The Circle

Mae Holland Character Analysis

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 skeptical of the Circle’s policies (especially its insistence on active social networking) to becoming an enthusiastic advocate for these policies. Little by little, Mae comes to accept that privacy is immoral, that human beings have an obligation to socialize with millions of other human beings via the Internet, and that the Circle is building a global utopia. She becomes distant from her family and old friends, effectively trading a couple dozen “real people” for millions of virtual friends worldwide. As Mae becomes increasingly loyal to the Circle, it becomes increasingly obvious to readers that Mae is a pawn: the Circle’s executives are using her as a poster child for their company and a tool with which to manipulate the world’s population into accepting the Circle. In the novel’s final pages, Mae betrays Ty Gospodinov—the founder of the Circle, who has come to question his company’s ethics—which signifies that she has surrendered to the Circle’s corrupt agenda.

Mae Holland Quotes in The Circle

The The Circle quotes below are all either spoken by Mae Holland or refer to Mae Holland. 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 1 Quotes

Their first month living together Mae had broken her jaw one twilight, after fainting, flu-ridden and underfed, during finals. Annie had told her to stay in bed, but Mae had gone to the 7-Eleven for caffeine and woke up on the sidewalk, under a tree. Annie took her to the hospital, and waited as they wired her jaw, and then stayed with Mae, sleeping next to her, in a wooden chair, all night, and then at home, for days, had fed Mae through a straw. It was a fierce level of commitment and competence that Mae had never seen from someone her age or near her age, and Mae was thereafter loyal in a way she'd never known she could be.

Related Characters: Mae Holland, Annie Allerton
Page Number: 2-3
Explanation and Analysis:
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The more she looked at it, the stranger it became. The artist had arranged it such that each of the Wise Men had placed a hand on another's shoulder. It made no sense and defied the way arms could bend or stretch.

Page Number: 25
Explanation and Analysis:
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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 4 Quotes

So what had so mortified her during Gus's presentation? She couldn't put her finger on it. Was it only the surprise of it? Was it the pinpoint accuracy of the algorithms? Maybe. But then again, it wasn't entirely accurate, so was that the problem? Having a matrix of preferences presented as your essence, as the whole you? Maybe that was it. It was some kind of mirror, but it was incomplete, distorted.

Related Characters: Mae Holland, Gus Khazeni
Page Number: 126
Explanation and Analysis:
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"It's not that I'm not social. I'm social enough. But the tools you guys create actually manufacture unnaturally extreme social needs. No one needs the level of contact you're purveying. It improves nothing. It's not nourishing. It's like snack food. You know how they engineer this food? They scientifically determine precisely how much salt and fat they need to include to keep you eating. You're not hungry, you don't need the food, it does nothing for you, but you keep eating these empty calories. This is what you're pushing. Same thing. Endless empty calories, but the digital-social equivalent. And you calibrate it so it's equally addictive."

Related Characters: Mercer Medeiros (speaker), Mae Holland
Page Number: 134
Explanation and Analysis:
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Book One, part 5 Quotes

"'Were you here when that burned?" the man asked, pointing to a large uninhabited island in the middle of the bay. It rose, mute and black, behind them. Mae shook her head.
‘It burned for two days. We had just gotten here' At night, the heat—you could feel it even here. We swam every night in this godforsaken water, just to stay cool. We thought the world was ending."

Related Characters: Mae Holland
Related Symbols: The Elderly Couple
Page Number: 144
Explanation and Analysis:
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"Okay. Can you drink this?" The doctor handed Mae the dense green liquid she'd been preparing. "It's a smoothie."
Mae drank it down. It was viscous and cold.
"Okay, you just ingested the sensor that will connect to your wrist monitor. It was in that glass." The doctor punched Mae's shoulder playfully. "I love doing that."

Related Characters: Dr. Villalobos (speaker), Mae Holland
Page Number: 155
Explanation and Analysis:
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Book One, part 6 Quotes

"That's very understandable. To spend time with your parents, believe me, I think that is very, very cool. I just want to emphasize the community aspect of this job. We see this workplace as a community, and every person who works here is part of that community. And to make it all work it requires a certain level of participation. It's like, if we were a kindergarten class, and one girl has a party, and only half the class shows up, how does the birthday girl feel?"

Related Characters: Dan (speaker), Mae Holland
Page Number: 179
Explanation and Analysis:
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"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 7 Quotes

The extra layer of the CircleSurveys helped distract Mae from thinking about Kalden, who had yet to contact her, and who had not once answered his phone. She'd stopped calling after two days, and had chosen not to mention him at all to Annie or anyone else. Her thoughts about him followed a similar path as they had after their first encounter, at the circus. First, she found his unavailability intriguing, even novel. But after three days, it seemed willful and adolescent. By the fourth day, she was tired of the game. Anyone who disappeared like that was not a serious person. He wasn't serious about her or how she felt.

Related Characters: Mae Holland, Ty Gospodinov / Kalden
Related Symbols: The Voice
Page Number: 235
Explanation and Analysis:
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She thought of the foxes that might be underneath her, the crabs that might be hiding under the stones on the shore, the people in the cars that might be passing overhead, the men and women in the tugs and tankers, arriving to port or leaving, sighing, everyone having seen everything. She guessed at it all, what might live, moving purposefully or drifting aimlessly, in the deep water around her, but she didn't think too much about any of it. It was enough to be aware of the million permutations possible around her, and take comfort in knowing she would not, and really could not, know much at all.

Related Characters: Mae Holland
Related Symbols: Kayaking
Page Number: 272
Explanation and Analysis:
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Book One, part 8 Quotes

"And I would argue that any place in the world where gays are still persecuted, you could instantly achieve great progress if all the gays and lesbians came out publicly at once. Then whoever is persecuting them, and all those who tacitly support this persecution, would realize that to persecute them would mean persecuting at least 10 percent of the population—including their sons, daughters, neighbors and friends—even their own parents. It would be instantly untenable. But the persecution of gays or any minority group is made uniquely possible through secrecy."

"Okay. I hadn't thought of it that way."

Related Characters: Mae Holland (speaker), Eamon Bailey (speaker)
Page Number: 286
Explanation and Analysis:
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"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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Somewhere in the stampeding applause, Bailey managed to announce the capper to it all—that Mae, in the interest of sharing all she saw and could offer the world, would be going transparent immediately.

Related Characters: Mae Holland, Eamon Bailey
Page Number: 306
Explanation and Analysis:
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Book Two, part 1 Quotes

Later that day, a headache appeared—caused, she thought, by eating less chocolate than usual. She reached into her bag, where she kept a few

single-serving aspirin packets, but again, on her screen, she saw what everyone was seeing. She saw a hand searching her bag, clawing, and instantly she felt desperate and wretched, like some kind of pill-popping addict.
She did without.

Related Characters: Mae Holland
Page Number: 331
Explanation and Analysis:
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"Mae."
She wanted to hear it again, so she said nothing. "Mae."
It was a young woman's voice, a young woman's voice that sounded bright and fierce and capable of anything.
"Mae."
It was a better, more indomitable version of herself. "Mae.”
She felt stronger every time she heard it.

Related Characters: Mae Holland
Related Symbols: The Voice
Page Number: 333
Explanation and Analysis:
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Book Two, part 2 Quotes

Mae caught her breath. She knew this was a demonstration only, but the power felt real. And it felt right. Why wouldn't the wisdom of three hundred million Americans be taken into account when making a decision that affected them all? Mae paused, thinking, weighing the pros and cons. The Circlers in the room seemed to be taking the responsibility as seriously as Mae: How many lives would be saved by killing al-Hamed? It could be thousands, and the world would be rid of an evil man. The risk seemed worth it. She voted yes. The full tally arrived after one minute, eleven seconds: 71 percent of Circlers favored a drone strike.

Related Characters: Mae Holland
Page Number: 407
Explanation and Analysis:
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Why were they sabotaging everything Mae was working for? But what was she working for, anyway, if 368 Circlers didn't approve of her? Three hundred and sixty-eight people who apparently actively hated her, enough to push a button at her—to send their loathing directly to her, knowing she would know, immediately, their sentiments.

Related Characters: Mae Holland
Page Number: 413
Explanation and Analysis:
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"Mae, they just got up and left. They never called 911 or anything. There's no record of it. They never reported it. But the body was found the next day. The guy wasn't even homeless. He was maybe a little mentally disabled but he lived with his parents and worked at a deli, washing dishes. My parents just watched him drown."
Now Annie was choking on her tears.
"Have you told them about this?"
"No. I can't talk to them. They're really disgusting to me right now"

Related Characters: Mae Holland (speaker), Annie Allerton (speaker)
Page Number: 443
Explanation and Analysis:
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"Let's cut the video feed," Stenton said to Mae, "in the interest of allowing her some dignity."

Related Characters: Tom Stenton (speaker), Mae Holland
Page Number: 456
Explanation and Analysis:
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Book Two, part 3 Quotes

He couldn't get enough of the shark, its anxious circling.

"Until next time," Stenton said finally. He nodded to Mae, and then to her watchers, who were now one hundred million, many of them terrified, many more in awe and wanting more of the same.

Related Characters: Tom Stenton (speaker), Mae Holland
Related Symbols: The Octopus, The Seahorse, The Shark
Page Number: 482
Explanation and Analysis:
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"But there are a thousand protections to prevent all of this. It's just not possible. I mean, governments will make sure—"
"Governments who are transparent? Legislators who owe their reputations to the Circle? Who could be ruined the moment they speak out? What do you think happened to Williamson? Remember her? She threatens the Circle monopoly and, surprise, the feds find incriminating stuff on her computer. You think that's a coincidence? That's about the hundredth person Stenton's done that to. Mae, once the Circle's complete, that's it. And you helped complete it. This democracy thing, or Demoxie, whatever it is, good god. Under the guise of having every voice heard, you create mob rule, a filterless society where secrets are crimes."

Related Characters: Mae Holland (speaker), Ty Gospodinov / Kalden (speaker), Tom Stenton, Eamon Bailey
Page Number: 488
Explanation and Analysis:
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Mae pictured all this. She pictured the Circle being taken apart, sold off amid scandal, thirteen thousand people out of jobs, the campus overtaken, broken up, turned into a college or mall or something worse. And finally she pictured life on a boat with this man, sailing the world, untethered, but when she tried to, she saw, instead, the couple on the barge she'd met months ago on the bay. Out there, alone, living under a tarp, drinking wine from paper cups, naming seals, reminiscing about island fires.
At that moment, Mae knew what she needed to do.

Related Characters: Mae Holland (speaker), Ty Gospodinov / Kalden (speaker)
Related Symbols: The Elderly Couple
Page Number: 491
Explanation and Analysis:
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Book Three Quotes

What was going on in that head of hers? It was exasperating, really, Mae thought, not knowing. It was an affront, a deprivation, to herself and to the world. She would bring this up with Stenton and Bailey, with the Gang of 40, at the earliest opportunity. They needed to talk about Annie, the thoughts she was thinking. Why shouldn't they know them? The world deserved nothing less and would not wait.

Related Characters: Mae Holland, Annie Allerton
Page Number: 497
Explanation and Analysis:
Quotes explanation short mobile
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Mae Holland Character Timeline in The Circle

The timeline below shows where the character Mae Holland appears in The Circle. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Book One, part 1
Social Networking and the Internet Theme Icon
On a bright, sunny day in June, a young woman named Mae arrives at a beautiful, colorful corporate campus. She walks down a road made of cobblestones,... (full context)
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Mae has been hired to work for the Circle, thanks in large part to the help... (full context)
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Mae enters the main company building. Inside, a young woman named Renata greets her, and explains... (full context)
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Renata and Mae walk across an elevated steel grating through which Mae can see the ground below. Mae... (full context)
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Mae thinks back to her time in her hometown of Longfield, California, which is located just... (full context)
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As Mae surveys her ugly cubicle and thinks about her previous job, she hears Annie say, “Now... (full context)
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As Annie leads Mae around the building, Mae thinks about Annie’s college days. In college, Annie was something of... (full context)
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Annie explains that Mae will be working in the Customer Experience department, but she assures Mae that about half... (full context)
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Annie takes Mae to the “Ochre Library,” a large, private reading room with an aesthetic that seems uncharacteristically... (full context)
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Annie tells Mae more about Ty’s role in the company. Ty’s great idea—the one on which the Circle... (full context)
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...Somehow, Ty, Bailey, and Stenton balance each other out and keep the company successful. As Mae looks at the painting carefully, she realizes how poorly painted it is. Somehow, the three... (full context)
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Annie shows Mae the rest of the library. It contains tens of thousands of leather-bound books, a testament... (full context)
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Annie tells Mae that she needs to go back to work. She leads Mae down to the cafeteria... (full context)
Book One, part 2
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In the evening, Mae meets up with Annie at the Circle’s solstice party. They load their plates with delicious... (full context)
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As Mae socializes with her new coworkers, she hears a male voice saying, “Look at this one.... (full context)
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Annie sees Mae and Francis talking and she comes to greet them. Francis seems oddly intimidated by Annie,... (full context)
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The next day, Mae arrives at work early and Renata shows Mae to her real office. She’s taken to... (full context)
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Annie greets Mae, and Mae is so overwhelmed with gratitude that she embraces Annie and whispers, “Thank you.”... (full context)
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Dan shows Mae to her desk and introduces her to her trainer, Jared. Jared explains that Mae will... (full context)
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Jared leaves Mae with some user questions. Mae spends the rest of the morning answer questions and following... (full context)
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By the end of her first week, Mae has memorized boilerplate responses to give to customers. She already feels comfortable with Customer Experience,... (full context)
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On Friday, Mae gets lunch with Annie, and Annie praises Mae for her excellent work. Annie notes that... (full context)
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After lunch, Annie, Mae, and the other Circle employees congregate in the Great Hall, which is a cavernous space... (full context)
Surveillance and Transparency Theme Icon
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...few Circle cameras himself. Now, Bailey can check up on his mother at any time. Mae whispers to Annie, “This is incredible.” Bailey concludes, “All that happens will be known.” (full context)
Book One, part 3
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It’s Saturday, and Mae is eating dinner with her parents to celebrate her first week at the Circle. Mae’s... (full context)
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At dinner, Mae’s mother tells Mae that she’s bragged about Mae’s salary and health insurance to her friends... (full context)
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Mae asks her parents about their insurance, and they tell her that things aren’t going well.... (full context)
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Mae sleeps late at her parents’ house and they go to a diner for lunch. Mae’s... (full context)
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After saying goodbye to her parents, Mae drives out to the beach. As she drives, she remembers Mercer (her old boyfriend) teaching... (full context)
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On Monday morning, Mae throws herself into her work. Mondays are always busy, because the user requests from the... (full context)
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At lunch, Mae sees Francis, and she notes that he seems unusually delicate—almost as if he’s shrunk since... (full context)
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For the rest of the afternoon, Mae’s aggregate score is barely a 93. Dan messages Mae to ask her to meet a... (full context)
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Utopianism and Perfection Theme Icon
As Kalden leaves, a cold-looking woman walks into the room, greets Mae, and introduces herself as Gina. She asks Mae if now would be a good time... (full context)
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Totalitarianism and Indoctrination Theme Icon
Gina sets up a Zing account for Mae, and tells Mae that the Circle expects her to “zing” at least ten times a... (full context)
Privacy Theme Icon
Totalitarianism and Indoctrination Theme Icon
Utopianism and Perfection Theme Icon
Before leaving, Gina shows Mae one more thing: the Participation Rank, or “PartiRank.” All Circle employees are ranked on their... (full context)
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Totalitarianism and Indoctrination Theme Icon
In the evening, Mae stays late to look through the messages she’s receiving from her Outer and Inner Circles.... (full context)
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On Tuesday, Mae’s workload is lighter, but she spends three hours looking through her Outer and Inner Circle... (full context)
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Mae meets Annie for lunch. Annie tells Mae that she’s been following Mae’s “conflict resolution” with... (full context)
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Mae returns to her desk, where she’s left her phone, she and sees that Annie has... (full context)
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After work, Mae asks Francis if he wants to hang out. They get dinner in San Francisco and... (full context)
Book One, part 4
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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 love,... (full context)
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One Friday, Mae and Francis sit in the Great Hall for the weekly presentation of new information. The... (full context)
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Later that day, Mae is still furious with Francis and Francis tries to apologize to her to no avail.... (full context)
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Mae is so wrapped up in her anger that she doesn’t notice her mother messaging her;... (full context)
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At dinner, Mae learns that her father had been experiencing blurred vision all day and he collapsed later... (full context)
Totalitarianism and Indoctrination Theme Icon
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Mae thanks Mercer for helping her dad and she walks to her room. A few minutes... (full context)
Book One, part 5
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Mae wakes up on Saturday and spends the day with her father. On Sunday, she wakes... (full context)
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Furious with her mother, Mae drives out to her favorite kayaking spot and finds that Marion’s son, Walt, is running... (full context)
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Mae kayaks out to a distant fishing boat, where she finds an elderly couple sitting down... (full context)
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Suddenly, Mae realizes that she needs to return her kayak in eight minutes. She says her goodbyes... (full context)
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On Monday, Mae comes into work and realizes that she’s missed several Circle parties and mixers over the... (full context)
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In the later afternoon, Mae leaves her desk, per Dan’s request, and goes to the Circle clinic. There, a strikingly... (full context)
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Dr. Villalobos asks Mae a series of medical questions. When she asks if Mae’s parents’ health is good, Mae,... (full context)
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As Mae is standing alone in Annie’s office, Annie calls her and explains that she’s “twisted a... (full context)
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Later in the evening, Mae checks her tablet for a list of potential activities: she could go to lectures, poetry... (full context)
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Mae walks with Kalden and abruptly tells him, “You don’t remember my name.” Kalden admits he... (full context)
Book One, part 6
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The morning after she reunites with Kalden, Mae calls Annie and tells her that she’s met someone—someone with grey hair. Annie is perplexed,... (full context)
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Alone, Mae thinks about meeting Kalden the previous evening. She thinks about how they walked around the... (full context)
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At work, Mae focuses on her customers, and ignores Francis’s endless stream of messages and apology videos. Annie... (full context)
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One afternoon, Dan asks to speak with Mae; in his office, he tells her that she’s been getting great aggregate ratings. Then, he... (full context)
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Dan takes Mae to meet with Josiah and Denise from HR. Denise greets Mae by saying, “You’re such... (full context)
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Denise and Josiah explain that they’re afraid that Mae’s is becoming “sub-social.” They suggest that she meet up with a man named Pete Ramirez,... (full context)
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The next morning, Mae goes to her desk and finds her screens covered with messages of congratulations from her... (full context)
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One evening, Mae finds herself thinking about Kalden. She texts Annie and tells her that she hasn’t heard... (full context)
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Later that night, Francis comes to Mae’s dorm and asks her to come to his own dorm. There, Francis plays delicate piano... (full context)
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Mae says that she should go, and Francis says “Okay” dispassionately. Mae is vaguely offended—she wants... (full context)
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On Friday, Annie and Mae are sitting in the Great Hall, where Tom Stenton is about to give a talk.... (full context)
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...at an all-time low—indeed, Senator Williamson was just put under investigation for various ethical violations (Mae hasn’t heard this before). To restore people’s trust in their elected leaders, Stenton proposes that... (full context)
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...Santos. Ty appears via webcam, congratulating the Circle for its “awesome new step” toward transparency. Mae notices that Ty seems tired, with bags under his eyes, and doesn't seem to want... (full context)
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While walking around the party, Mae encounters Kalden. Immediately, she asks him why she’s been unable to find him, and he... (full context)
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When Kalden and Mae are alone again, she asks where the “stuff from Stewart’s camera” goes. Kalden says that... (full context)
Surveillance and Transparency Theme Icon
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Kalden leads Mae to a large room, in which there’s a huge red box. Kalden explains that the... (full context)
Book One, part 7
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The morning after having sex with Kalden, Mae wakes up in her dorm room. She calls Annie and tells her that she had... (full context)
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After lunch, Mae meets with Pete Ramirez, per Josiah and Denise’s requests. Ramirez explains that he doesn’t have... (full context)
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Back at her desk, Mae hears a voice in her headset asking her questions about her ideal vacation, including how... (full context)
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One day, Mae sees Kalden walking into her office. Just as she’s about to greet him, she hears... (full context)
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Meanwhile, the Circle itself becomes a transparent campus—cameras are installed everywhere. People Mae hasn’t talked to in years see her working and message her. She begins to put... (full context)
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On the same day that she “frowns” about the Guatemalan paramilitaries, Mae gets a call from a blocked number while she’s in the bathroom. It’s Kalden. He... (full context)
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Back at her desk, Mae finds Gina. Gina explains to Mae that the Circle needs to generate revenue by advertising... (full context)
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A few nights after her meeting with Gina, Mae drives out to see her father, who’s now using Circle insurance. When she greets her... (full context)
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At dinner, Mae’s mother raises a toast to Mae, thanking her for providing her father with health insurance.... (full context)
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Driving away from her parents’ house, Mae thinks about how much she dislikes Mercer; he’s fat and anti-social. She vows never to... (full context)
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Mae hears a sound and turns to see a harbor seal swimming behind her. The seal... (full context)
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Afterwards, Mae kayaks back to the beach and drops off her kayak. Suddenly, a voice yells, “Stay... (full context)
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The next day, Mae goes into work as usual and gets a message from Dan. Mae enters Dan’s office,... (full context)
Book One, part 8
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The afternoon after her conversation with Dan, Mae finds it impossible to focus on anything. She feels guilty for having taken the kayak... (full context)
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Inside the library, Mae meets Eamon Bailey. Immediately, he asks her if she’s ever been here before; Mae denies... (full context)
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Bailey asks Mae, “Are you ever happy when a friend keeps a secret from you?” Mae is forced... (full context)
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Bailey reminds Mae of her role in Gus’s LuvLuv demonstration, and he asks why she felt uncomfortable. Mae... (full context)
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Mae awkwardly blurts out that “some things” about people should be kept private—their sex lives, for... (full context)
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In the days following her conversation with Bailey, Mae feels dizzy and exhilarated. Her work remains excellent, and her PartiRank is very respectable. On... (full context)
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The presentation begins. Bailey invites Mae to the stage, where he asks Mae about the “awakening” she had in the previous... (full context)
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Bailey asks Mae about her kayaking. He wonders why Mae hasn’t posted any videos or pictures from her... (full context)
Book Two, part 1
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...hitherto undiscovered species of shark, which he displays in a tank at the Circle campus. Mae’s new job at the Circle is to show her watchers the shark, along with the... (full context)
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Mae has been at the Circle for nearly a year, and during this time, there have... (full context)
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Mae walks back to the shark tank, where she greets a marine biologist named Georgia who... (full context)
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As Mae watches the shark, she sees a figure standing by the aquarium—it’s Kalden. Mae hasn’t heard... (full context)
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Later in the afternoon, Mae goes to her Customer Experience office. After going clear, Bailey asked her to remain working... (full context)
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Mae also finds that being watched changes her behavior on a second-by-second level. She doesn’t eat... (full context)
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In the evening, Mae attends an improv show and participates in a fundraiser for schools in Pakistan, which amasses... (full context)
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The next day, Mae wakes up and greets her watchers. She sees a news notification about how the world’s... (full context)
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Mae proceeds with her touring of the campus. She greets a man named Terry who is... (full context)
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Later in the afternoon, Mae thinks about Francis. He’s unattractive, and she knows that he has problems with premature ejaculations.... (full context)
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Mae remembers that she has to see Dr. Villalobos in ten minutes. Suddenly, she sees Annie... (full context)
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In the bathroom, Mae is allowed to turn off her microphone, though she leaves her camera on—the “rules” give... (full context)
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Mae walks to Dr. Villalobos. Because she’s so beautiful, Dr. Villalobos has become popular with Mae’s... (full context)
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Dr. Villalobos next tells Mae that there’s a problem with her parents. The Circle has installed cameras in Mae’s parents’... (full context)
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At five, Mae drives to visit her parents, furious that they’ve disrespected the Circle. She begins to wonder... (full context)
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Mae thinks back on her first days of living transparently. Her watchers sent her thousands of... (full context)
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After dinner, Mae’s parents request that Mae watch a movie with them. They do, and afterwards Mae says... (full context)
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Mae decides to drive back to her parents’ house to talk to them. She walks inside,... (full context)
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Mae drives back to the Circle, thinking, “home was madness.” She finds it difficult to be... (full context)
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Mae feels a tear deep within her. She can’t stop thinking about Mercer—his sanctimonious letter, and... (full context)
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After leaving her office, Mae “found herself” in Francis’s room. She goes to Francis because everyone else in her life... (full context)
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Afterwards, Francis asks Mae for a second fantasy: he wants her to rate him from 1 to 100. Impatient,... (full context)
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The next day, Mae goes to a large glass building, where she greets the Gang of 40, the group... (full context)
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Bailey announces his next major project: automatically registering all Circle users to vote. Mae raises her hand and suggests that Bailey take this idea one step further: require every... (full context)
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Annie disagrees with Mae’s point: why bother building a “wraparound service” when the government could do so? The Gang... (full context)
Book Two, part 2
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It’s the night after Mae’s meeting with the Gang of 40, and Mae feels wonderful: she’s been praised and validated... (full context)
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The next morning, Mae wakes up in her dorm room lying next to Francis and her phone rings. She... (full context)
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Mae goes into work and she gets an invitation to the development room where she meets... (full context)
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Around 12:30, Mae works up the confidence to answer Kalden. Kalden tells Mae that he’s rigged things so... (full context)
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Mae hangs up and makes her way to the Great Hall, disgusted with Kalden. In the... (full context)
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Suddenly, Mae sees Annie and embraces her. Annie immediately informs Mae that she’s been working on PastPerfect,... (full context)
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Back in her Customer Experience office, Mae proceeds with her work. She zings about her customers, creating a huge Retail Raw. Some... (full context)
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Mae goes back to her dorm, where Francis is waiting. He kisses Mae, and Mae wonders... (full context)
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Later in the morning, Mae attends the startup meeting, in which young startup managers present their research to the Circle... (full context)
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The startup managers present to Mae and the Gang of 40. One presenter has an idea for a program that will... (full context)
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When Mae returns to her desk, she sees a message, written on paper, from Annie. The message... (full context)
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...most don’t care. Annie seems to be “taking it all in stride.” On Friday, however, Mae receives a long letter from Mercer. In the letter, Mercer tells Mae that Annie is... (full context)
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The next day, Mae goes to the bathroom and sees the tip of Annie’s shoe in the next stall;... (full context)
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The next day, Annie zings, “We shouldn’t know everything.” Mae and Annie meet in the bathroom again and turn off their audio so that they... (full context)
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Mae returns to her office, where she sees her coworkers working furiously. She feels a sudden... (full context)
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Later in the day, Mae meets with Bailey in the Great Hall, where she’s about to give a solo presentation.... (full context)
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A picture of a woman appears on the screen, Mae explains that the woman is a wanted murderer and a fugitive from justice. Mae challenges... (full context)
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...the fugitive. When the fugitive realizes that she’s being filmed, she turns and runs away. Mae screams, “follow her!” and the Circle user follows. A few minutes later, the fugitive is... (full context)
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The audience shouts, “Another!” This time, Stenton suggests that Mae try a regular civilian. Mae posts a photograph of Mercer, and hundreds of additional photos... (full context)
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...car pulls out of the garage, and someone attaches a SeeChange camera to the window. Mae can see that it is, in fact, Mercer inside. Mercer begins driving away, looking furious... (full context)
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Mae shouts, “Release the drones!” and, in three minutes, every private drone in the area is... (full context)
Book Two, part 3
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One week has passed since Mercer’s death. Since that time, Mae’s number of watchers has held steady—around 28 million. In the past week, Annie has “collapsed.”... (full context)
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In the library, Bailey explains that Mae was trying to help “a very disturbed, antisocial young man.” He compares Mae to a... (full context)
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Bailey asks Mae how Annie is doing, and Mae replies, “the same.” Then, Bailey walks Mae out of... (full context)
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Stenton greets Mae and says, “I don’t think you’ve met Ty yet, have you, Mae?” Mae turns and... (full context)
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With the Three Wise Men assembled together, Mae’s watchers grow to 51 million. Following script, Mae explains that Stenton has assembled three majestic... (full context)
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...Before the octopus, however, the marine biologist introduces a group of seahorses into the tank. Mae notices that the “father” of the other seahorses doesn’t swim around the tank—instead, he hides... (full context)
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...nods to the marine biologist, and the marine biologist lowers the shark into the tank. Mae has a suspicion that something horrible is going to happen. The shark swims around the... (full context)
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...“that was about what I imagined would happen.” Quickly, while nobody is looking, he grabs Mae’s hand and places something in it; then, he walks away. Stenton nods and says, both... (full context)
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In the bathroom, Mae turns her lens toward the door and carefully looks down at the note Ty slipped... (full context)
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Mae finds Ty by the red sculpture, and when she sees him she feels repulsed. She... (full context)
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Ty begs Mae to use her influence to fight against Completion. He created the idea of the Circle,... (full context)
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...goal is to monetize the Circle and use it for his own “ruthless capitalistic ambition.” Mae argues that life will be perfect when there’s no more crime or deception, but Ty... (full context)
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Ty promises Mae that once he has taken down the Circle the two of them can sail around... (full context)
Book Three
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As Book Three begins, months have passed since Kalden reached out to Mae, and Mae is sure that she has prevented an “apocalypse.” She shudders to think what... (full context)
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Mae is sitting in a clinic, staring down at Annie. Annie, Mae remembers, collapsed at her... (full context)
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Mae remembers what happened after Kalden approached her: she promised to read the letter, and then... (full context)
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Still standing over Annie’s comatose body, Mae looks at the screen monitoring Annie’s brain waves. Mae feels angry that she’s unable to... (full context)