Study Guide

The Maze Runner Identity

By James Dashner

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Chapter 2

At that moment, Thomas realized with a sickening lurch that he had no idea how old he was. His heart sank at the thought—he was so lost he didn't even know his own age. (2.24)

Maybe he should lay off the peppermint schnapps…

Chapter 3

"Chuck, how… old do you think I am?"
The boy scanned him up and down. "I'd say you're sixteen. And in case you were wondering, five foot nine… brown hair. Oh, and ugly as fried liver on a stick." […]
Sixteen? He was sixteen? He felt much older than that. (3.23)

We all feel older than we are… until you hit about 50. That's when you start to say "Yeah, I'm 65 but I feel like I'm 20 again." Side note: has anyone ever seen fried liver on a stick? We're wondering exactly where Chuck got this analogy from.

Chapter 18

Thomas rocked back and forth, wiping away the sweat. And at that moment, in the space of only a few seconds, he learned a lot about himself. About the Thomas that was before. He couldn't leave a friend to die. Even someone as cranky as Alby. (18.8)

Yes, Thomas, crankiness should not be a death sentence. For anyone. You get a gold star… we guess.

Chapter 26

Thomas quickly gathered his thoughts, grasping for the right words inside the swirling cloud of frustration, confusion and anger in his mind. "I don't know why Gally hates me. I don't care. He seems psychotic to me. As for who I really am, you all know just as much as I do." (26.18)

It must really stink not knowing who you are. If Thomas knew, he could just write Gally off as one of the haters (haters gonna hate, after all), but because he has no idea he can't even say Gally is wrong. It's really hard to be self-assured when you don't have a great sense of self.

Chapter 27

"I know who you are," Alby repeated slowly. "Seen it. Seen everything. Where we came from, who you are. Who the girl is. I remember the Flare." 

The Flare? Thomas forced himself to talk. "I don't know what you're talking about. What did you see? I'd love to know who I am." (27.32)

"Because then I could tell you all to lay off me, already. Geez."

Chapter 28

Thomas was overwhelmed by a surge of anger. "Fine, so how do we do it? I want to know who I am just as much as anyone else. Obviously. […] Thomas paused, upset and suddenly embarrassed. What did it all mean? Was he different from everyone else somehow? Was something wrong with him? (28.28, 34)

What if his fears were true? Haven't we all felt this way at one time or another? Especially during adolescence, it's incredibly common to feel like there's something wrong with us, like we will never truly fit in. It kind of blows our minds to think that if we could all admit to this feeling at the same time, then we'd all be fitting in together.

Who was she? The irony of the question struck him—he didn't even know who he was. (28.69)

Yeah dude, figure out your own issues first before laying into someone else. Don't throw stones in glass houses, or something.

Chapter 29

As he ran toward the Glade, he learned a lot about himself. Without meaning to or realizing it, he'd pictured in his mind his exact route through the Maze as he escaped the voice. Not once did he falter on his return, turning left and right and running down long corridors in reverse of the way he had come. […] Soon, Thomas would be the best Runner. The second thing he learned about himself, as if the night in the Maze hadn't proved it already, was that his body was in perfect shape. (29.6)

Well, at least we know Thomas doesn't suffer from a lack of self-esteem. Perfect shape… pfft. But we should all applaud him for the ability to be introspective.

Chapter 36

Alby stepped up. "I'm sick of this." He pointed at Thomas's chest, almost tapping it. "I wanna know who you are, who this shank girl is, and how you guys know each other." (36.61)

Alby, we are with you, man.

Chapter 38

Alby finally took a deep breath, then looked at each of them in turn. "You guys know I'm all screwed up. Seriously, I'm… sorry. I shouldn't be the stupid leader anymore." […] "Listen to me. I ain't saying we should switch or any of that klunk. I'm just saying… I think I need to let you guys make the decisions. I don't trust myself." (38.24)

When suffering from an identity crisis, it is beneficent to relinquish any leadership roles on the off chance that you might inadvertently cause someone else's death. (Rule #46 from the Dystopian Fantasy Leader rulebook)

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