Summary: Chapter 12

Thomas goes to the Runner, who is conscious and breathing hard. Alby arrives, calling the Runner Minho. Minho sends Alby to get him water and refuses to answer any of Thomas’ questions. When Alby returns with water, Minho tells them that he found a dead Griever in the Maze.

Summary: Chapter 13

Minho and Alby decide to go into the Maze the next morning to examine the dead Griever. Alby is still suspicious of Thomas. Thomas retreats to the Deadheads to rest, but Chuck arrives to tell him that Ben is alive. At a Gathering of the Keepers that morning, it was decided that Ben would be banished into the Maze—a fate that is worse than death, according to Chuck. That evening at dusk, everyone gathers at the East Gate. Ben is brought from the prison and dragged to the gate. Newt and Alby place a leather collar around Ben’s neck; the collar is attached to a long wooden pole.

Summary: Chapter 14

As a frantic Ben pleads for his life, the twelve Keepers line up along the pole to push Ben into the Maze. Thomas feels heartsick and guilty because Ben is being killed for attempting to murder him. Ben’s pleas become more desperate as the Maze door begins to close, and the Keepers shove him forward, disconnecting the pole from Ben at the last second and leaving him in the Maze.

Summary: Chapter 15

Despite the horror of Ben’s banishment, Thomas still feels called to be a Runner. Newt wakes Thomas up early and tells him he’ll be working that day as a “Track-Hoe” at the Gardens, supervised by the Keeper Zart. Thomas tells Newt he wants to be a Runner, and Newt tells him to be patient and keep quiet about it or he’ll make enemies. Newt tells Thomas that Order is the most important thing in the Glade and no one becomes a Runner until they’ve proven themselves. At breakfast Thomas finally meets Frypan, the 16-year-old who serves as the Glade’s cook. Thomas and Chuck ask about the crowd gathering at the West Gate and Newt explains that Alby and Minho are going to see the dead Griever. 

Summary: Chapter 16

Thomas works hard in the Gardens, which he prefers to the Blood House. Zart explains more of the roles within the Glade. As he works, Thomas thinks of the girl and their mysterious connection. Later, Thomas has a snack in the Glade with Chuck and Newt, and he notices that Newt looks worried. Newt tells Thomas and Chuck that the girl is speaking nonsense and isn’t eating, but his real worry is that Minho and Alby haven’t returned from the Maze yet. It’s clear Newt is terrified by the horror he experienced in the Maze as a Runner before he injured his ankle.

After dinner, everyone gathers at the West Door, waiting for Alby and Minho to emerge. Newt and Chuck suspect they are dead, and Newt walks away. Just as the door starts to close, Thomas sees Minho with Alby on his back moving down a long corridor toward the door. Alby slips to the floor and Minho drags him toward the closing door. Thomas desperately wants to help. He sees they won’t make it. With Newt screaming for him to stop, Thomas squeezes into the Maze just as the door locks into place.

Analysis: Chapters 12–16

The need for trust becomes vital as more strange occurrences disrupt the normal order of daily life, and an air of suspicion settles over the Glade and around Thomas. For Alby and other Gladers, too many strange things have happened since Thomas’s arrival to be considered coincidence. Minho’s revelation that he found a dead Griever in the maze provokes Alby to question Thomas about his connection to the girl’s arrival and the accusatory nature of Ben’s strange attack. Thomas’s reluctant promise to tell Alby if he remembers anything is an attempt to regain the trust of their leader. Alby is the most important figure in their society and the one whose trust could potentially provide the most safety for Thomas. His thoughts, however, reveal that he has no intention of divulging anything until he has a solid memory he’s willing to share. His attempt to gain trust is therefore mostly false, and he proves to be undeserving of the trust he seeks.

The Glade functions based on another central theme of the novel: the need for hierarchy and order for survival. Everything the Gladers do contributes to an orderly, safe society. While up to this point the leaders’ death threats have been empty, Ben’s Banishment marks a turning point for Thomas he is now presented with a rare view of the harsh consequences for deviant behavior. Ben’s physical response at the realization of his fate is more animalistic than human, and it sets him apart from the other Gladers as alien and a threat to their safety. Through the boy was a victim of the Grievers, his transformed behavior and actions make him dangerous, and no one but Thomas can risk a sympathetic approach to the situation. Ben’s Banishment, which has been decreed during a Gathering of the Keepers, is an ultimate attempt to maintain the safety and order necessary for the Gladers to stay alive.

With no memories of their kin or where they came from, the Gladers form close friendships that mimic family units. Newt’s concern when Minho and Alby fail to return to the Glade as the walls are about to close illustrates a motif of found family. Thomas’s confusion over Newt’s unwillingness to send out a search party is insulting to Newt, who is already mourning the loss of his found kin. As Thomas hasn’t formed a close friendship with either boy, his emotional reaction to their potential loss is more humanity-based than familial. When an exhausted Minho drags an injured Alby toward the closing walls, however, Thomas’s newfound responsibility to his fellow Gladers kicks in and solidifies his sense of belonging as a member of this family unit. At the potential cost of his own life, Thomas’s hasty action to help his companions earns him a place in their family.