To most, the world The Maze Runner by James Dashner appears as a fantasy world but in reality, The Maze Runner is a situation that Earth will be in very soon. The series has many places that have an equivalent to real-life places giving the book an allegorical meaning that is also a warning. The main allegories in the series are the abuse of governmental power, division of gender, and destruction of Earth. Although The Maze Runner is set in a fantasy world it is an allegory and has many messages laced underneath for society.
About Book & Author
James Dashner was born and raised in Georgia but lives and writes in the Rocky Mountains which is present throughout his books. For instance, the characters take refuge in what was once Denver, Colorado and then later further into the mountains. The Maze Runner and it’s series follows the adventures of Thomas, Newt, Teresa, and Minho as they flee from the maze that the acting government put them in as an experiment trying to find a cure for The Flare, an extremely contagious disease that leaves its hosts completely savage. Throughout the books, the characters realize how corrupt the world that was brainwashed from them. As they escape they find the rebellion and help to take down the tyrant who heads the “government”, WICKED. WICKED stands for World In Catastrophe: Killzone Experiment Department, the members try to look at what they are doing is good despite having an internment camp below their headquarters where they keep the infected, commonly referred to as Cranks.
The whole idea of The Maze Runner is that the group of boys are trapped in a giant moving labyrinth. The seemingly ever-changing labyrinth is an allegory for society, always moving and changing so that no one can feel at home. The square at the center where the boys live in represents the oasis that people have carved out in society. Newt even says, “out there’s the maze […], everything we do-our whole life, Greenie-revolves around the Maze. Every lovin’ second of every lovin’ day we spend in honor of the Maze, tryin’ to solve somethin’ that’s not shown us it has a bloody solution, ya know?’. This confusion and feeling of not belonging shows that the result of the boys being immune they have been separated by the outside world for something they have no control over.
Destruction of Earth
The whole cause for the Flare was that civilization has used up all of Earth’s resources and in turn, the sun is retaliated with solar flares. The difference in the climate, where a desert changes into the arctic with almost no transition embodies the severity of the character’s world.
Abuse of Governmental Power
The all imposing super-”government” that runs the decaying Earth is a tyranny and a deceiving power.
Dashner’s The Maze Runner reveals the many modern-day struggles of Earth and its’ people despite being published just shy of eleven years earlier.