Wednesday, September 17, 2014

The Maze Runner a Modern Day Lord of the Flies

There's no denying the power of a classic, and William Golding's 1954 Lord of the Flies is a timeless tale of boys being boys, before dystopias were a "thing." On an island with no possible rescue, Golding's boys have to learn how to govern themselves, and that is no easy task; in fact, Flies is a warning of what could happen when kids must create their own sense of justice. 

Fast forward fifty-five years to James Dashner's The Maze Runner, and the chaos of survival of the fittest is still prevalent, except Dashner is clever enough to add a female character, thus breaking away from Golding's initial plot. 


Alby, the leader, resembles Ralph, maintaining a sense of order among the apparent freedom of being without adults. He is confident and fair, but underneath is a slow decline in leadership capability.

Chuck, the newest Greenie until Thomas's arrival, resonates with Piggy, the overweight boy whose friendliness is his downfall. Chuck takes Thomas under his wing after he appears in the box. 

The Maze itself hearkens to the "beast" in Flies, being a symbol of what happens when savagery overtakes order. Created out of fear, the beast illuminates barbarism in kids who show no inhumane tendencies. Much the same in The Maze Runner as the fear of the unknown and the inevitable feeling of never solving the maze creates tension and frustration among the boys.

Dashner may have had no intention in drawing similarities between children and anarchy in Lord of the Flies and The Maze Runner, but regardless of the intention, the contemporary additions rejuvenate the universal truth: humans cannot survive in the face of fear and disorder.

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