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1-Page Summary of The Maze Runner
Thomas wakes up in a metal box, but he doesn’t remember who he is. He can only remember his name. Then, doors open above him and reveal that he’s on some kind of farm surrounded by walls. The place is called the Glade. Outside the Glade are monsters known as Grievers that live in a massive Maze outside of it. Every month another boy arrives at the farm to live with Thomas and other boys there. Supplies for them come through an elevator every week from above ground level, where they’re delivered by people who don’t know what lies below ground level or even if anyone lives down there at all.
Thomas learns that outside the Maze are monsters called Grievers. If a Griever stings you, you will go through a process known as the Changing, which is quite traumatic. Thomas meets Alby and Newt who become his friends. Minho becomes jealous of Thomas’ friendship with Newt but soon they become friends too.
The day after Thomas arrives, a girl is sent up into the Glade. Her name is Teresa. She tells everyone that everything will be different and then she falls into a coma. The next time anyone sees her, she’s in the hospital wing of the Glade. Thomas feels connected to her as if he knows her from somewhere else or maybe even before he came to the Glade. He becomes infatuated with her but doesn’t know why because they’ve never spoken before this moment when she arrived in his life. This feeling makes him want to become a Runner so he can go outside of the maze and find out who this girl really is and why he has such an intense connection with here but also what happened to him prior to arriving at the Maze/Glade – hence finding out who “he” truly was before all of this began (before being brought back). Shortly after deciding that becoming a runner would be good for him, Ben attacks Thomas by punching him in his stomach while saying something about knowing who “Thomas” really is and where they met previously, which causes Alby (leader) to banish Ben for trying murder on one of their own members…
While exploring the Maze, Alby is stung by a Griever. Minho attempts to get him back into the Glade before the walls close but they are not going to make it. Thomas sees them and races out into the Maze to help, breaking a cardinal rule that says never go outside of the Maze because you will get lost or worse, die. He finds himself trapped outside in the maze with them.
The Maze is dangerous at night because that’s when the creatures in it are most active. Minho, despite being experienced, panics and runs away when they approach. Thomas refuses to leave Alby behind and manages to save his life as well as his own by running back into the maze. The three survive the night in the maze which no one has ever done before. This makes Thomas a hero in some eyes while others think he’s suspicious of knowing more about what goes on there than anyone else does.
Thomas is tried by the Gladers for breaking their rules and sentenced to a day in jail. Minho, however, manages to get Thomas released as a trainee Runner. Gally objects because he thinks that Thomas is an agent of the Creators who trapped them all there in the first place. He threatens revenge on both Minho and Thomas after they fight each other over this matter.
Alby is also recovering from the Changing. He believes he saw Thomas before, but doesn’t know where or when. It’s known that Thomas played a role in designing and building the Maze. Alby visits Teresa, who has been comatose since she was shot by Gally at the end of “The Death Cure”. She begins to communicate with him telepathically; this frightens Thomas so much that he runs into the Maze to escape her voice. Teresa tells him that they were involved in implementing The Scorch Trials together, but he never told anyone about it because they were afraid of what would happen if people found out about their involvement (that they helped create The Scorch Trials).