The Scorch Trials

The Scorch Trials Literary Elements


Young Adult Fiction / Science Fiction or Dystopian

Setting and Context

In the future, in North America. The world has been ravaged with sun flares and a deadly disease also called "the Flare."

Narrator and Point of View

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

Tone and Mood

Action-driven and fast-paced. The language is simple and straightforward. It is an adventure story that moves very quickly. Even reflection-based thoughts are often told in short and impactful sentences.

Protagonist and Antagonist

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

Major Conflict

The Gladers are running towards a Safe Haven the entire time. They finally reach the end of their path, and there they have to battle one last set of monsters before they can confront WICKED and tell them that they are done playing WICKED's games.


Thomas is finally led to believe that Teresa (and Aris) betrayed him. Thomas almost dies in a gas chamber cave, before he realizes that it was all one of WICKED's tests.


Brenda calls Thomas the 'real leader', which foreshadows how he later finds this same message all around the Scorch city, and which also foreshadows his real eventual role.






See Imagery section.
The scarred, burned landscape of the Scorch is described in detail.
Oftentimes, the gory details of violence on the human bodies are also described vividly.


The name of the organization that set itself a goal to find a cure to the Flare virus is a paradox: WICKED's goals seem good, yet their name suggests that they are evil.


This phase of the Trials, called the Scorch Trials because they take place in the Scorch, often have faint parallels with the Maze trials (that was Phase One, and the Scorch is Phase Two). For example, a lot of running and survival skills are involved. However, there are no clear parallels between the two. In the Maze there were a lot of rules and regulations, whereas there are supposedly no rules in the Scorch.

Metonymy and Synecdoche