Examples Of Essay Questions From The Maze Runner

1. Minho is branded with a tattoo that designates him the leader of the Gladers. When the Gladers reach the city, however, there are plaques all over the walls that say Thomas is the true leader. Giving examples of the character traits and actions of the two boys in the novel, do you think Minho is the true leader of the Gladers, or is Thomas?

2. Early on in the novel, Teresa is identified as “The Betrayer.” Though Thomas refuses to believe this, as the novel progresses, he must face this reality. What is Thomas’s reaction to Teresa’s betrayal, and what is Teresa’s rationale behind her actions? Can Teresa still be trusted? Is WICKED really good, as she says at the end? Is Teresa good?

3. Brenda and Jorge are two new characters who help the Gladers to reach the safe haven. Given WICKED’s reach and control of the Trials, can these two really be trusted? With examples of their roles and actions in the novel, make a case as to whether the two are simply civilians picked up along the way, or yet another Variable engineered by WICKED.

4. The Gladers must go through The Scorch to find the safe haven. When they enter the Scorch, Thomas briefly compares it to the Maze. From what he reveals, explain the similarities and differences between the Maze and the Scorch, including the “monsters” that hinder their escape.

5. Who is Rat Man? Explain this odd character as he appears in the novel. What instructions does he give to the Gladers, and what does he tell Group B to do? Additionally, what is Teresa told that she must do to Thomas?

6. The Gladers face tremendous odds in reaching the city and getting to the safe haven. What about Group B? How do they fare in reaching the safe haven? Compare and contrast the trials faced by the two groups. Does it seem like one group has it easier than the other? If so, why might that be?

7. Thomas learns that there are different levels to the Flare. Give a few examples of different characters in the novel who are infected with the disease and their different symptoms. What does the nature of the disease suggest about post-apocalyptic society?

8. Explain the Flare as Thomas understands it, especially through Brenda’s descriptions. How did it come about, how it is contained and controlled by WICKED and the coalition of governments. Can it be cured?

9. Explain the roles of, and relationships between, Teresa, Thomas and Aris in the novel. What unique ability do they have? What do Thomas’s memories reveal about the group in relation to WICKED?

10. The Scorch Trials introduces new technology to the Gladers. Explain some of this technology. Giving specific examples, how does this technology affect the Gladers, for better or for worse?

Overall, the essay makes some good points. In the future, you will want to work on making sure that every sentence in your essay is performing a function and communicating a specific idea that relates to the thesis and/or extends your argument in new directions. The strength of this essay is its organization. The weakness is the essay’s reliance on opening and closing statements that do not attempt to communicate specific and meaningful ideas.

A few tweaks, and you will have a nice speech. First, revise your thesis for clarity and directness. Then I would recommend focusing your revision on the closing sentences of each paragraph and on re-writing the essay’s conclusion. A grammar check should help to eliminate some of the mechanical issues.

Paragraph 1:

The thesis statement of the essay as it stands now can use some changes. Right now, the argument to be presented in the speech/essay is unclear.

"The theme of ‘persistence and bravery’ by means of the protagonist, and through the use of corporate and technological control as well as friendship has educated me on the vital features of a dystopia."

The meaning seems to be that the film demonstrates a number of characteristic features of dystopian literature, which include persistence in the face of corporate control and bravery in the face of technological oppression. Friendship plays into this scenario as a positive reinforcement of human values. In one way or another, you will want to clarify these ideas in your opening paragraph.

If the thesis intends to say that The Maze Runner demonstrates several definitive characteristics of dystopian fiction it needs to be adjusted to more directly communicate this idea. (Adjust for clarity and directness.)

Paragraph 2:

Unless you have discussed the term “disparate lineament” in your class as a specific term relating to dystopia, this phrase should be replaced by something with a more precise meaning. Actually, you should replace this sentence entirely with a sentence that deals with the subject the paragraph will explore – bravery and persistence. This is your topic sentence, so you would be well-served to be as accurate as possible in regards to the point your paragraph will make. You might just cut the current first sentence to make this happen.

I would recommend that you split this paragraph into two, beginning a new paragraph with “Thomas also displays his persistence to not accept traditional viewpoints.” Bravery and persistence are not entirely the same attributes and seem to demonstrate two different emotional characteristics necessary for humanity to conquer inhumanity.

 Punctuation is needed between “maze” and “proving”: Thomas forms a plan to keep himself and his injured friends alive for one night in the maze proving the impossible.

Try to be more specific here: Hence, the analysis of Thomas has taught me a lot on dystopian protagonists and dystopian texts.

You have an opportunity to make a comment about what exactly Thomas has shown through his character and/or behavior in regards to the themes of the work. Do you see any of the film’s themes on display in this behavior? What does this behavior say? Try to be specific. At this point you might also simply articulate what Thomas is up against, thus contextualizing the importance of his behavior and creating a natural transition into your next topic. Ideally, you will find a way here to answer the question, “Why is it important for the protagonist to display the traits of bravery and persistence?” And work the ideas of corporate control, etc., into the answer.

Paragraph 3:

The third paragraph mentions corporate control and technological control but only offers examples of technological control. This should be either explained in the essay or adjusted to eliminate mentions of corporate control. The closing sentence of this paragraph can be cut.

Paragraph 4:

Survival is a key idea in this paragraph. The essay should explain what survival has to do with dystopian fiction and with the other ideas presented in the essay if possible. All of your supporting points should relate to your thesis, which is that The Maze Runner demonstrates several definitive characteristics of dystopian fiction, right? Connecting friendship to survival is clever and sensible, but the essay also needs to connect friendship and survival to the ideas of dystopian fiction.

Paragraph 5:

Suggestion: Use the last sentence as the theme of a new paragraph. Try to really say something here – something that your paper has not yet taken steps to articulate. Again, you have an opportunity to talk about how the specific genre elements discussed can be seen as a commentary on social politics, the centrality of individuality to a Western view of humanity, the positive nature of freedom or the negative/negating qualities of oppression vis a vis the human spirit.  

A word of advice on crafting tight paragraphs from the eNotes Essay Lab:

Double-check for extraneous details. Now that your paragraph is organized, look over all your supporting details and be sure that you are not off-topic with any of your points. If you absolutely cannot live without a certain detail, revise your topic sentence so that it fits. Otherwise, you will distract the reader from the purpose established in your topic sentence if you include irrelevant information.

Grammar Notes

This essay appears to be for a speech, so grammar feedback may not be necessary. In the case that grammar tips are helpful, I would point out that titles of full-length works like The Maze Runner should be italicized. Be sure that you are using apostrophes on the possessives. There is at least one missing apostrophe right now. If you are using American English here, be sure to place the punctuation inside the quotation marks, even when using discrete phrases as you do here: Alby calls Thomas “curious”. The period should come inside the quotation marks.

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