The Maze Runner’: Critical Analysis Essay

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Literary Exploration

Everyone goes through experiences that change and shape who they are, and one's identity is constantly evolving, and molded in various ways. Throughout life, new experiences help a person to grow and change. Various situations and the emotions derived from them impact the way one views the world, influencing their values, hopes, and beliefs. The lessons one can learn from these experiences enable them to develop as an individual and form a clear identity that is all their own. A person's identity can be shaped by conflicts, forging strong friendships with individuals who stand by them and support them as they try to achieve their goals throughout life, and bravery. In the novel The Maze Runner by James Dashner, the author wants the reader to learn that identity is shaped through conflicts, bonds, and courage because they are common ways that individuals can become better people; as a result of these instigators, one can grow and surpass their past achievements.

In the novel The Maze Runner, Thomas faces several conflicts that challenge who he wants to be. These experiences ultimately affect his identity and directly impact the person he becomes. Overcoming conflicts can help an individual gain confidence in their abilities and learn to be stronger in the future. Thomas was confused at the beginning of the story, and his lack of knowledge causes him frustration since everyone continuously dodges his questions. The effect of being kept in the dark inflames the feeling of fear and uncertainty in Thomas. However, although Thomas faces an uncertain future, having lost all of his memories and not knowing who or where he is, he still strives to overcome these conflicts, constantly showing his determination to grow and learn. Even after being shown a Griever by Newt, a terrifying, grotesque creature, he is unwilling to back down and cower in fear; instead, his curiosity and need for knowledge only grow stronger, giving him even more incentive to become a runner and unlock the secrets of the maze. The actions Thomas takes to overcome his conflicts and achieve his goals provide him with confidence and make him sure of where he stands, giving him the belief that the Glade is a place where he can learn to cast off his doubts, thrive, and forge friendships. A place where he can feel safe enough to belong. In addition, being determined to overcome challenges and striving to conquer them with a positive mindset can help an individual achieve their goals. At the beginning of the novel, one of Thomas's main goals was to reclaim the distant memories swirling around in his mind like a typhoon, all so close but just barely out of reach of his grasping fingers. As the story progresses, Thomas’s curiosity and drive present him with many opportunities to learn more about the mystery of the maze. While exploring the maze with Minho, his desire to know more causes him to unearth a metal square with the words World in Catastrophe Killzone Experiment Department or W.I.C.K.E.D for short. Things such as this inflame Thomas’s thirst for more, his need for knowledge acting as a catalyst for his discoveries. Gradually putting them together piece by piece, like a puzzle, the things he discovers eventually crystallize into a clear picture, evolving to become ideas. One thing leads to another, and, finally, the pieces of his scattered memories emerge like a phantom in the dark, no longer taunting him with their blurry edges. Thomas is able to figure out why he is in the Glade and achieve his goal of remembering his past, fulfilling his responsibility to himself and the other Gladers by using his memories to help them escape the maze, growing into his position as a leader and earning the respect of his companions in the process. On top of this, a single person having the willpower to overcome an insurmountable obstacle can give everyone the strength to not rely on miracles but dare to believe in their own ability to change their destiny and become who they want to be. In The Maze Runner, Thomas breaks away from the norm, challenging the belief that it is impossible to survive a night in the maze. This results in a series of events that give the Gladers the confidence to believe in each other, helping them overcome the many conflicts associated with achieving their shared goal of escaping the Glade. Thomas has saved the Gladers many times, helping Minho and Alby by dashing in to assist them when they were trapped in the maze, and indirectly by challenging traditional beliefs, achieving what was once considered unattainable. This gives them hope and an incentive to keep trying. Thomas gives them the willingness to take a risk and stand against the Grievers, taking action and fighting for their freedom and right to life instead of cowering and waiting to die. Thomas's determination impacts the lives and identities of not only those around him but also his own, allowing him to become a leader and a dependable friend for others to fall back on. Despite the fact that many see him as a hero, Thomas is also a catalyst for change, and he propels the momentum of the Gladers forward, letting them lean on him until they can learn to stand by themselves. Everyone has conflicts they must face throughout life and it is a constant struggle to face them head-on, but the lessons one can learn from such situations are valuable. Conflicts help individuals to grow and forge strong identities for themselves because the more difficult something is to overcome, the greater rewards it reaps; the darkest night makes for the brightest stars, flames that smolder and burn forever, a vibrant luminescent blaze that never loses its spark.

Friendship is essential for Thomas and the Gladers because it creates a sense of community, the bond that they all share as a result of being trapped in the Glade providing them an incentive to keep going, encouraging them to nourish their collective identity and grow as individuals. Thomas’s friendship with Chuck inspires him to keep trying and hoping, his presence in Thomas's life causes him to grow as a character. When Thomas first arrived at the Glade, he was feeling hopeless and alone, but Chuck was determined to be his friend, distracting him from his loneliness. He gave him someone to trust and depend on in his time of need, someone to call a friend, someone to turn to when his world was falling apart. It was the thing that he needed most at that moment; he felt abandoned and lonely, his mind feeding on his emotions, filling him with fear and leaving him confused and afraid in a strange, unfamiliar world. Chuck gave him the strength to keep his head up and his feet continuously moving forward. Thomas is a character that strongly values doing the right thing, and met with death and danger around every corner, it is a constant struggle for him to persevere, to keep searching for the light amidst the darkness, but the friendship he feels for Chuck gives him a reason to keep going, an excuse to believe that people are inherently good and that the world is worth saving, if only for him. Friendship also encourages individuals to recognize their mistakes and try to make up for them, to redeem oneself in one's own eyes and in the eyes of others. As a result of the friendship Thomas has with the Gladers, Thomas feels extremely guilty after he finds out the part he had in creating the maze and subjecting the gladers to their entrapment. Remembering his role after getting stung by a Griever and going through the changing, he feels like he has to make it up to the gliders somehow. After gaining full awareness of the role he played, brimming with remorse, Thomas offers to sacrifice himself, wanting to give himself up as a diversion for the Grievers so that everyone else can escape; for him, it is a way to right his wrongs and salvage the relationships he shares with the Gladers. In order to gain the forgiveness he yearns for, Thomas faithfully demonstrates his willingness to put his life on the line, his desire to make things right solidifying itself as an aspect of his character due to the bonds he shares. In addition, a strong affinity with others can inspire individuals to put others before themselves and unearth parts of themselves previously concealed. When Thomas rushed into the maze, he realized that it was not in himself to be able to leave an injured friend to die just to save his life. Although Thomas was scared, he still recognized in the face of danger a piece of himself previously gone unnoticed, the part of him that wouldn’t let a friend die. Identity is more than just memories, and some things, although buried deep inside of us, are elements of who we are that cannot be erased. Through moments of revelation like this, Thomas slowly begins to realize who he is, reclaiming fragments of his past and growing to become a distinct individual. In moments like this, faced with life-threatening danger, Thomas proves that he values his friends and stays true to his character by following his instincts and refusing to leave Alby to die. He believes that despite his fear and the potential danger to himself, it is important to stay true to yourself and do what you think is best. Thomas’s view of the world is shaped around following what his heart knows to be right, creating an identity for himself, and bringing to light his desire to protect those important to him no matter what the cost. It translates to him viewing the world as a place that is inherently good, a place that despite all its shortcomings, is still worth the effort put in to save it. Friendship encourages human beings to help one another, fostering teamwork and cooperation so that everyone can grow as individuals and undergo a metamorphosis into a beautiful butterfly.

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Bravery is essential for helping individuals overcome challenges and gain knowledge and experience to enrich and improve their lives. Bravery aided Thomas and the Gladers in overcoming their fears and emerging as stronger individuals. Personally, there have been many instances in my life where something has seemed too frightening to attempt and the easier option was to just give in and back down. It has always been extremely difficult for me to communicate with people and tell them how I truly feel. However, it is impossible to do that all the time because you'll never get anywhere in life whenever something slightly challenging comes up you always choose to run and hide. So, knowing this, I decided to face my fear and try to express my feelings to a trusted individual. However, they were not able to understand me, but despite this, it still made me happy that I was able to overcome my fears; it proved to me that I could achieve something if I put my mind to it. Even though it was difficult, I still gathered up the courage to try and do it, and even though it did not reap the best results, I still aspire to do my best even if all I manage to do is fail. I think the experience has made me stronger, regardless of the result, because now I am better equipped to face the same situation in the future. Bravery also assisted Thomas and the Gladers in standing up for one another and learning through each other. In the past, I've seen individuals defend others who can not defend themselves and it creates a positive atmosphere, an aura of realization that dawns on everyone that what has been done is wrong.

It inspires me to be a person who always try to see the best in people and who constantly tries to help them when they are going through hard times because you never know what someone is going through and how difficult it is for them. Standing up for others can be hard but it teaches you important values like understanding, and I believe it highlights the best of humanity and is the type of bravery that makes the world better for everyone. It fosters the kind of bravery that inspires individuals to stand up for one another, empowering them to make a difference in a tumultuous world. Lastly, courage helped Thomas and the Gladers see past their fear and come up with a solution to a seemingly unsolvable problem. Various things in life have often seemed impossible to overcome but taking a chance and facing a problem head-on made me realize that the solution was easier than I thought. For example, on a math test, when a problem seemed slightly intimidating I would just skip it because it seemed impossible to solve; it felt like it would just be a waste of my time, but when I actually went back and looked at it I would realize that it wasn't as hard as I believed it to be and the solution was there the entire time if I had just bothered to look for it. In life, issues people must face can appear to be difficult but things are not always as they seem and the solution is usually not as obscure as it might look to be. Facing issues head-on often yields better results than doing nothing at all. It is better to be willing to be brave and take action instead of waiting and waiting for a miracle that might never come. Bravery helps individuals overcome challenges that make them stronger and stand out as an individual, leading others to walk in their footsteps and inspiring them to have the strength to stay true to themselves and follow their hearts.

Conflicts, friendship, and bravery support the growth of individuals and encourage the formation of a strong, healthy identity. Conflicts challenge one's sense of identity and can help an individual gain confidence and reassure them of their abilities. Conflicts can also assist someone in achieving their goals and one person striving to overcome a shared obstacle can inspire others to believe in themselves. Friendship establishes a sense of community, the bonds shared creating a sense of hope and an incentive to keep going. A friendship with someone can inspire an individual to keep trying, a shared bond enough of a reasonable reason to continue on. It causes people to want to attempt to fix their mistakes and also encourages them to put others before themselves, growing into better people in the process. Bravery gives individuals the strength to overcome challenges and use the lessons learned from them to improve their lives. It helps people conquer their fears, challenges them to become stronger, and encourages individuals to stand up for one another, supporting and fighting for what they know to be right. Finally, facing up to a challenge can help someone find a solution to a problem plaguing their mind and heart. Many things contribute to a person's sense of identity, and in a constantly evolving world, identity never remains the same for long; the experiences, values, and beliefs someone has dictates who they are and who they become, and whether good or bad, they all influence an individual's identity in the end.

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The Maze Runner’: Critical Analysis Essay. (2023, March 01). Edubirdie. Retrieved April 17, 2024, from
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