minho down and he starts over.

Thomas behaved in ways that Minho has never seen before. He was calm and collected, he says. He reminds everyone of how each of them behaved when they first arrived in the Glade: crying every hour, trusting no one and doing no work. Instead, Thomas went out into the Maze to save two boys he barely knew. He saved Alby when Minho had already given up on him. He questioned what Minho did instead of obeying the rules or the established order. Gally interrupts Minho again.

Minho has had enough. “Gally, you’re nothing but a sissy who has never, not once, asked to be a Runner or tried out for it. You don’t have the right to talk about things you don’t understand. So shut your mouth.”

Gally stands and threatens to break Minho’s neck. Minho laughs and pushes Gally to the floor. As he struggles to get back up Minho stomps on Gally’s back and drives him back to the ground. Minho tells Gally never to speak to him again or he will break his neck.

Newt and Winston pull Minho off Gally. Gally stands and backs out of the room. He threatens Minho again and tells Newt that he’s a pathetic leader. Finally, he looks at Thomas and says that he’s seen him before. “Whatever you came here for - I swear on my life I’m gonna stop it. Kill you if I have to.” Gally turns and leaves the room.


Thomas continues his "belly of the beast" encounter with the Grievers in the Maze. Cornered between three Grievers on one side and a lone Griever on the other, Thomas decides his odds are better in taking on the lone Griever. Dashner describes a sudden burst of courage from Thomas so profound that it even shocks the Griever as Thomas charges it, screaming. The theme of courage is present again.

The hero's characteristics are desired characteristics, the ideals a society upholds. Thomas's courage is what allowed him to take the risk to enter the Maze to help his friends. It is this same courage (and his quick wits) that allow him to survive in the Maze and perform feats previously thought impossible. However, Thomas's achievements still make an emotional impact on Thomas. He breaks down, crying, after the last of the four Grievers has been driven over the mysterious Cliff. Dashner's hero is revealed to still be human, after all. The courage necessary to overcome adversity does not negate that one cannot still be afraid. It is the willingness to act even when one is frightened that comes to define Thomas.

Regardless, a hero character may sometimes need help to achieve his or her goals. Minho emerges as just such an aide. Though he exhibits a cowardly "every man for himself" mentality when he abandons Thomas and Alby, his quick thinking allows for the defeat of the four Grievers chasing Thomas. Often, the hero's companion endures the very same test as the hero and becomes one of the only characters who truly understands the hero as well as what the hero has faced. As the novel progresses, consider Minho's allegiance to Thomas as well as the communicative shorthand that emerges between them.

Upon returning to the Glade, Thomas is regarded by some as a hero and by others as a reckless fool or harbinger of doom. This divisive effect of adoration vs fear illustrates another common feature of the hero archetype. Jung's hero frequently exhibits special powers or abilities that others simply do not possess. The first of Thomas's achievements is his ability to survive a night in the Maze, something previously thought impossible. Thomas's abilities will continue to develop as the novel progresses.

Thomas's burden is his resounding guilt and frustration. Instead of being overjoyed about his success in the Maze, Thomas is depressed. He wonders what Alby is going through. He feels no personal enjoyment in having done what was previously thought impossible. Jung theorizes that the hero's courage is what allows him or her to endure the guilt, fear, and other personal conflicts they will face. Jung saw this strictly as an action of the ego. The hero's willingness to face persecution, or crucifixion, as Jung believed, was what allowed for the reunification of the divine and secular. Jung believed that this reunification through the introduction of the hero was necessary to restore a balance between light and dark, feminine and masculine, life and death, God and man.

In the background of all these events remains Teresa, the girl. Thomas inquires after her upon his return to the Glade. Though she has very little page-time in the novel so far, Teresa appears to also play into Jung's hero archetype. Jung described an alluring, beautiful, but also vulnerable female character present in many hero myths. This character is generally guarded or captive to some sort of monster, which the hero must defeat. Though Thomas does not enter the Maze to save Teresa, there is the sense that she is of greatest concern to him. He is infatuated with her, attracted to her from first sight. He wishes to save her from the Glade and escape with her. As the novel progresses, consider the relationship that Thomas and Teresa have and how Chuck factors into it.

Regardless of his achievements, Thomas is faced with charges for breaking the rules. The Council gathers and the Keepers argue over what to do with Thomas. Gally, unsurprisingly, accuses Thomas of being a traitorous spy, working for the Creators. As the hero's aide, it is Minho that comes to Thomas's defense, even physically facing Gally as a result. Minho believes that Thomas achieved what he did because he ignored the rules and did what he felt was right. Minho's suggestion, that Thomas become the Keeper of the Runners, signals the frenetic pace of change that has permeated the Glade since Thomas's arrival. Thomas's hero arc also brings great change to the Glade itself. Many hero myths feature a shift in power. The hero is often a threat to a king or tyrant. Here, Thomas is a threat to the established, albeit unproductive, order of the Glade. Gally finds himself threatened by Thomas's prowess. This scene also sees him belittled and dismissed by Minho. Gally becomes yet another obstacle for Thomas.