The Circle

Mae Holland

The protagonist of The Circle, Mae Holland is a bright young woman whose friend, Annie Allerton, gets her a job at the Circle. Over the course of the novel, Mae goes from being politely… (read full character analysis)

Annie Allerton

Annie Allerton is a high-ranking member of the Circle (one of the so-called “Gang of 40”), but it’s never made clear what, precisely, she does. Annie is an old friend of Mae Holland’s, and… (read full character analysis)

Ty Gospodinov / Kalden

Ty Gospodinov, an introverted computer genius, is the founder of the Circle and the creator of TruYou, the online identity system at the core of the Circle’s success. In creating TruYou, Ty thought that he… (read full character analysis)

Tom Stenton

Tom Stenton is one of the Three Wise Men who run the Circle. Of the three, he’s the most stereotypically corporate—aggressive, dangerously charismatic, and ethically lax. Throughout the novel, Stenton seems to play a minor… (read full character analysis)

Eamon Bailey

Eamon Bailey is one of the Three Wise Men who run the Circle. Of the three, he is the most charismatic and—at least according to Ty Gospodinov—sincere. Bailey is a folksy speaker, a pious… (read full character analysis)
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Francis Garaventa

Francis Garaventa is a Circle employee who dates Mae Holland on and off for most of the book. Francis could also be considered Eggers’s portrait of (or, if you prefer, his nasty caricature of) the… (read full character analysis)

Mercer Medeiros

Mercer Medeiros, Mae Holland’s old boyfriend, embodies the analog way of living and the last gasp of resistance to the Circle’s unethical philosophy of transparency. He’s everything that Circle employees aren’t: confident, outspoken, good… (read full character analysis)

Vinnie Holland (Mae’s father)

Vinnie Holland, Mae’s father, is a loving parent who suffers from MS and is unable to get good healthcare. To help her father, Mae arranges for him to receive high-end healthcare from the Circle. However… (read full character analysis)

Mae’s mother

Mae’s mother is proud of Mae when she gets a job at the Circle; she’s even prouder when Mae arranges for the Circle to provide healthcare for Vinnie Holland (her husband). However, Mae’s mother quickly… (read full character analysis)

Dr. Villalobos

Dr. Villalobos is Mae’s doctor at the Circle. She is beautiful and she loves being on camera, but her medical knowledge and ethics become suspect as she treats Mae based on comments from Mae’s watchers… (read full character analysis)

Julian Assange

Controversial, real-life Internet activist and founder of Wikileaks, a website that leaks government secrets. In The Circle, Eamon Bailey offers Julian Assange as an example of a great man who is committed to the… (read full character analysis)
Minor Characters
Renata
A Circle employee who greets Mae on her first day.
Josiah
An HR employee at the Circle.
Denise
An HR employee at the Circle.
Rob
A payroll employee at the Circle.
Tasha
A notary at the Circle.
Jon
A payroll employee at the Circle.
Brandon
A circle employee who gives Mae Holland her communication devices.
Dan
Mae’s boss in the Customer Experience department.
Sabine
A Circle employee who is working on implanting tracking devices in human bone.
Josef
A Circle employee.
Alistair
A Circle employee who invites Mae Holland to brunch and, when she misses his online invitation, becomes extremely upset.
Gus Khazeni
A Circle employee who develops a dating tool called LuvLuv.
Marion
The owner of a kayak rental shop that Mae Holland frequents.
Walt
The son of Marion.
Senator Williamson
Senator Williams tries to sue the Circle for being a monopoly, and she is immediately disgraced by a leak that suggests that her computer contains “immoral” content. Later, it’s revealed that the Circle deliberately embarrassed Williamson in order to avoid a lawsuit.
Olivia Santos
A Congresswoman who volunteers to “go clear”—i.e., to be surveilled at all times in order to prove that she has nothing to hide.
Stewart
A Circle employee who “goes clear.”
Tania Schwartz
A college friend of Mae Holland who reaches out to Mae to build support for an Internet campaign designed to “raise awareness” of social injustices in Guatemala.
Gunner Bailey
The son of Eamon Bailey, who suffers from cerebral palsy.
Georgia
A marine biologist who was hired by Tom Stenton to feed the sea creatures living in captivity at the Circle, Georgia resigns because she refuses to feed the sea creatures unusual foods at Stenton’s request.
Terry
A Circle employee who works on a program to test students.
Jackie
A Circle employee who works on a program to rank students.
Pete Ramirez
A Circle employee who gives Mae Holland a headset.
Sharma
A Circle employee who works on Demoxie.
Jared
Mae Holland’s supervisor in Customer Experience.
Gina
A no-nonsense employee at The Circle who sets Mae up with her various social networking accounts and explains the company's expectations of Mae. She's jealous of Mae's constant communication with Annie.