The Death Cure

The Death Cure Literary Elements


Young Adult Fiction / Science Fiction; Dystopian

Setting and Context

In the future, in North America. Sun flares and a deadly disease also called "the Flare" have ravaged the earth.

Narrator and Point of View

Third-person omniscient narrator. Close third-person point of view, meaning that the narration focuses on Thomas's thoughts and views of the world. The narrator often reveals Thomas's thoughts to the reader.

Tone and Mood

The prose focuses on fast, punctuated action, often reflecting this in short, simple sentences. This holds true even when the novel is focusing on the thoughts and reflective aspects of people.

Protagonist and Antagonist

Thomas is the protagonist; the Rat Man and his organization WICKED are the main antagonists, along with infected cannibalistic Cranks and bounty hunters.

Major Conflict

Thomas, with a group of Gladers, go through the final Trials and are given the option to get their memories back. Newt, Thomas, and Minho do not want to do this, but they are forced to do so later on. Avoiding the procedure, they decided to escape the facility. They go to Denver and meet the Right arm, but cranks soon destroy Denver. Ultimately, the Gladers and the Right Arm group decide to ambush WICKED headquarters and take revenge.


When Thomas goes back to the headquarters to plant the device that the Right Arm will use to disable all WICKED's weapons, he learns that Janson wants his brain for the final blueprints . Thomas thinks that the Right Arm will come and save him in time, but the doctors sedate him instead. Luckily, Chancellor Paige is able to save him. She gives him a map of the headquarters and a letter telling him to escape with the Immunes hidden in the maze to a place with a new life that the Chancellor had created. Thomas finally kills Janson just before he and Immunes go to their real safe haven.


When Brenda tells Thomas to only trust her and Chancellor Paige, this foreshadows the Chancellor saving Thomas and the Immunes from Janson.


When Thomas tells Minho that it might be a good thing that Newt is a Crank, Thomas understates the torture of having to live like an animal.




See Imagery section.
The area around WICKED's headquarters, with its natural scenes and animals living and making beautiful sounds. It represents life before the Flare came and destroyed the world and most of the human race. The safe haven is another representation of beauty in the novel.
Often the gory details of violence on the human bodies are also described vividly.


It is somewhat paradoxical that Thomas is ultimately able to assert himself and counteract WICKED when it has seemed throughout the series that WICKED has dictated his every decision.



Metonymy and Synecdoche