Summary: Chapter 6

Newt wakes Thomas up before dawn and leads him to one of the walls, where Thomas sees small, pulsing red lights. Newt pulls some ivy away to reveal a window, through which Thomas sees that the red lights are coming from a creature that is a “horrifying mix of animal and machine.” The creature, which has long metal arms that end in saws and other terrible implements, lurches at the window as if it means to attack. Newt explains to Thomas that this is a “Griever,” and that Grievers come out at night and patrol the Maze, stinging anyone unlucky enough to be caught there. He also tells Thomas the Gladers are trying to solve the Maze and find a way out. Later, at breakfast, an unfriendly Alby arrives to take Thomas on his tour.

Summary: Chapter 7

Alby, who has been in the Glade the longest, shows Thomas the four areas of the Glade: the Gardens, where they grow food; the Blood House, where they raise and slaughter animals; the Homestead, where they live; and the Deadheads forest, which contains their graveyard. Throughout the tour, Thomas experiences moments of recognition and familiarity. Alby takes him to the Deadheads and shows him the South Door. Alby tells Thomas that the walls inside the Maze shift every night, which is why the Gladers haven’t been able to identify a way out (though many boys have died trying). The concrete room where the Runners met the night before is where they work on the Maps. Alby says that the beetle blades are how the Creators watch the boys but doesn’t explain who or what the Creators are. He warns Thomas that only the Maze Runners are allowed to enter the Maze; the penalty for anyone else who enters is death. 

The tour is interrupted by a loud alarm. Alby is confused and they leave the woods. Newt joins them and explains that the alarm means another Newbie is being sent up in the Box. It is the first time two kids have arrived in the same month. 

Summary: Chapter 8

When the Box finally reaches the surface, there appears to be a dead girl inside. Alby and Newt bring her up and confront Thomas, asking if he knows her, but Thomas denies it. The girl’s arrival is a strange and unexpected break in pattern; before this point, one boy has arrived every month on the same day, and supplies have come up once a week. Suddenly, the girl sits up and opens her eyes. She mumbles, then says clearly, “Everything is going to change.” Then she falls down, her fist pointing to the sky. She is holding a piece of paper that reads: “She’s the last one. Ever.” 

Summary: Chapter 9

Alby has the girl checked out by Med-jacks, boys who act as doctors, who determine she is in a coma. The Med-jacks take the girl to the Homestead. At this point, Thomas thinks she might be familiar and knows his fate is somehow tied to the girl’s arrival. Alby calls a Gathering, which is a meeting of the Keepers, the leaders of each profession or group. Chuck and Thomas go to the kitchen for sandwiches. Thomas theorizes the boys may be criminals, sentenced to the Glade for crimes they don’t remember. After lunch, Thomas goes for a walk alone. Near the forest, he sees another beetle blade and notices the word WICKED on its back. He follows it into the Deadheads. 

Summary: Chapter 10

Thomas goes deep into the woods and discovers the graveyard with makeshift markers. One marker is positioned next to a plastic-covered grave, through which Thomas sees half of a rotting body. He draws closer, remembering that Chuck told him about a boy, George, who tried to descend into the Box elevator shaft on a rope of ivy and was cut in half by a sharp blade. Next to the grave is a sign reading: “You can’t escape through the Box Hole.” Just then, a Glader breaks through the woods and attacks Thomas, biting him on the shoulder. The two struggle, and when Thomas throws off his attacker, he realizes it is Ben, the boy from the Homestead who was stung by a Griever. 

Summary: Chapter 11

Ben’s ropy veins show through his pale skin, and his eyes are bloodshot. He’s carrying a knife. Alby appears, threatening Ben with a bow and arrow. Ben tells Alby that he should kill Thomas, saying “I saw him,” and “he’s bad. We have to kill him!” Ben keeps repeating that Thomas is bad and has come to take them out of the Glade. When he leaps forward to stab Thomas, Alby shoots an arrow through Ben’s face. On his way out of the forest, Thomas has a vomiting fit thinking of Ben. 

That night, Thomas can’t sleep, and in the morning, he has a bad headache and heartburn. Nonetheless, Thomas goes with Newt to the Blood House and spends the morning working with the acne-covered Keeper, Winston, taking care of the animals and then butchering a hog. Thomas vows never to eat pork again. As he enters the Glade again, he sees an Asian kid, one of the Runners, coming through the West Door. The Runner is home early, and he collapses on the lawn.

Analysis: Chapters 6–11

These chapters introduce the theme of a return to home, a concept whose obscurity is used to control the Gladers and keep them focused on their sole purpose of existence in the Glade: solving the Maze. It is unclear to the boys whether or not their previous homes still exist, and since they can’t remember their former lives, the idea of returning home is embraced by some and rejected by others. For most Gladers, the idea of returning home gives them hope and drives them forward in their purpose. At times, however, they display nonchalant acceptance of their destined life in the Glade. When Thomas wonders aloud what evil people have sent them to the Glade, Chuck tells him to stop complaining and just accept it. His statement and attitude suggest that he has no interest in changing their circumstances and finding a way home. Later, when Thomas is attacked by a crazed Ben, the “stung” boy voices an opinion that opposes the Gladers’ purpose: Thomas is bad because he’ll want to take them out of the Maze and back home, and this is a fate worse than death. Though Thomas doesn’t understand yet what it means to be stung by a Griever, he realizes that Ben’s experience has created a fear-based perception of the outside world and has eradicated any desire to return home. With Ben’s deranged revelation, the overall concept of returning home has become even more indistinct.

Though Thomas distrusts his fellow Gladers, he realizes the absolute importance of trust in the Glade when he begins to distrust even himself. When the Box prematurely delivers an apparently lifeless girl, the Gladers look to Thomas as if he is to blame for the two-fold anomaly, and Thomas realizes there may be a reason for his guilty impulse. Perhaps it is he, the newcomer, who has done something wrong and is not to be trusted. His instinct to hide his inherent familiarity with the girl is a survival mechanism. He attempts to keep his trustworthiness intact as he ponders the likelihood of this potential truth, but as he struggles to withdraw any potentially important secrets involving the girl from his memory, his self-trust continues to break down until at last he wonders if he and the rest of the Gladers are all actually criminals sentenced to life in prison. Without the ability to trust himself or others, Thomas now experiences a new level of vulnerability.

These chapters introduce more loud, jarring, and repetitive noises as a form of psychological warfare effective in keeping the Gladers in line. The booming alarm that signals the arrival of a newbie in the Box sends all of the Gladers running toward the courtyard, anxious at its unexpected timing. As they wait in silence, the grinds and rattles of the lift make Thomas reflect on his own nightmarish journey the prior day. The metallic scrape of the opening doors sets the stage for the grim discovery of the girl, who appears to be dead. Later, when Thomas follows the clacking sounds of the beetle blades into the woods, his discovery of the ominous message on the grave of the half-corpse in the graveyard has an opposite than intended effect. Thomas snickers rather than recoils, a sign that his rational mind is being affected; he is unable to absorb the gravity of the gruesome deterrent display. The regular aural assault on the Gladers proves effective in controlling their mental state as it begins to afflict Thomas after only one day in the Glade.

Throughout these chapters, Thomas’s obsession with becoming a Runner introduces the theme of bravery. Thomas’s bravery in his quest to become a Runner stems from a compulsion rather than from a basis of lucid reasoning. His bravery temporarily falters when he sees a Griever through a window in the wall. But during the Tour, he longs to see the Maze despite the threat of death that lies within them. To him, the Runners seem to represent freedom. They are the only ones allowed to leave the walls of the Glade and do not adhere to the same social rules imposed upon the rest of the boys. Though it is foolish and hard-headed for a second-day newbie to entertain ideas of holding the most dangerous job in the Glade, Thomas’s strong sense that he is supposed to be a Runner is not easy to ignore or explain. His desire becomes an instinctual basic need as powerful as hunger or thirst. His bravery here is born out of an obsession he doesn’t fully understand.