The Maze Runner Discussion Questions

Instructor: Angela Janovsky

Angela has taught middle and high school English, Business English and Speech for nine years. She has a bachelor's degree in psychology and has earned her teaching license.

A popular young adult novel, The Maze Runner makes for an excellent novel study in a literature classroom. Here are interesting discussion questions to use during this unit.

The Maze Runner

The Hunger Games. Divergent. The 5th Wave. The past 10 years or so has seen a major surge in the dystopian genre of young adult fiction. Whether it's the connection to teenage main characters or the allure of a world beyond our structured society, these novels seem to just keep growing in popularity.

Another young adult novel centered on a dystopian world is James Dashner's The Maze Runner. Published in 2009, this novel follows the story of Thomas who arrives in a mysterious locale surrounded by an impossible maze.

Here you will find thought-provoking discussion questions to use in a classroom after having read The Maze Runner.

Questions about Plot

  • Like Thomas, you as the reader are in the dark for much of the story. Small bits of information are slowly revealed as the story goes on. Can you give examples of this? Why do you think Dashner wrote the story this way? What are the benefits? What are the disadvantages?
  • List some of the unique words the boys living the Glade have developed. Analyze these words. What do they mean? What are they related to? Why did the boys develop these words? Do you think it's realistic that a group of people isolated from society would do this? Explain.
  • Describe how the runners explore the Maze. How do they operate? What is their purpose? They haven't found a way out in 2 years, so why do they continue to do it?
  • Describe the Changing. What does it entail? Why does it happen? How are the boys different once they've been through the Changing? Do you believe these memories are true? Explain.
  • Teresa is the first girl who arrives in the Glade. Why do you think there were only boys? Why did the Creators add Teresa as the final person? Do you think the Glade would have been run differently if it were all girls? Explain.
  • Describe the Grievers. What do they look like? How do they behave? Why do you think the boys gave them that name? What do you think is their purpose? Why would the Creators place them in the Maze? Explain.
  • The boys in the Glade have structured their own society. Describe it. Include the jobs and how they are assigned. Discuss leadership and its role in their world. Is this society a good one? Explain.

Questions about Characters

  • Which boys in the Glade show responsibility? Which ones are the most reliable? Are there any boys who are irresponsible or unreliable? Explain.
  • Discuss the connection between Thomas and Teresa. What are their similarities and differences? Why do they understand each other so well? Eventually we learn that they both had a role in creating the Maze. Does this make them guilty? What do you think Thomas and Teresa would say to that now they have been placed in the Glade themselves?
  • Analyze the character of Gally. How is he different after the Changing? What are his negative and positive character traits? Was he just a pawn of the scientists? Is he good or bad? Or both? Explain.
  • Compare and contrast Alby and Newt. What leadership traits do they share? How are they different? Which one do you think Thomas prefers? Which type of leader would you prefer to have if you were in the Glade? Why?
  • Trace the journey of Thomas. How does he grow throughout the novel? Compare his character from when he first rises into the Glade to when he is the leader saving the group and escaping the Maze. Do you think anyone else could have gotten them out of the Maze? Why or why not?
  • Discuss Ben's fate. What is his role in the story? Do you feel he should have been banished? Or is the social system the boys have developed too brutal? Does it need to be brutal? Explain.
  • Analyze Chuck's character. What is his relationship to Thomas? How does it develop? In many stories there is often a chubby side-kick. So is Chuck merely a stereotype?
  • Examine Minho's character. Is he a true friend to Thomas? Do you like him? Why or why not? Does he change as the story progresses?

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