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Later, Minho meets Newt and Thomas at the West Door, where he tells them that the Grievers jumped through the Griever Hole. The boys see that the Map room is on fire and frantically run to save it, but Newt says that all the Maps have been burned. Thomas visits Teresa in the Slammer, where she has been thinking about the Maze being a code. She and Thomas realize that the Maze’s various configurations might make letters and numbers, but now that the Maps have been burned, they have nothing with which to figure out the code.
In the Map room, Newt treats Alby for his head wound, and Thomas convinces Newt and Minho to let Teresa out of the Slammer. Minho tells them that he moved the real Maps to the weapons room in the Homestead, and that the Maps that burned were fakes. The group goes to see the Maps.
Newt, Minho, Thomas, and Teresa work on the Maps. They transfer them to wax paper, then stack them on top of one another in sets; each set consists of the eight maps drawn per day. Looking at the layers together, they clearly see a letter F.
Minho convinces Thomas that they need to get the Runners and go into the Maze for a multi-day expedition. Newt and Teresa stay behind to work on the Maze code. Minho, Thomas, and the other Runners head to the Maze. Chuck meets them at the Door and says goodbye.
Thomas and Minho run to Section Eight, realizing the walls are no longer moving inside the Maze. Thomas hears Teresa’s voice in his head, and she tells him telepathically that she and Newt have already made several words from the Maps. Thomas concentrates and is able to talk telepathically to her. They still don’t understand their connection, but they know that they were close in their lives before the Glade. When they both get headaches, Teresa cuts off communication. Minho and Thomas find a sign on the wall that reads, “WORLD IN CATASTROPHE—KILLZONE EXPERIMENT DEPARTMENT,” which Minho barely notices. At night, the Grievers roll right past them in the Maze. Feeling discouraged, Thomas and Minho return to the Glade.
At the West Door, Minho and Thomas tell Newt that they didn’t find anything. Newt tells them the Grievers took another Glader during the night. They return to the Maps, where volunteers have been tracing Maps all night under Teresa and Newt’s instruction. They’ve discovered that the Maze spells out six repeating words: FLOAT, CATCH, BLEED, DEATH, STIFF, and PUSH. Thomas decides to get stung by a Griever and go through the Changing so that he can regain his memories and hopefully understand the code.
That night when the Grievers come and take a boy named Dave from the Homestead, Thomas runs into the Glade after them. He attracts the attention of three Grievers, provoking them into stinging him. He escapes from them after being stung dozens of times. Someone administers the Grief Serum and Thomas slips into unconsciousness.
Thomas begins the experience of the Changing, drifting into a mist, overcome by a flood of memories. Everything else is pain.
Chuck’s voice brings Thomas back to consciousness in the Homestead. Thomas realizes that in order to escape, they will have to do something terrifying. He also knows that at some point, they’ll have to type the code in somewhere. He calls for a Gathering and announces that there is a way out. He says that the Creators have been watching them, weeding out the weakest boys, and testing their abilities and resiliency.
The importance of teamwork returns as a theme in these chapters. Though the other Gladers don’t trust Teresa, Thomas senses that her participation in the endgame is vital. Together, he and Teresa are able to formulate a theory about the maps and the code hidden within them. By demonstrating the importance of her participation, Thomas is ultimately able to convince the other Gladers of Teresa’s value as a member of the inner circle. Minho and Newt have worked together to hide the maps and protect them from danger, and this action of teamwork offers the Gladers a real chance at cracking the code that will lead them out of the Maze. Through the collective efforts of several trusted Gladers, led by Thomas’s out-of-the-box thinking, a code finally emerges. With Thomas and Teresa’s help, the Gladers are able to accomplish the task that has evaded them since their first days in the Glade.
Thomas’s actions in Chapter 46 introduce the important theme of self-sacrifice for collective survival. With the great value of teamwork already established among the Gladers, Thomas’s decision to sacrifice himself to a Griever’s sting is both heroic and foolish. Though he stands to gain key information in unlocking his memories, he also faces the various fates of Stung Gladers before him: unwillingness or inability to share found memories, loss of hope, intense pain, and potential death. While his earlier heroic actions were based on impulse, this plan is based on the knowledge he has gained during his time in the Glade. However, since his fellow Gladers have come to depend on him as a vital team player, his potential loss of hope or life will be an ultimate abandonment of the others. Gally has also sacrificed himself to a Griever during an attack on the Homestead. However, Thomas’s sacrifice is different. Gally no longer had the desire to survive and return home. Instead, Thomas’s sacrifice is meant for the ultimate goal of their collective survival.