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Rules and Order
As he explored the area, he realized more and more how well the Gladers kept up the place, how clean it was. He was impressed by how organized they must be, how hard they all must work. He could only imagine how truly horrific a place like this could be if everyone went lazy and stupid. (9.66)
It's even more impressive when you consider that it's being run by teenage boys. What would've happened if the Creators had provided an Xbox??
"He's not one of us!" Ben shouted. "I saw him—he's… he's bad. We have to kill him! Let me gut him!" […] Alby hadn't moved his weapon an inch, still aiming for Ben. "You leave that to me and the Keepers to figure out, shuck-face." (11.9, 11)
As the great Tommy Lee Jones says in Men in Black: "A person is smart. People are dumb, panicky, dangerous animals…" The thought behind having a panel of kids to make decisions is in direct contradiction to that theory. Who is right??
But from what he could tell, naps were frowned upon in the giant working farm of the Glade. […] "That's one of the reasons we run this place all nice and busylike. You get lazy, you get sad. Start givin' up. Plain and simple." (11.47, 53)
Ever have one of those Saturdays where all you do is watch TV and play on the internet? And although you're psyched to be doing absolutely nothing for once, at the end of the day you're kinda bummed out? Yeah, that happens to everyone.
"Leader?" Minho barked a grunt that was probably supposed to be a laugh. "Yeah, call him leader all you want. Maybe we should call him El Presidente. Nah, nah—Admiral Alby. There you go." (12.17)
Minho mocks Alby for being a leader, but everyone defers to his decisions nonetheless. Would you say he was the Leader? Which type of leadership is more effective, de facto or de jure? (Not up to date on your Latin legal terms? Neither are most people, but it makes you feel really smart. Go ahead and Google it, we'll wait.)
"You better stop this nonsense, before others hear about it. That's not how it works around here, and our whole existence depends on things working." […] "Order," Newt continued, "Order. You say that bloody word over and over in your shuck head. Reason we're all sane around here is 'cause we work our butts off and maintain order. Order's the reason we put Ben out – can't very well have loonies runnin' around tryin' to kill people, now can we? Order. Last thing we need is you screwin' that up." (15.65)
They banished Ben to preserve their precious order, but was there an alternative that would've worked just as well? And Thomas throws off all of their order pretty quickly—why don't they banish him?
"Bloody he-" Newt started before stopping himself; he closed his eyes for a second and took a deep breath. "We can't. Okay? Don't say it again. One hundred percent against the rules. Especially with the buggin' Doors about to close." (16.46)
No room for grey areas in the Glade, Tommy-boy. Or is there? Whenever he gets away with something, he has exploited the minuscule ambiguity buried beneath the hard and fast rules. How does he do that?
"Well, you got the Builders, the Sloppers, Baggers, Cooks, Map-makers, Med-jacks, Track-Hoes, Blood Housers. The Runners, of course. I don't know, a few more, maybe." […]
"What's a Slopper?" He knew that was what Chuck did, but the boy never wanted to talk about it. […]
"That's what the shanks do that can't do nothin' else. Clean toilets, clean the showers, clean the kitchen, clean up the Blood House after a slaughter, everything." (16.6,8)
That's the problem with structure: there's always gotta be someone on the bottom.
"Well," Zart began, his eyes darting around almost like he was waiting for someone else to tell him what to say. "I don't know. He broke one of our most important rules. We can't just let people think that's okay." (24.14)
There can't be rules without consequences for breaking them… which is exactly how "grounding" came into being.
"That shank threatened to kill you and we have to make bloody sure it never happens again. That shuck-face is gonna pay a heavy price for acting like that—he's lucky we don't Banish him. Remember what I told you about order." (28.14)
Yeah, yeah, we remember. Gotta keep the order. Gee, obsess much, Newt?
"Like I said, they wanted to test us, see how we'd react to what they call the Variables, and to a problem that has no solution. See if we could work together—build a community, even. Everything was provided for us, and the problem was laid out as one of the most common puzzles known to civilization—a maze." (49.19)
Building a community ranks up there with fighting off killer mucus machines—they're both pretty difficult. Could they have been just as effective at surviving without having established their law and order?
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