Study Guide

The Kill Order Memory and the Past

By James Dashner

Memory and the Past

He couldn't stroll through the crowded alleys and paths of their settlement without it reminding him of the good days of living in the big city, when life had been rich and full of promise, everything in the world within easy reach, ready for the taking. (1.12)

Sometimes we need to look back at how lucky we are in today's society. Mark realizes this a little too late, as the "rich and full of promise" lifestyle he once had is now a part of the distant past.

The memories. They never let him go, not even for a half hour. They always had to rush back in, bringing all the horror. (2.8)

For Mark, his memories bring back all of the terror he saw after the sun-flares.

I could be perfectly happy in this place if we could just forget. (2.10)

Hmm, this is interesting to think about with the first three books of the Maze Runner trilogy in mind. Remember, Thomas has his memory wiped and he doesn't want it back. But there's also something inside of him that does want it back. Is it better to forget?

The vision was gone, but the memory of the tunnel still darkened his mind like some kind of seeping sludge. (9.2)

Even though dreams eventually disappear, the memories of the dreams never do. Mark isn't just haunted at night; he's constantly haunted.

The darker part of him almost wanted to forget her because it hurt so deeply. (15.25)

Mark ponders forgetting his beloved little sister because he doesn't want to think of her dying from the sun-flares. Now that's pretty tough stuff right there.

"I mean, easier said than done. I guess I just wish you could let go of the past. That's all." (21.16)

Good one Trina. Way to make Mark feel better.

The memories began to flood in… but he pushed them away. He had a feeling that the next day or two might do enough to provide him with fresh ones anyway. (31.4)

The thing about memories and the past is that you're constantly making new memories, so Mark can actually put his past away for a second because he knows he's about to get traumatized all over again. Isn't that nice? (No. No it's not.)

Though he'd never know for sure what had happened to them, his mind was super talented at imagining the absolute worst. (31.15)

Oh, this is something we all know too well. The mind is a powerful thing, and sometimes it imagines things we really don't want to see.

Mark followed him, determined to stop dwelling on the past. He had to focus on the future or he'd never reach it. (36.22)

Or maybe Mark should be focusing on the present. Either way, the past is something that we can't alter, and unfortunately for Mark, his past is something he'd really like to change.

Of all the memories that came back to haunt his dreams, that one was the most frequent… Sleep pulled him back down into its embrace, with no intention of comforting his troubled mind. (47.2)

The worst memory—the one that haunts Mark the most, and often the one that'll make him wake up sweating—is when the little boy, Baxter, gets shot inside of the Lincoln Building. Oftentimes there's one crucial event that causes the trauma, and for Mark, it's Baxter's death.