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Minho begins training Thomas to be a Runner. First, he gets Thomas shoes and equipment, including two knives from a hidden weapons room. He shows Thomas the Map room and explains that the Maze is laid out in eight sections. Each night the walls move, changing the configuration of the Maze, repeating the pattern about once a month. Although the Runners map their sections every day, no one has ever found an exit from the Maze. Minho admits that they don’t even really know what they’re looking for—they only know they can never give up.
Minho takes Thomas into the Maze, and they run through Section Eight and into Section One. Minho takes notes on the changes in Section One. Finally, they hit a dead end and turn back, run the route, and draw the day’s Map, which they place in a stack of other Maps of Section One. Thomas is too exhausted to speak to Chuck and feels hopeless about their chances of ever escaping the Maze. Before falling asleep, Thomas hears Teresa’s voice in his head, saying “I just triggered the Ending.”
Thomas awakens to find that the sun has disappeared. The sky looks more like a ceiling, and everything is bathed in gray light. Thomas realizes the sun and sky were artificial. He and Minho run into the Maze, and when they’re about to enter Section One, they see a Griever. As they move through the Maze, the Griever is just ahead of them. They watch the Griever throw itself off the Cliff.
Minho thinks the Grievers leave the Maze by going over the Cliff. He and Thomas throw rocks into the space until they discover a small area where the stones don’t fall but disappear, like a black hole. They realize this is where the Grievers go during the day, and they name the passage the Griever Hole. They return to the Glade, where Thomas makes his first map. They tell Alby and Newt about their discovery and find out that Alby is upset because no food or supplies came up in the Box that morning. Chuck arrives to tell them the girl has woken up. Thomas hears Teresa’s voice in his head, telling him that her memory is fading and saying, “The Maze is a code.”
Teresa finds Thomas in his hiding place in the forest. They recognize each other and know they were friends at one point, but neither understands what’s going on. While Teresa still had some of her memory left, she wrote the phrase “WICKED is good” on her arm. Back in the Glade, Alby and Newt tell Teresa and Thomas that the doors to the Maze didn’t close.
The boys take Teresa to the Slammer, blaming her for triggering the Ending. Everyone prepares for a night in the Homestead, trying to barricade the openings to the Maze and gathering weapons and supplies. Thomas visits Teresa at the Slammer, then goes inside the Homestead, and Newt latches the door.
The Gladers wait in the Homestead. In an upstairs room, Alby tells Newt, Thomas, and Minho that he can no longer lead. Like Ben and Gally, what he remembers of the world before the Maze is so terrible that he believes they shouldn’t go back. With encouragement, Alby decides to dedicate himself to reading the Maps, and he leaves for the Map room. The Grievers slowly approach, and the boys hear one ripping up boards as it climbs the wall toward their window. Suddenly, Gally comes through the door to the room.
Gally tells the group that the Grievers will kill one Glader each night until it’s over. He fights with Thomas and knocks Newt unconscious with a board from the window. A Griever gets halfway through the window and reaches for Newt, but Gally distracts it and then jumps onto its body. The Griever takes Gally through the West Door, the other Grievers following behind, and Thomas sees Minho follow them all into the Maze.
In a world that heavily depends on order, change equals chaos. Change reaches a peak when the Gladers awake to a gray, sunless sky. The absence of sun signifies the loss of the artificial normalcy the Gladers have come to depend on for mental stability. Order continues to break down when no supplies arrive as expected, and the Gladers must attempt to survive on their current resources alone. Their perilous situation intensifies when the Doors don’t close at night, as they are now vulnerable to the Grievers awakening in the Maze. The rampant chaos in the Glade is evidence of Teresa’s telepathic portent of doom that she has triggered the Ending, though the meaning of the Ending is ambiguous. Thomas believes it is a way to speed up the game the Creators force the Gladers to play. Perhaps the Ending means a way out of the Maze and a return to home and family. Perhaps it means the Creators will stop all support and let the Gladers die out. Perhaps it means a return to a world that’s worse than the Glade. Uncertainty builds, safety wanes, and chaos dissolves the order that is crucial for the Gladers’ survival.
Though Teresa’s role in the chaotic events is unclear, her presence in the Glade reinforces a key theme of the story: manipulation through fear. Teresa’s unexplained ability to speak to Thomas inside his head is violating, frightening, and at times, mentally torturous. His uncertainty about their past connection is also distressing and disorienting, though when he speaks to her in person after she awakens from her comalike state, her familiarity lulls him into some sense of security. For the other Gladers, Teresa’s presence provokes only fear and distrust, and they’re compelled to keep Teresa and Thomas apart. Whatever the ultimate reason for her delivery to the Glade, it is apparent that the Creators have inserted her as part of a finale none of them are able to predict. The mysterious circumstances surrounding Teresa’s arrival and the breakdown of order in the Glade appear to be another attempt to induce fear and manipulate the Gladers into doing the Creators’ bidding.
Under the direst circumstances they’ve yet faced, most of the Gladers choose perseverance over defeat. Thomas and Minho’s decision to push forward with Thomas’s Runner training leads to an important discovery: a potential way out of the Maze through the Griever Hole. Though Alby’s relinquishment of his leadership role appears to be a surrender, it is a show of his determination to be useful to his fellow Gladers despite his shaky mental state. Despite her confusion and fear, Teresa’s attempts to grasp onto fleeting memories show her resolve to solve the puzzle of the messages she’s channeling. Newt’s decision to accompany Minho and Thomas on a days’ long trip into the Maze adds weight to his statements that they can't give up. Though each one demonstrates their persistence in a different way, the Gladers show that they are determined to meet each new obstacle with resolve to overcome it.