Study Guide

The Maze Runner Freedom and Confinement

By James Dashner

Freedom and Confinement

Chapter 2

Thomas looked back at his captors, feeling awkward but desperate to ask questions. Captors, he thought. Then, Why did that word pop into my head? (2.18)

Because when you assume you make an ass out of u and me.

For some reason the clothing here surprised Thomas; it seemed like everyone should be wearing something more menacing—like prison garb. (2.20)

It does seem strange that they weren't provided some kind of uniform. It would've been an interesting variable to add to the mix. Are they still wearing the clothes they came to the Glade in? If so… yuck.

Chapter 4

Thomas looked around one more time, the feel of the place completely different now that all the walls were solid with no way out. He tried to imagine the purpose of such a thing, and he didn't know which guess was worse—that they were being sealed in or that they were being protected from something out there. (4.57)

Option three: being sealed in with the somethings from out there. Bam.

They'd wiped his memory and put him inside a gigantic maze. It was all so crazy it really did seem funny. (4.39)

No, it'd only be funny if they solved the maze and found a huge block of cheese. But really, have you ever been in a maze? It can feel like the whole world has been squashed down into the few yards of space surrounding you, and then you turn a corner and the world has gotten even smaller.

It felt as if the whole earth shook; he looked around, panicked. The walls were closing. The walls were really closing—trapping him inside the Glade. An onrushing sense of claustrophobia stifled him, compressed his lungs, as if water filled their cavities. (4.48)

Confinement in and of itself can be horrifying. That's why there are so many claustrophobic people in the world.

Thomas

"How could these walls move? They're huge, and they look like they've been standing here for a thousand years." And the idea of those walls closing and trapping him inside this place they called the Glade was downright terrifying. (4.32)

It kind of goes without saying that being enclosed in a space against your will would be terrifying, no matter who or where you are. Through a heaping pile of the unknown into the mix, though, (moving walls?) and this is just the worst.

Chapter 9

What if all of them were sentenced to live here until they died? Sentenced. The word made him feel a rush of panic, and the spark of hope the meal had brought him fizzled with a silent hiss. (9.52)

Yeah, being sentenced is never a good thing. No one ever gets sentenced to eat ice cream and watch Buffy re-runs, or sentenced to take cozy naps with a cup of cocoa and their favorite books either.

Chuck

"Think about it. Our memories are wiped. We live inside a place that seems to have no way out, surrounded by bloodthirsty monster-guards. Doesn't that sound like a prison to you?" As he said it out loud, it sounded more and more possible. Nausea trickled into his chest.

"I'm probably twelve years old, dude." Chuck pointed to his chest. "At the most, thirteen. You really think I did something that would send me to prison for the rest of my life?"

"I don't care what you did or didn't do. Either way, you have been sent to a prison. Does this seem like a vacation to you?" (9.56)

Well, if you asked a bunch of prison inmates why they are there we're pretty sure they'd protest their innocence too, but you get the point. They're being confined against their will, and it's no good.

Chapter 30
Chuck

"Then I just got used to it, I guess. This became home, even though we spend every day hoping to get out." (30.17)

Just like in Shawshank Redemption—the guys who'd been in prison forever and then got released didn't know how to cope with the outside world. Eventually, you just get complacent and accept your confinement regardless of its justification.

Chapter 32
Minho

"Life in the Glade might not be sweet livin', but at least it's safe. Plenty of food, protection from the Grievers…" (32.61)

There's a certain amount of security that comes from routine. Although life in captivity isn't optimal, it can have its benefits. They aren't dealing with the Flare, after all.