The Maze Runner

The Maze Runner Summary and Analysis of Chapters 26 to 30

Ch 26

Thomas sits in his chair, shocked. No one has ever threatened his life before. Gally’s clearly gone insane, he thinks. Minho states his thoughts exactly. He advocates that his actions against Gally were warranted. Gally did threaten his and Thomas’s lives after all.

Winston posits that perhaps Gally should not be so casually dismissed. After all, he’s been through the Changing. Perhaps he does remember something involving Thomas.

Thomas becomes tired of being spoken about as if he is not there. “Can I say something now?”, he asks, annoyed. He reminds the Council that he has no idea who he is either. “If I remember correctly, we’re here because of what I did out in the Maze, not because some idiot thinks I’m evil.”

Thomas continues, stating that he didn’t do anything wrong. He helped two Gladers. If they want to throw him in jail for that, he says, they can do so. “Next time I promise I’ll point at them and laugh, then go eat some of Frypan’s dinner.”

Newt recommends that Thomas serve one day in jail then begin his training as a Runner. On the issue of becoming the Keeper, Newt disagrees. In another month, they will re-evaluate the situation. The Council votes, approving Newt’s suggestion.

Afterward, Thomas asks Minho about his idea to make Thomas the Keeper. He tells Minho it was a crazy idea. “Worked, didn’t it? Aim high, hit low. Thank me later”, replies Minho. Thomas can see that this was his plan all along.

Chuck appears at the door. His face suggests something is wrong. The Med-jacks have sent him. Alby is thrashing around and acting crazy, saying he needs to talk to somebody. Newt stands to go but Chuck stops him. He points at Thomas. “He keeps asking for him.”

Ch 27

Newt and Thomas leave the Council room and head up a winding staircase. Newt orders Chuck to stay behind. Thomas comforts Chuck but is himself terrified of what he may see or hear. What if Alby accuses of something like Ben did?

As Thomas enters Alby’s room he has the slightest glimpse of a horror movie that the scene reminds him of. He can’t remember the film or who was in it, but there it is. Alby lies still. Newt calls to him, telling him that Thomas is here. Alby sits up and dismisses Newt from the room. Newt resists. He wants to hear what this is about but Alby angrily tells him to leave.

Thomas is now alone with Alby. He has no idea what Alby might be capable of. Alby breaks the silence by telling Thomas that he knows who he is. Alby also knows who the girl is. “I remember the Flare”, he says.

Thomas wonders what Alby is talking about, but wants to know who he is. Alby begins to speak and then begins to convulse violently, biting down on his tongue. It looks like an unseen force is strangling him. His skin begins to turn purple. Thomas calls for Newt. The two boys hold Alby down. Alby is clasping his own throat, choking himself. Newt yells, telling him to let go.

Finally, Alby calms and stops thrashing. He lets go of his throat. As he regains his breath he tells Newt and Thomas that he doesn’t know what happened. It was like someone else was controlling his body. Newt and Thomas exchange a look. Newt pulls a blanket over Alby and tells him to rest. “You’re messed up, shank”, he says. He and Thomas prepare to leave as Alby mutters something. “Be careful with the girl.” Newt searches Thomas for an answer. Thomas shrugs but notes that the girl seems to be at the center of this all. Alby calls to Newt again. “Protect the maps”, he instructs.

Newt and Thomas leave the room. Thomas doesn’t think that sounded very good.

Ch 28

The two boys exit the Homestead and Newt suggest they get some food. Although Thomas can’t believe Newt can think of food after what they just heard, he follows. They take their food outside and discuss Alby, Gally, and Thomas’s sentence.

Newt says he’s never seen anyone behave like Alby has after being stung. Most people don’t want to talk about it. Gally, he says, must be found and placed in jail. No Glader can go around threatening the lives of other Gladers without some kind of consequence. Newt says that Thomas will spend tomorrow in jail and then begin his training with Minho. He advises Thomas to stay away from other Gladers for a while.

Finally, Newt turns the conversation toward what Gally, Ben, and Alby have all said about Thomas. There’s something rotten about him. Thomas says he can’t remember anything but Newt tells him to stop saying that anymore. Something is different about Thomas and they have to figure out what it is. He tells Thomas to open his mind and tell him anything he can remember.

Thomas says he can remember nothing but then shares that he feels like he has been in the Glade before. Newt finds this interesting and tells Thomas to keep working on it in his spare time.

Next, he suggests, they should go see the girl. Maybe that will trigger something for Thomas. If all else fails, maybe Thomas should get stung by a Griever. Thomas looks at Newt and sees that he is not joking.

At the Homestead the two boys enter the girl’s room to find her being attended to by Clint, a Med-jack. Newt asks if the girl has been talking. Clint says yes. She has repeated the phrases from the day she arrived, but also, she keeps saying Thomas’s name.

Thomas sits down next to the girl. He finds her to be truly beautiful. Despite her condition, there is color in her skin and she appears healthy. Thomas admits to Newt that he knows her from somewhere, but isn’t sure where. He keeps concentrating when suddenly he hears a voice in his head say a name: Teresa.

Thomas jolts from his chair. He asks Newt if he just said something or if the girl did. Newt replies that the answer is no. He tells Newt that he heard the name Teresa. Newt chalks it up to Thomas simply remembering something from his past. Thomas disagrees. It was as if someone spoke inside his mind. He hears the voice again. This time it says his name. It is a girl’s voice. He tells Newt that the girl is communicating with him.

The voice tells him not to freak out. They are the last ones, it says. “We can pass the Trials. It has to end. They sent me as a trigger”, it says.

Thomas can’t handle it. He runs out of the room, out of the Homestead, and out of the Glade into the Maze. Still, the voice persists. “It was you and me, Tom. We did this to them. To us.”

Ch 29

Thomas doesn’t stop running until the voice is gone. He has been running for almost an hour. Soon the Doors will close. He has to get back. He is unsure if he can face her again. He is also sure he has no choice. He has to face the truth.

As he runs back Thomas realizes two things about himself. First, he has navigated the Maze without even thinking about it. He does not falter in his path once. Second, he is in great shape. He has recovered from his harrowing exhausting experience the day before. Thinking about the speed he has been running and the time it has taken, he has probably run the equivalent of half a marathon. As he runs he can appreciate the size of the Maze. It runs on and on for miles and miles.

He enters the Glade with just minutes to spare and heads directly for the Deadheads. He just wants to be alone. Finding a spot against the south wall, he falls asleep.

Chuck wakes him in the morning. It is late. He has almost missed breakfast and is supposed to be in jail for the day. Thomas remembers the prior day and wonders if maybe he is just going insane. Chuck regales Thomas with stories of his fame in the Glade, but all Thomas can think of is Teresa.

Thomas asks if Gally was ever found. Chuck tells him that he suspects some of his cronies are hiding Gally somewhere in the Glade.

While Thomas is eating, Newt appears. It’s time for him to serve his day in jail. Thomas looks forward to a relatively normal day without anything crazy happening.

Ch 30

Thomas spends the day in the Slammer, a big concrete block with a solitary cell. Newt locks Thomas inside with good-natured humor, joking that this is Thomas's reward for saving a few lives. Newt stresses that Thomas is all right in his book but that he needs to learn order. He leaves Thomas to sit and watch the walls.

Chuck comes at noon with lunch to visit him and to keep Thomas company. The bond between the two boys continues to grow as Chuck confides in Thomas about his own fears upon entering the Glade. Chuck admits to crying every day, almost up until Thomas arrived. Thomas admits that he cried after the last Griever fell over the Cliff. He tells Chuck never to feel bad about crying. It makes you feel better, he says. Chuck also tells Thomas that he wonders if he has real parents out there somewhere. He fantasizes of living a normal life.

At hearing this, Thomas is overcome with anger. Chuck should be in a school and have a proper home, not here in the Glade, he thinks. Thomas begins to hate whomever is responsible for their plight. He promises Chuck that he will get them out of the Glade and find Chuck's real parents and family. "I swear I'll get you back home", he says.


Dashner continues to portray Thomas as a character for reader identification. Here, he uses our own sense of fairness and justice to manipulate us as we witness Thomas's persecution. Thomas defends himself, stating that if saving the lives of two people is against the rules, he'd gladly be in jail. By presenting a simple, but truthful, argument about the skewed values of the Glade, Thomas embodies both rational progress and potential leadership qualities. His character has evolved since his ordeal in the Maze.

Minho retains his role as an aide to the hero. He quickly devises a plan to see Thomas become the Keeper of the Runners. Newt dismisses Minho's idea that Thomas become the Keeper of the Runners immediately, but agrees to letting him try after one day in jail and a month of training. We see that Minho is a cunning ally with a gift for political maneuvering. Thomas himself has little interest or skills for politics. His aspirations are higher, so it is apt that Dashner gives these qualities to Minho, who can do this "dirty work".

However, this victory is short-lived when Alby sends for Thomas. Thomas must now continue to face his own fears and doubts. Having gone through the Changing, Alby now possesses some memory of the past. He tells Thomas that he knows who he and Teresa are. Just as key information is about to be revealed, Alby begins to convulse as if an external force is controlling him. This serves to heighten the mystery about both Thomas and Teresa, a past that Thomas is clearly afraid of hearing about. Thomas has his doubts about who he is and what he may have done. As we shall see, those doubts are well-placed.

Teresa remains something of an X factor in the minds of the Glade leadership. Alby's instructions seem to suggest that the reader should also be concerned about her presence. Her persecution as the sole female member of the Glade is notable. Teresa comes to represent the unknown, taking on even supernatural notes. As is revealed, Teresa is also telepathic and is able to communicate with Thomas, and only Thomas, in this way. It is difficult not to interpret her persecution as intrinsically tied to her gender. Her extraordinary abilities suggest that she could be interpreted as the supernatural figure in Joseph Campbell's Hero's Journey paradigm. Campbell saw a stage in the hero myth where the hero and a supernatural aid meet, or in this case, are reunited. Upon visiting her, Thomas begins to hear her voice inside his head. His worst fears are confirmed when Teresa tells him that she and he were involved in the imprisonment of the Gladers.

Thomas's feelings of guilt are both explained and reinforced. Still, it is Teresa for whom Thomas harbors the strongest feelings. Campbell's schematic for the hero myth also features a Goddess character for which the hero feels the strongest love. Teresa comes to embody both the supernatural aid as well as the Goddess.

Thomas's guilt and resulting denial force him to run back into the Maze until he can no longer hear Teresa's voice. This metaphorical return to the underworld underscores the sheer panic Thomas feels. Even the Maze feels safe compared to what he has just learned about himself. When he returns he slinks off to the Deadheads, a designated spot for him to be alone. The hero's burden is rarely understood by any other but the hero. As such, it is important that Thomas have a place to get away from the others and process what is happening around him.

Finally, Chapter 30 introduces a growing relationship between Chuck and Thomas, as well as a maturation in Thomas's character. Chuck confides in Thomas, revealing how he cried every night and his dream to someday be reunited with his family. Thomas assumes the role of caretaker for Chuck, like an older brother or even a father figure. He is consumed with rage that Chuck has been deprived of a normal life, much as a parent would be if his or her child were deprived of something necessary. This drives Thomas to promise he will get Chuck out of the Glade and back to his family. As the second half of the book progresses, consider how Thomas and Teresa emerge as parent figures to Chuck. Also consider how Chuck has triggered a new motivation in Thomas. Chuck's role in this manner will not be limited to this moment.