Quote 1

Don’t you worry, I’ll take care of you. I’ve been here a whole month, and I know the place inside and out. You can count on Chuck, okay?

This quote appears in Chapter 3 as Chuck introduces himself to Thomas when the boys first meet in the Glade. Chuck’s words serve a few different purposes. The awkward boy has only been in this new world a short time. He was the last new arrival before Thomas, so Chuck is no longer the newbie. His place in the hierarchy has risen slightly, though as one of the newer and youngest residents, Chuck’s own feelings of fear and confusion upon arrival in the Glade are likely still fresh. He demonstrates kindness by trying to help Thomas feel at ease while also grasping the importance of friendship.

As a relative newcomer, Chuck does not actually know the Glade inside and out. Even the leaders are still confused and are trying to learn about their surroundings. As Chuck speaks these words, though, his own confidence grows. He desperately needs a friend, and so does Thomas, who doesn’t yet understand where he is or why his memory is gone. Throughout the novel, the two boys become found family, and they learn to count on each other. The quote also foreshadows the horrific moment at the end of the novel when Chuck throws himself in front of Thomas to protect him from Gally’s attack.

Quote 2

Freak, that’s the Number One Rule, the only one you’ll never be forgiven for breaking. Ain’t nobody—nobody—allowed in the Maze except the Runners. Break that rule, and if you ain’t killed by the Grievers, we’ll kill you ourselves, you get me?

This quote appears in Chapter 7, and Alby delivers this strong warning as he gives Thomas, the Greenie, a tour of the Glade. Alby speaks to the Gladers’ need for order as a necessary means of survival. He also reinforces for Thomas the inherent danger of the Maze, which is unsafe for the experienced Runners, let alone the other Gladers. Thomas assumes Alby is exaggerating, playing into the other Gladers’ social game of scaring and teasing the newcomer. Alby has previously threatened to throw Thomas off of the Cliff, but then quickly retracted his statement with the sound advice to just try to stay alive. But Alby serves as the leader, and his demanding demeanor supports that position. The rules of the Glade must be followed without exception to keep the society from falling into chaos. In spite of Alby’s warning, Thomas is still driven to be a Runner, and he will eventually break this rule to save Alby’s life.

Quote 3

Are they changed because they want to go back to their old life, or is it because they’re so depressed at realizing their old life was no better than what we have now?

In Chapter 23, Thomas presents this question to Newt and Chuck. After Alby is stung by a Griever and receives the Grief Serum, Thomas tries to figure out what the Changing is, as well as its purpose. Newt is worried about Alby, upset that his friend and leader is enduring great pain, and he is agitated by Thomas’s previous questions. Though he is second in command, Newt indulges a startling outburst of aggravation, admitting that none of them understand much about the Changing process. But this particular question causes Newt to pause and reflect on whether or not the Changing gives the Gladers pleasant memories of the life that was stolen from them.   

As the newcomer, Thomas questions everything about the Glade and tends to see things from an outsider’s point of view. Newt, who has been in the Glade for quite some time, doesn’t have this ability. He has trapped himself by holding on to the idealized version of a home none of them can remember. He becomes distant after he realizes that Thomas’s question suggests that life in the Glade may be better than life outside.

Quote 4

Think about what we were all like in the beginning. Huddling in corners, disoriented, crying every hour, not trusting anybody, refusing to do anything. We were all like that, for weeks or months, till we had no choice but to shuck it and live.

This quote appears in Chapter 25, when Minho speaks to the Gathering to make his case that Thomas should be named Keeper of the Runners. Though the Gladers have no memory of their lives before, Minho asks them to remember how they felt when they arrived at the Glade.

Minho’s words here are important for three reasons. First, they illustrate that Thomas has always been different than the others. Though Thomas was confused and frightened, he didn’t take weeks to become acclimated to the Glade. He had plenty of questions, but he settled in and felt the call to become a Runner. Second, when Alby and Minho were in mortal danger, Thomas rushed out of the Glade to help. He didn’t let fear or rules stop him. He took action. Even when Minho runs off, Thomas won’t give up on Alby. He feels a fierce determination to save the other boys. Finally, the quote emphasizes the choice to “shuck it and live.” Perseverance as the key to survival is a major theme in the novel. Even when all hope seems lost, Thomas, Teresa, Newt, and Minho in particular refuse to quit. When one’s hope or persistence lags, the others are there to urge them on.

Quote 5

They’re weeding us out, seeing if we’ll give up, finding the best of us. Throwing variables at us, trying to make us quit. Testing our ability to hope and fight.

Thomas speaks these words to Newt in Chapter 48 after he awakens from the Changing and sends a relieved Chuck to fetch their leaders and has a psychic consultation with Teresa. Thomas now knows his own involvement in the creation of the Maze as well as its true purpose. Though some of the Gladers suspected that they were part of an experiment, as they gained memories from the Changing, Thomas confirms they’ve been part of a test and that they’re meant to escape. But his revelation is a sinister one. The Creators have toyed with their lives, and even the smartest and most resilient of them are dispensable. They view the Gladers as test subjects rather than as children or even as people. The Creators understand that hope and perseverance are the Gladers’ greatest weapons, and they mean to strip the children of everything they have until they are either successful, broken, or dead.