Hey, with Christmas just around the corner for me I wanted to write this up really quickly since it’s a small part of the book that bothers me.
The character descriptions in The Maze Runner run into a problem that I’m used to seeing across many different books from many different authors. It’s not an issue that can ruin a work for me, I even did this a lot when I was younger, but something I want to point out here.
There are twelve named characters in the story so far: Thomas, Chuck, Newt, Alby, Minho, Ben, Gally, Zart, Frypan, Clint, Jeff, and Winston. First of all, that’s a lot of characters. Sure, not all of these characters are important, but still. Second of all, only Alby and Minho are described in terms of skin color and/or race.
In the writing circles I hang around in it’s a much talked about mechanic that highlighting a CoC (character of color) race or skin color while not doing that for white characters not only marks the CoCs as ‘other‘ but makes white the default.
Going off of the first 16 chapters there’s only one black guy and one Asian guy (there may be two Asians since an Asian guy was mentioned when Thomas first got out of the box, but he’s never brought up again so it could just be Minho). For all the named characters it’s not great on the racial diversity front, especially with how many boys are supposed to be in the Glade.
Sure, some of the unnamed Gladers could very well be nonwhite, that’s probably the case, but with Thomas’s descriptions it…it’s just a bit disappointing.
The solutions to this vary, though the one I’ve seen the most is that if an author is going to describe race and skin color it should be done for every character, not just the nonwhite ones.
Again, this doesn’t ruin the book, or any book, for me it’s just something I noticed and wanted to point it out. We’ll have to see if this continues with the rest of the series.