Study Guide

The Maze Runner Sacrifice

By James Dashner


Chapter 16

Thomas knew he had no choice. He moved. Forward. He squeezed past the connecting rods at the last second and stepped into the Maze. The walls slammed shut behind him, the echo of its boom bouncing off the ivy-covered stone like mad laughter. (16.77)

Did he have a choice though? Of course he did. He could've left Alby and Minho out in the Maze to die, but he didn't. Boom.

Chapter 18

He snatched a vine with both hands and started to climb, directly over the spot where he'd just tied up Alby. The thick leaves of the ivy served well as handholds, and Thomas was elated to find that the many cracks in the stone wall were perfect supports for his feet as he climbed. He began to think how easy it would be without… He refused to finish the thought. He couldn't leave Alby behind. (18.29)

Thomas is sacrificing a clean get-away by saving Alby's life, possibly at the expense of his own. Perhaps it is his innate sense of right and wrong, or perhaps he's gotten attached to the grumpy bugger.

Chapter 39

"You shut your shuck-face, Thomas. You shut up! I know who you are, but I don't care anymore. I can only do what's right." […] Gally gave Thomas a long, haunted look, his eyes full of terror; then he turned and dove into the writhing body of the Griever. (39.14, 20)

So, killing yourself is "doing what's right" here? Is self-sacrifice always the right thing to do? The benefit is that he takes one for the team by filling the "one kid abducted and killed per night" quota.

Chapter 45

They needed more clues about the code. They needed memories. So he was going to get stung by a Griever. Go through the Changing. On purpose. (45.51)

We're beginning to get the sense that Thomas has some kind of martyr-complex. Maybe he could've just gotten together all the kids who'd already gone through the Changing and interrogated them, then pieced it together using those memories.

Chapter 46

An explosion of fear ripped through Thomas. It was now or never. […] Without hesitating, knowing the others would think he was trying to commit suicide, Thomas sprinted in their direction until he found himself in the middle of the pack of creatures. […] "Don't worry," he whispered, hoping they could hear him. "I did it on purpose… " (46.16, 21, 35)

What a shuck-face. Once again, Thomas is sacrificing his bodily well-being for the greater good.

Chapter 51

"It doesn't do the Creators any good if we all die—this thing is meant to be hard, not impossible. I think we finally know for sure that the Grievers are programmed to only kill one of us each day. So somebody can sacrifice himself to save the others while we run to the Hole. I think this might be how it's supposed to happen." (51.37)

Oh, okay then, no problem. Wanna draw straws? There are so many flaws to this logic, but it's astounding what people will believe out of desperation.

Chapter 55

Thomas was in no mood for whining—they had to do something. "Well, we'd be no better off in the Homestead. Hate to say it, but if one of us dies, that's better than all of us." […] "Maybe I should…" […] Alby took off running—he headed straight for the pack of Grievers between him and the Cliff. […] Alby had already made it to the monsters and jumped on top of one. Newt moved away from Thomas's side and toward Alby—but five or six Grievers had already burst to life and attacked the boy in a blur of metal and skin. (55.33-6)

Poor, cranky Alby. At least his sacrifice was worth it, though—by distracting the Grievers the kids were able to escape the Glade. However, the question that keeps coming up with these sacrifices is: was there another way this could have been accomplished?


Minho continued. "Alby didn't wanna go back to his old life. He freaking sacrificed himself for us—and they aren't attacking, so maybe it worked. We'd be heartless if we wasted it." (55.51)

Good point, Minho—you're always thinking. Is a sacrifice truly sacrifice if nothing good comes out of it? If nothing does, then isn't it just a tragedy?

Chapter 59

With unexpected speed, he reared back and threw the knife at Thomas. As he did so, Thomas heard a shout to his right, sensed movement. Toward him. […] Then, inexplicably, Chuck was there, diving in front of him. Thomas felt as if his feet had been frozen in block of ice; he could only stare at the scene of horror unfolding before him, completely helpless. (59.36, 38)

The last thing Thomas expected was someone making the choice to die for him, and the fact that it was innocent little Chuck makes it even harder to swallow. Do you think this was a deliberate decision for the author to use Chuck?

He died saving you, Teresa said. He made the choice himself. Just don't ever waste it. (62.22)

Isn't that the whole point of sacrifice? To achieve something that otherwise couldn't be done? It always involves a matter of choice, and choosing the difficult path.