It’s here! The first round of Read Along posts about The Maze Runner is upon us! If you haven’t read about this yet, you can check out my Read Along page and the hub page for Read Along #1. If you want to join in, you’re not that far behind. The way this works is that we will read the assigned chapters and then pose questions about what we read to the other participants. If you haven’t read the book, beware of spoilers!
- Question submitted by Katherine: Do you care about Thomas yet? Have you gotten a read on him? And is 66 pages too long or too short to really establish your character?
I really don’t care about him yet and I didn’t realize this until Katherine asked. I think he’s too confused to really project much of a personality. He seems lost but I don’t think he’ll have a ‘lost’ personality. I think it’s because of the confusing situation he’s in. In most books, I think the protagonist needs to be pretty well established in the first 50 or so pages, but this book seems to be an exception. Dashner wants us to be just as lost as Thomas is and experience this with him and from that perspective, he’s doing a great job.
- Question submitted by Ashlee: I’m really distracted by their unique language – shuck face, good that, shank. Is it driving you nuts too?
Yes! Very much so. I put something into my own questions that language is part of what defines a unique culture and I think Dashner was trying to establish that these boys are a shut-off and unique set of people. However, it’s at a point where as a reader, I’m too distracted by the words to enjoy the story 100% of the time. I understand his tool, but I think it’s too forced here.
- Question submitted by Lynn: Why do you think the boys are there? What are your guesses about what the place really is?
This guess is going to come from reading Allegiant so I’m sorry to Dashner for not giving him any points for originality. I think the boys are being tested in some way. I think the designers are trying to find a trait in them that can’t be tested in any other way. Maybe bravery, athleticism, intelligence, survival instinct, or something I’m not thinking of yet. I think the boys were selected based on some quality to be entered into this experiment. The Glade has an almost Hunger Games arena feel to me and the most intriguing thing is how far above the launch point it is. A half hour ride in the box? That’s crazy deep in the world.
- Question submitted by Barb: Is the amnesia which Thomas is experiencing the result of a “mind wipe” or is it an on-going effect of the Glade? Thomas has intermittent memory flashes in the first day he’s in Glade. He has general impressions of a past life but no concrete memories. I have experienced traumatic amnesia and there is no middle ground to remembering; it was a complete blank. The symptoms which Thomas experiences seem to be a temporary condition which allows him to begin assimilation into the Glade. As he falls asleep the first night he feels an unexpected calm which Chuck foreshadows in some of his statements about things getting easier.
I think the memory loss the boys experience is some sort of futuristic technology that allows a person to erase memories of a period of time. Maybe their memories are stored somewhere, either on a computer or in a part of their memory that can be accessed by a ‘trigger word’ or something. I made the note while reading that the memories they do have seem very emotionally detached. He remembers people walking in a city, but not being there or why he was there or who he was with. They’re very detached memories. I think that once the mystery of the book is solved, Thomas will somehow remember who he was before. It also seems that the girl has not lost her memory completely so we might get a lot of answers in our next set of chapters.
- Question submitted by Nicole: I remember an older movie called The Village. I can’t help but compare the two plots. What are some similarities and differences? In the movie, the main motive was to keep the people safe, so they scared them into thinking that they had no choice or options outside of the village. Do you think that this could be happening in the book as well? What is outside and why were they placed here with wiped memories?
It’s been a while since I saw The Village but I remember the premise. There was a monster that kept the people in their village, much like the Grievers keeping the Gladers in their walls. I don’t think I can think of any differences yet, having seen the end of the movie and being just into this book. In the film, there was a larger almost government-like force keeping them in the village and I suspect we have something similar in the Glade. In the film, there was someone on the inside who was helping to keep the order and I think some of my fellow readers think Alby is doing something similar. It will be interesting to see if these plots are parallel as we read on.
- Question submitted by MovieGeek: Do you think the narrator should have only focus on Thomas because I would have love to know what Chuck, Alby, Gally and Newt felt.
So far I’m a fan of the third person limited point of view. It’s a breath of fresh air from all the first person narrations I’ve read in YA books lately. After this question, I’m thinking about hearing from the other boys. I actually think I prefer following Thomas because I’m just as confused as he is. Maybe if he understood as well as the other boys I would want to hear from them all but right now I relate to Thomas because of this confusion so I like sticking to his head.
- Question submitted by Sultana: Environment plays a huge role in shaping a person. By removing the boys from their past environments (family, friends, society, etc.) and by removing their memories, does this fundamentally change the boys? If so, how? If not, do you think that the nature of who they are is innate and wins out over environmental factors? By having these boys “start fresh” in the Maze, is Dashner exploring how a person becomes who he/she is?
This reminds me of Thomas’s suspicion that they’re in a prison. If their memories are erased, are they still criminals? I read on a bit and he suspects the boy who slaughters the animals of being a serial killer. I think it changes them because they don’t have a frame of reference to judge decisions and people. The Glade is their new frame of reference. I believe that who we are is a mix of nature and nurture and I’ll go back to my Divergent-esque assumption that the ‘Big Brother’ in this book is searching for some type of innate trait that these boys might have.
Yay, that was fun! If you’re interested in joining us, it’s not too late! Send me an email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com and tell me you’re interested.
Until next time, write on.