Maze Runner by xuyuzhu


									Title: The Maze Runner                                     Author: James Dashner
Disclaimer: “mildly mature” (mild violence, slang is       Grades: 6+
developed for profanity)

If you liked The Hunger Games…this is for you!

 From School Library Journal:
Dazed and confused, Thomas wakes up to find himself
sprawled in black box in front of a crowd of unfamiliar boys in
James Dashner's novel (Delacorte, 2009). As they welcome him
to the Glade, Thomas realizes that he remembers nothing
about himself. He discovers that the Gladers don't know how
they got there or why they are now living in an expanse
surrounded by massive stone walls. Everyone there has an
assigned task, such as runner. Outside the wall is a maze and
the runners cover its enormous expanse each day hoping to
find a way out of their artificial world. Thomas senses that he
was sent to the Glade for a reason, and after a girl arrives
there, he begins to believe that he holds the answers to every
Glader's question: how to escape.

Theme in Companion Novels:
                                             8.3(a), Eng I-IV 2(a)
The following is a list of books that are recommended as companion novels for The Maze Runner,
meaning they will have similar themes, plots, or characters.

       Lord of the Flies (Golding)
       The Giver (Lowry)
       The City of Ember (DuPrau)
       The House of the Scorpion (Farmer)
       The Hunger Games (Collins)

Students will need to be able to make deep connections across novels, time periods, and cultures in
order to be successful readers. Instead of having each student read multiple books, one way to help
students make those connections is to divide the students into groups. Each group will be responsible
for reading one book, finding the themes in that book, and presenting them to the class. As the
students come together and discuss their different books, they’ll start to see those connections.

Possible guiding questions (depending on grade level):
     How did the theme shape meaning in my novel? How did that same theme create a different
        meaning in another group’s novel?
     How was the theme used in my novel? How was the same theme used differently in another
        group’s novel? Was it more or less effective?
     How do different cultures view this theme? How was this theme viewed in different time
        periods? What are the differences/similarities?

                                 ESC 12/Newer Choices In Young Adult Literature/April 2011/Teach Learn Gen-Ed/Rev 0
Genre Study
                                   6.15(a), 7.15(a), 8.15(a), Eng I-IV 14(a)
An important aspect of both fantasy and sci-fi novels is the process of “world building.” Dashner has
created his own little world to trap the characters of The Maze Runner. Even though it resembles our
world, in this imaginary world, they have their own rules, roles, culture, creatures and even their own

The world created by an author can make or break a story.

Have students analyze the world of The Maze Runner.
     Physical components
     People, customs, language
     Government
     Climate and creatures
     Daily life
See if they can create a map of the world.

Does Dashner do a good job of creating his world? Do you easily slip into the world he has created?
Does he ever break his own rules? Are there things that are not explained? Why does he need to create
a separate world for this story? What elements of the story could not take place in our world today?

As a pre-writing activity, students can create their own world. Once students have created their own
world, they can use it as the basis for writing a story taking place in that world and observing all the laws
and rules they have just created.

Things to think about when creating a world:

Character Study
                                    6.6(b), 7.6(b), 8.6(b), Eng. I-IV 5(b)
FIG 19 (c)
Grade 6 – ENG IV = reflect on understanding to monitor comprehension (creating sensory images)

In most good literature, characters change over the course of the story. When subjected to pressure,
however, characters can sometimes change more rapidly or more drastically. By the end of the book,
the character can become a completely different person with a new set of values, new goals, new
characteristics and they can relate to the other characters in different ways.

The characters in this story find themselves in a difficult and unique situation – a test. How does this
test change the characters involved? How do they relate to each other differently?

This activity will help the students analyze the characters and their roles in the book and produce a
visual representation of the character.

                                 ESC 12/Newer Choices In Young Adult Literature/April 2011/Teach Learn Gen-Ed/Rev 0
      Students will select between 4 and 6 characters from the book to analyze.
      Students will use the text, internet research, and discussion to select adjectives to describe their
       character at the beginning of the book and at the end of the book.
           o Guiding question: “If someone had never read this book, how would you describe the
           o Students should have textual evidence to support their choice of adjectives
      Students will select images to represent their characters using an image licensed by Creative
       Commons (
      Students will use Picnik ( to add the adjectives for the character to the
       image chosen to represent that character.
           o Attention should be given to colors, font choice, word placement, etc.
      Completed images can be posted to a wiki for student review and comment
           o See example:

Follow-up Discussion:
     How did you select the adjectives?
     How did your character change?
     How has your knowledge and understanding of the character helped you understand the story?

Note: Activity can be changed depending on the TEKS addressed. Follow-up questions can be added to
extend activity and address TEKS as well.

Discussion Questions and Thoughts
      How does Thomas change as a person throughout the book?
      Consider the character of Gally – was he good or bad?
      Why do you think only boys were used in the experiment until the end?
      What do you think the group will face in the second book – The Scorch Trials?

The official website for the Maze Runner          
      News, about the author section,
       reviews from readers, book
       summary and excerpts
      Play Maze Runner Missions
Picnik – photo editing made easy                  
Creative Commons Search                           
Watch an interview with the author                

                                ESC 12/Newer Choices In Young Adult Literature/April 2011/Teach Learn Gen-Ed/Rev 0

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