Study Guide

The Maze Runner Fear

By James Dashner

Fear

Chapter 2
Alby

"If you ain't scared," Alby said, "you ain't human. Act any different and I'd throw you off the Cliff because it'd mean you're a psycho." (2.26)

It's a pretty good point, Alby. If Thomas had shown up and been all gung-ho about the Maze, it might have indicated something seriously off with the guy. But come on, Alby—would it really be worth throwing him off the cliff? We vote that Alby might be laying it on a bit too thick.

Different emotions battled for dominance in his mind and heart. Confusion. Curiosity. Panic. Fear. But laced through it all was the dark feeling of utter hopelessness, like the world had ended for him, had been wiped from his memory and replaced with something awful. (2.11)

If emotions could literally battle in a gladiator arena, who would win? Our bet's on Panic, because adrenaline ain't no joke.

Chapter 11

Thomas wanted to look away, get out of there. But he couldn't move; he was too mesmerized, too scared. (11.19)

Like a deer in headlights… not a great survival technique.

Chapter 14

With one last violent effort, Ben was finally able to twist his neck in the circle of leather so that his whole body turned to face the Gladers. Thomas couldn't believe he was still looking upon a human being—the madness in Ben's eyes, the phlegm flying from his mouth, the pale skin stretched taut across his veins and bones. He looked as alien as anything Thomas could imagine. […] Ben screamed then, without pause, a sound so piercing that Thomas covered his ears. It was a bestial, lunatic cry, surely ripping the boy's vocal cords to shreds. (14.21, 23)

This is the best physical description of pure terror, and we're pretty sure this is how people look when watching Paranormal Activity… or while waiting to get their final grades back.

Chapter 15

"Only seen three Banishments, Tommy. All as nasty as the one you peeped on last night. But every buggin' time, the Grievers leave the collar on our doorstep. Gives me the willies like nothin' else." (15.27)

Sometimes subtlety can be more frightening than anything else. "Here, have your collar back, boys, we don't need it… just come out and play…" (Grievers wringing their hands together and twisting their handlebar moustaches while softly cackling.)

Chapter 16

For several seconds, Thomas felt like the world had frozen in place. A thick silence followed the thunderous rumble of the Door closing, and a veil of darkness seemed to cover the sky, as if even the sun had been frightened away by what lurked in the Maze.[…]Thomas leaned back against the rough rock, overcome by disbelief at what he had just done. Filled with terror at what the consequences might be. (16.1)

This is one of the scenarios where Thomas acts despite the fear that should've prevented him from doing so. Smart? Maybe not—but it sure does make for a good story.

Chapter 19

But nothing sent chills up and down Thomas's spine like the haunted, deathly moans that somehow escaped the creature when it sat still, like the sound of dying men on a battlefield. Seeing it all now—the beast matched with the sounds—Thomas couldn't think of any nightmare that could equal this hideous thing coming toward him. He fought the fear, forced his body to remain perfectly still, hanging there in the vines. (19.5, 6)

This is a similar strategy to being afraid of something in the dark while you're lying in bed: don't move, and make sure all of your limbs are under the blankets. Blankets are like kryptonite for monsters. If only Thomas had had a blanket…

Chapter 52

He knew it was dangerous, but the idea of actually fighting the Grievers—not just running from them—was terrifying. […] It especially terrified him to think about Chuck and Teresa out there—he'd faced the Grievers down already and knew all too well what it was like. He wanted to be able to protect his friends from the horrible experience, but he knew he couldn't. (52.38, 42)

Sometimes it's harder to be scared for other people than when you're just scared for yourself. At least you can control your own actions. The lack of control can be the scariest part.

Chapter 54
Chuck

"You know, I'm really not all that scared. I mean, last few nights, sitting in the Homestead, just waiting for a Griever to come in and steal one of us was the worst thing I've ever done. At least now we're taking it to them, trying something." (54.4)

Chuck has a good point for once: taking action is a great way to defeat fear. The worst part can often be the time when you're sitting there just dreading whatever it is that you're afraid of.

The icy fear and panic Thomas had experienced so often the last few days swept over him once again in full force. This was it. They were going. Trying not to think about it, to just act, he grabbed his backpack. (54.15)

You go, Thomas. Get down with your bad self.