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Obscene Maze: A Study on Saul and Thomas’s Odyssey

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Daniel Baldino

Mr. Romaris


22 January 2016

Obscene Maze: A Study on Saul and Thomas’s Odyssey

In Richard Wagamese’s Indian Horse and James Dashner’s The Maze Runner, the protagonists in both novels stumble but eventually uncover their importance. Firstly, Thomas from The Maze Runner and Saul from Indian Horse both experience major personal problems that at first cripple their character but they must persevere. Secondly, both Saul and Thomas are isolated from their roots especially from their families but eventually they escape this isolation. Thirdly, Saul and Thomas understand that they do not have to overcome adversity alone and they can use their peers to help overcome any obstacles. Finally, Saul and Thomas both struggle to find their role in society but they eventually discover more about themselves and their abilities which allow them to fit in. Both Saul in Indian Horse and Thomas in The Maze Runner must fail over and over again in order to discover who they are and find the pathway to success.

In Indian Horse and The Maze Runner both Saul and Thomas experience turmoil in their personal lives but ultimately persevere. One day Thomas wakes up in a pitch-black room with no memory of his past as he only recalls his name. Thomas goes on to find out he, along with other boys had been placed in a Maze and they are trying to find their way out. Thomas is bewildered by what is going on in the maze as he discovers what happens in the maze. Thomas quickly becomes separated from the other boys as he has few friends and keeps to himself. But one day the first girl is sent to the maze and she brings a note saying she is the last person to be sent to the maze ever. Two people had arrived in one day and this brought about great suspicion and distrust against Thomas. Despite everyone disliking Thomas he begins to discover more about himself and becomes a leader in the group. Thomas attempts to regain trust by attempting to save two boys trapped in the maze. Thomas succeeds and saves the two boys. He has survived in the maze overnight which has not been done before. Thomas’s friend Chuck says, “That reminds me, you’re the talk of the town” (Dashner 148). Chuck is telling Thomas that his bravery has earned him massive respect from his peers and he has persevered through this period of turmoil in his life. Like Thomas, Saul also experiences personal problems when he is brought to St. Jerome’s Residential School. Saul is isolated from his roots here and becomes depressed due to the death of his beloved grandmother and educator Naomi. Saul is very independent and keeps to himself which makes him seem like a loner because he has few friends. Saul does overcome this adversity in his personal life when he is introduced to hockey by Father Leboutilier. At first Saul practices and trains himself to be a better hockey player, and one day a fellow student at the school is injured while playing and Saul fills in for him. Saul has the opportunity to gain respect and persevere through this personal turmoil. Saul says, “I flicked my wrist and the puck slipped neatly into the right angle where the crossbar met the post” (Wagamese 70). This amazed the other boys. Saul turned a few heads and gained some respect. Father Leboutilier says, “That was a pretty snazzy move” (Wagamese 70). Both characters struggle to adapt to their new environments but in the end they persevere as they overcome their shyness and use their actions to lead by example and gain respect from others. Thomas develops tighter relationships with the other boys and Saul also develops tighter relationships with the hockey players at St. Jerome’s, as both characters overcome struggles in their personal lives.

In Indian Horse and The Maze Runner both Protagonists Saul and Thomas are isolated from the life they once knew and must overcome the new setting they are placed in. Thomas is placed in the maze with no memory of his life prior to entering the maze. He is not alone as everyone else inside the maze must endure the same thing. This drives Thomas mad as he is very curious to remember why he was placed there and why some things seem so familiar. Thomas understands that by risking his life and being stung by a griever this could help him regain some of his memories. Thomas’s curiosity and search for answers takes him out of isolation as he purposely is stung and must undergo a procedure to keep him alive. Thomas is able to overcome the isolation placed on him and his fellow peers and during the procedure he remembers how to escape the maze and leads his mates to fight for freedom. Thomas tells everyone how they must escape as he says, “Over the cliff. We have to go through the Griever Hole” (Dashner 309). Thomas has overcome the isolation from his past and now remembers the formula for escaping isolation in a final life or death fight to freedom. Like Thomas, Saul also must overcome isolation from his past while attending St. Jerome’s. While at the residential school Saul is isolated from his traditions and way of life but he must escape it, in a slightly different and less-violent way. Saul attempts to escape his isolation from society through the game of hockey. Saul uses the game of hockey to escape his harsh reality and the rough times he is going through. Saul is gifted in the sport of hockey, and escapes the isolation of the residential school by playing for teams outside the school to pursue a career in hockey. Saul eventually gets offered to play for a reserve team called ‘The Moose’ situated in Manitouwadge and is run by Fred Kelly. Fred does not only offer an escape for Saul from the residential school, but also an escape into reality and away from the isolation he was in for years at St. Jerome’s. Saul speaks of his escape from isolation when leaving St. Jerome’s as he says, “Already I could feel St. Jerome’s losing its hold on me. I was almost fourteen. I was being freed” (Wagamese 97). Although Saul is scared about leaving because St. Jerome’s had been the only place he had known, he was happy to be escaping the grasp the school had on him for so long. Both Saul and Thomas overcome isolation and are able to be freed from this isolation. They both move on and set out to forget about the isolation they endured for so long.

A reoccurring theme in both The Maze Runner and Indian Horse is overcoming adversity. Both characters must overcome adversity in different ways and sometimes they need the assistance of others. Thomas masterminds a plan to escape the dreaded maze but when the plan runs into some difficulty he does not sit back and weep. Thomas instead looks to his friends, his allies and acquaintances to help him overcome the blip within the plan. Thomas is moments away from entering a code to set his friends free, but their escape is halted and Thomas struggles to figure out why. With the help of his good friend Chuck who suggests Thomas push a glowing button, which Thomas ultimately does and frees his friends and himself. Chuck says to Thomas, “Maybe you should just push that button” (Dashner 346). Something so simple in a time of urgency blinded Thomas as he did not realize a button close to the ground. His friend Theresa pushes the button then to which Thomas says, “She pushed the button and everything went perfectly silent. Then from somewhere down the dark tunnel, came the sound of a door sliding open” (Dashner 346). Thomas had just rescued his friends from the maze and learned that he could always use help from his friends to persevere when faced with adversity. Like Thomas Saul must also rely on his close friends to help him overcome adversity. When Saul arrives in Manitouwadge to play for the Moose he quickly finds himself as an outsider. Saul still needs lots of time to adjust to a new life and to life outside of a residential school. Saul is very independent and very quiet which leads to him being taunted and teased by other teammates. Saul does not overcome adversity on his own and instead relies on his new teammate and friend Virgil. Virgil helps Saul adjust to life in Manitouwadge and to life as a member of the Moose. One of the many examples of Virgil helping Saul overcome adversity is during the first scrimmage. Saul is getting to know his new team and the teammates are not taking him lightly. Virgil acknowledges Saul’s great pass to him by saying, “Nice Pass” (Wagamese 105). This little show of appreciation makes Saul feel more comfortable within the team. Virgil acts as a mentor for Saul during his inauguration into the Moose and into Manitouwadge. At the end of the scrimmage Saul reflects on what Virgil had just done for him as he says, “Virgil thumped me on the back and they all rattled the blades of their sticks on the ice and we thumped across the snow to the shack” (Wagamese 106). Both Saul and Thomas have to overcome adversity through the help of their close friends and allies. The two characters are able to overcome difficult tasks with the help of their friends as they realize they need assistance to overcome this adversity on their own.



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