Manipulation might as well have been the alternative title for The Maze Runner. Everything that happens to these poor kids is a direct result of someone at one end pushing a button and then sitting back to see how they will all react. Each variable in the experiment, whether it is killing someone in a gruesome manner or simply moving the maze walls, is done to provoke responses for their research. Throughout the book our characters are manipulated by an amoral entity, leading us to wonder whether it will all be worth it in the end.
Questions About Manipulation
Would this story be as interesting if everything wasn't an experiment? Would it be just as sinister without the manipulation factor?
Do the dire circumstances justify what the WICKED scientists are doing? Can we know the answer at this point in the series?
Is it worse for Thomas when he finally realizes that they are being manipulated? Or is what they are going through horrible no matter what?
Chew on This
Once the Gladers learn that everything they are going through is an experiment with variables that are controlled by the Creators, it takes the mystery out of their predicament and makes it easier for them to handle. Screw your experiment, scientists, we're on to you.
Even when they realize that they are being manipulated, the kids are screwed anyway. Just because they know why they're getting picked off like skeet at a shooting range doesn't change the fact that they are being systematically slaughtered.