The Circle

Francis Garaventa Character Analysis

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 typical Bay Area “tech nerd”—even his first name suggests his symbolic connection with San Francisco. Francis is a shy, awkward man. He suffers from premature ejaculations, which means that he and Mae have many erotic encounters but they never have sex. In spite of Francis’s awkwardness and sexual difficulties, Mae finds him to be adorable and deeply sympathetic. In part, his allure has to do with his difficult childhood: more than one of Francis’s siblings were killed while he was still a child, and, as a result, he is passionately working to design a program for tracking down kidnapped children. Francis is, one could argue, the archetypal “shy boy” who some people find sexy—he’s quiet and awkward, but his awkwardness makes him strangely alluring.

Francis Garaventa Quotes in The Circle

The The Circle quotes below are all either spoken by Francis Garaventa or refer to Francis Garaventa. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Social Networking and the Internet Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Vintage edition of The Circle published in 2014.
Book One, part 2 Quotes

"It's the worst story," Annie said. "His parents were such fuckups. I think there were like four or five kids in the family, and Francis was youngest or second-youngest, and anyway the dad was in jail, and the mom was on drugs, so the kids were sent all over the place. I think one went to his aunt and uncle, and his two sisters were sent to some foster home, and then they were abducted from there. I guess there was some doubt if they were, you know, given or sold to the murderers."
"The what?" Mae had gone limp.
"Oh god, they were raped and kept in closets and their bodies were dropped down some kind of abandoned missile silo. I mean, it was the worst story ever.”

Related Characters: Mae Holland (speaker), Annie Allerton (speaker), Francis Garaventa
Page Number: 58
Explanation and Analysis:
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Book One, part 6 Quotes

"You're enjoying this?" she asked.

"Mm-hm," he managed.

Mae thrilled at her power over him. Watching Francis, his hands on the bed, his penis straining against his pants, she thought of something she could say. It was corny, and she would never say it if she thought anyone would ever know she'd said it, but it made her smile, and she knew it would send Francis, this shy boy, over the edge.

Related Characters: Mae Holland (speaker), Francis Garaventa
Page Number: 203-204
Explanation and Analysis:
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Book One, part 8 Quotes

"Was the information he presented incorrect? There were factual mistakes?"

"Well, it wasn't that. It was just . . . piecemeal. And maybe that made it seem incorrect. It was taking a few slivers of me and presenting that as the whole me—"
"It seemed incomplete." "Right."
"Mae, I'm very glad you put it that way. As you know, the Circle is itself trying to become complete. We're trying to close the circle at the Circle." He smiled at his own wordplay. "But you know the overall goals of completion, I assume."

Related Characters: Mae Holland (speaker), Eamon Bailey (speaker), Francis Garaventa, Gus Khazeni
Page Number: 289
Explanation and Analysis:
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Francis Garaventa Character Timeline in The Circle

The timeline below shows where the character Francis Garaventa appears in The Circle. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Book One, part 2
Social Networking and the Internet Theme Icon
...hidden some wine in a nearby pool. Mae follows the man, who introduces himself as Francis Garaventa. She notices that he has an older man’s eyes, but young, soft skin. Francis... (full context)
Totalitarianism and Indoctrination Theme Icon
Utopianism and Perfection Theme Icon
Annie sees Mae and Francis talking and she comes to greet them. Francis seems oddly intimidated by Annie, and he... (full context)
Social Networking and the Internet Theme Icon
Surveillance and Transparency Theme Icon
...it. Josef works in the Education Access department, and he says that he’s friends with Francis Garaventa—Francis had told him that he met someone “very nice” named Mae. Josef and Annie... (full context)
Book One, part 3
Social Networking and the Internet Theme Icon
...her low scores, but her clients are grumpy and irritable. She receives a message from Francis inviting her to lunch. (full context)
Social Networking and the Internet Theme Icon
Surveillance and Transparency Theme Icon
Privacy Theme Icon
At lunch, Mae sees Francis, and she notes that he seems unusually delicate—almost as if he’s shrunk since she last... (full context)
Social Networking and the Internet Theme Icon
After work, Mae asks Francis if he wants to hang out. They get dinner in San Francisco and afterwards Mae... (full context)
Book One, part 4
Social Networking and the Internet Theme Icon
Surveillance and Transparency Theme Icon
In the days following her kiss with Francis, Mae wonders if she’s falling in love. Although she decides that she’s only “halfway” to... (full context)
Privacy Theme Icon
One Friday, Mae and Francis sit in the Great Hall for the weekly presentation of new information. The speaker, Gus... (full context)
Privacy Theme Icon
Later that day, Mae is still furious with Francis and Francis tries to apologize to her to no avail. Francis leaves Mae to work... (full context)
Book One, part 6
Surveillance and Transparency Theme Icon
Privacy Theme Icon
At work, Mae focuses on her customers, and ignores Francis’s endless stream of messages and apology videos. Annie returns from Peru on Friday and meets... (full context)
Social Networking and the Internet Theme Icon
Privacy Theme Icon
Later that night, Francis comes to Mae’s dorm and asks her to come to his own dorm. There, Francis... (full context)
Surveillance and Transparency Theme Icon
Privacy Theme Icon
Mae says that she should go, and Francis says “Okay” dispassionately. Mae is vaguely offended—she wants Francis to ask her to stay. She... (full context)
Surveillance and Transparency Theme Icon
Privacy Theme Icon
...Tom Stenton is about to give a talk. Mae has told Annie about the video Francis took, and Annie points out that, as long as Francis doesn’t show it to people,... (full context)
Book One, part 7
Social Networking and the Internet Theme Icon
Privacy Theme Icon
...to follow Kalden, but doesn’t see him. When she returns to her desk, she finds Francis waiting for her. Seeing Francis in person, Mae realizes that she finds him “disgusting”—weak and... (full context)
Book One, part 8
Surveillance and Transparency Theme Icon
Privacy Theme Icon
Totalitarianism and Indoctrination Theme Icon
...day of the demonstration. Nevertheless, Bailey argues that none of the information that Gus and Francis talked about was incorrect or even particularly offensive. Mae argues that the information they presented... (full context)
Book Two, part 1
Social Networking and the Internet Theme Icon
Surveillance and Transparency Theme Icon
Totalitarianism and Indoctrination Theme Icon
Utopianism and Perfection Theme Icon
...the program “intersects with TruYou,” so Mae asks and Jackie leads her to speak with Francis. Francis, whom Mae hasn’t seen in weeks, greets Jackie and Mae and explains that he’s... (full context)
Social Networking and the Internet Theme Icon
Surveillance and Transparency Theme Icon
Totalitarianism and Indoctrination Theme Icon
Later in the afternoon, Mae thinks about Francis. He’s unattractive, and she knows that he has problems with premature ejaculations. However, Mae suddenly... (full context)
Social Networking and the Internet Theme Icon
Surveillance and Transparency Theme Icon
Totalitarianism and Indoctrination Theme Icon
After leaving her office, Mae “found herself” in Francis’s room. She goes to Francis because everyone else in her life has abandoned her. Francis... (full context)
Social Networking and the Internet Theme Icon
Totalitarianism and Indoctrination Theme Icon
Afterwards, Francis asks Mae for a second fantasy: he wants her to rate him from 1 to... (full context)
Book Two, part 2
Totalitarianism and Indoctrination Theme Icon
...proposal to allow people to vote online has been widely celebrated. She meets up with Francis, who congratulates her on her “poise” during the meeting—“you were a 100,” he says. Francis... (full context)
Surveillance and Transparency Theme Icon
Totalitarianism and Indoctrination Theme Icon
The next morning, Mae wakes up in her dorm room lying next to Francis and her phone rings. She sees that the caller ID is blocked, and knows that... (full context)
Social Networking and the Internet Theme Icon
Surveillance and Transparency Theme Icon
Mae goes back to her dorm, where Francis is waiting. He kisses Mae, and Mae wonders if, this time, they’ll have “a real... (full context)
Social Networking and the Internet Theme Icon
Utopianism and Perfection Theme Icon
...presenter insists, will cut down on unethical “stop and search” procedures. The presenter suggests using Francis’s child tracking program to identify suspects. Stenton approves of the idea, saying, “It’s the community’s... (full context)
Book Three
Totalitarianism and Indoctrination Theme Icon
Utopianism and Perfection Theme Icon
...ten million people worldwide have gone clear, which suggests that “the movement is irreversible.” Suddenly, Francis walks into the room and waves to her; Mae waves back. (full context)