Barb’s Answers for Read Along #1

Chapters 1-9

Nicole asked, “Within the second paragraph, Alby is explaining the purpose of the Box – when it comes and what it contains. Alby ends his dialogue with, “…pretty much run ourselves in the Glade.” It’s been mentioned a few times that these kids are around 12, how do these children know how to fend for themselves? They seem awfully grown up and very critical thinkers. Do you think that these children are really around the age of 12? Were their minds “wiped” to bring them down to a younger, child like age? Did they revert to a younger mentality because of the lack of memories and knowledge?”
I agree that they all seem older than 12 years though I think the age range is from 12 to 15.  The boys who have been there for 2 years probably range up to 16.  Our developed culture has allowed children to not accept adult responsibilities until later than other cultures.  In Africa 12 year old boys fight in wars; Native American boys were initiated into manhood at age 12.  I think the boys in the Glade seem older than 12 because they’ve been forced to mature more quickly than our typical American boy.

Sam asked, “There is a lot of ‘Glader’ language. Language is part of what makes a culture. How have the Gladers created their own culture? What other elements of culture do the Gladers have that are different from modern culture? (The others are social organization, customs/traditions, arts/literature, religion, government structure, and economic system.)”
I see elements of medieval culture in the economic structure.  The Keepers have acquired skills which they pass on much like the guilds in medieval cites with masters, journeymen and apprentices.  The government structure however is not medieval since Alby seems to be the leader by consent of the boys not because of Divine Province.  He does not have ultimate power since he seeks input from his council of Keepers.

Katherine asked, “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 am interested in Thomas but I don’t care for him.  He has a strong sense of destiny and good instincts.  I’m sure he has more chance of surviving in the Glade than most boys so I’m not concerned for his welfare.  He hasn’t done anything yet which I admire enough to care for him.

Sultana asked, “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 is the classic question of nature vs. nurture.  I think that question may be the crux of why they are in the Glade.  Obviously the Creators must have some reason for creating this microcosm and removing the boys’ memories before placing them there.  I think Thomas’s thought that they may be in prison for crimes committed in a previous life makes a lot of sense.  What better way to evaluate the effectiveness of rehabilitating offenders than placing them in new environment to see if they still exhibit the same behavior.
Chapters 20-29
Ashlee asked, “Chuck made a comment to Thomas that he needs to quit acting weird so the others will stop taking notice of him. Do you think Thomas has a big target on his back in a good way or a bad way? The Keepers seemed to be split about if he’s there to help them or to destroy them, but what do you think the other boys in the Glade are wanting to do with this new kid who’s breaking the rules and showing everyone up?”
Every savior or leader is “the new kid” at some point in their career.  Kennedy was the answer to the turmoil of the 1960’s and became the “new kid” for everyone outside of Massachusetts.  Jesus was the “new kid” for everyone outside of Nazarene.  I think being the “new kid” makes it easier for Thomas to gain their confidence because knowing the little details of a person makes it more difficult to put them on a pedestal and believe that they can solve all the problems. By breaking the rules and showing everyone up, Thomas is setting himself apart so the other boys do recognize him as something unique and consider the possibility that he’s their savior.
Claudia asked, “If you were in the Glade, what Keeper would you most like to train under, or what job assignment would you choose? ”
If I were in the Glade I would like to train with the “Track-hoes”.  Even though the slaughter house is part of this group, I think most of these tasks are close to the normal world and would make me feel like I was back home.  Being on the medical staff as an adolescent doesn’t seem normal, nor does running around a maze.  Some of the other options listed on page 47 (Slopper, Bricknick or  Bagger) are not clearly explained so I’m not sure what they do.  If there was an option to build things I would like that too.  I think there would be a huge sense of satisfaction to take what’s available and create the comforts of home.  When people camp you see this drive to re-create home like comforts.  Why else would someone transport a 30 foot trailer with all the comforts of home into the wilderness when they could just stay home.

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