Study Guide

The Scorch Trials Time

By James Dashner

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Chapter 1

He had no concept of time passing while in that state. Half asleep, half enjoying her presence and the thought that they'd been rescued from that horrible place. (1.29)

This is when everything seems like it's going to be okay. Thomas is just enjoying his momentarily solitude with Teresa in the dormitories. Time seems to fly when you're having fun. These moments set up a vivid contrast to what happens in the rest of the book, when there is never enough time, and life itself is at stake.

Chapter 3

"Let's just think for a second."

"Time for thinking's done." (3.35)

The problem with the Gladers' situation is that they're constantly crunched for time. Thinking for just a second could probably be the best idea any of them have had, but as Minho says, there's really no time for thinking when everything around you is going nutso bananas.

Chapter 9

He'd quit bothering to look at his watch—it only made time drag and reminded his body how long it'd been since he'd eaten. (9.33)

WICKED equips all of the Gladers with watches while they're in the dormitories; this might seem like an advantage since they'll know what time it is, but it's really a disadvantage: having a watch makes time drag.

Hunger... He felt it every second of every minute of every hour. (9.28)

In other words: pain. When you're feeling extreme pain (like hunger pains), time seems to go so slowly that every second feels like a thousand needles being stabbed into your liver. So we're told, anyway.

Chapter 16

Thomas knew he had to do something. Time had run out. (16.6)

When time runs out, there's only one option: do something. Are the Gladers' actions better when they act on impulse, or are they better when the Gladers think things through?

Chapter 49

He desperately wanted to be with his friends and Brenda again. But he knew time was running out, and he had no food or water to make it on his own. (49.2)

Time not only makes the Gladers move more quickly and with less caution, but it also separates them. If they had more time to reach the safe haven, Thomas could have regrouped with his comrades; the less time, the more stress placed on the individual.

Chapter 52

He lost all concept of time as he lay there. It was as if whoever was behind it all wanted to give him a chance to reflect on what had happened while he waited for the end. (52.3)

Now that's what we call torture. Sometimes having too much time to reflect is definitely not a good thing.

An hour passed. Maybe two or three. Maybe only thirty minutes. He had no idea. (52.4)

Ever had one of those moments where you're at an utter loss for time? Well that's how Thomas feels, except he's caught in a situation in which he's about to be killed. What he needs to here, it seems, is act rather than reflect. But how is he supposed to act if he doesn't even understand his situation?

Chapter 61

"You have five seconds to choose the one who stays. Don't choose and they both die. One." (61.28)

A classic method: the man from WICKED in this quote starts the count up to five so that Thomas has to make a quick decision. Often, this technique causes people to fold because of the extreme pressure.

Thomas knew they couldn't waste any more time. No questions, no fear, no bickering. Only action. (61.1)

Carpe diem. Seize the day. Time is money. Wasting time. All of these phrases are just ways of telling us that when we think about how time is passing, we're inhibiting ourselves from acting. Sometimes, of course, this is necessary. But what if you think too much and never end up acting?

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