The Circle

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 with his hands, overweight, poorly dressed, unkempt, and committed to the importance of face-to-face contact. Mercer is the only character in the novel who offers an eloquent response to the Circle’s worldview: he insists that the Circle has reduced human connection to a shadow of what it once was, trading rich and nuanced relationships (which, he maintains, can only exist when people interact face-to-face) for shallow, meaningless social networking “friendships.” Toward the end of the novel, as the Circle prepares to flood the entire industrialized world with cameras, Mercer writes Mae a letter insisting that he’s going to live as a hermit. When Mae sends a fleet of drones after Mercer to harass him, he commits suicide by driving his car into a gorge. He’d rather die, it’s suggested, than live in under the Circle’s totalitarian regime.

Mercer Medeiros Quotes in The Circle

The The Circle quotes below are all either spoken by Mercer Medeiros or refer to Mercer Medeiros. 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 4 Quotes

"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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Mercer Medeiros Character Timeline in The Circle

The timeline below shows where the character Mercer Medeiros appears in The Circle. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Book One, part 3
Privacy Theme Icon
Utopianism and Perfection Theme Icon
...take lunch your first week. Sends the wrong message.” She also mentions that she saw Mercer, Mae’s old boyfriend—someone Mae doesn't feel like talking about. Together, Mae’s mother and father say... (full context)
Privacy Theme Icon
...goodbye to her parents, Mae drives out to the beach. As she drives, she remembers Mercer (her old boyfriend) teaching her how to kayak. At the beach, she rents a kayak... (full context)
Book One, part 4
Privacy Theme Icon
Utopianism and Perfection Theme Icon
...can, and she is surprised to find her mother, her father, and her old boyfriend Mercer sitting in the living room. Mercer explains that, “they wanted me to help out.” Mae’s... (full context)
Social Networking and the Internet Theme Icon
Privacy Theme Icon
Utopianism and Perfection Theme Icon
...collapsed later in the afternoon. After dinner, Mae’s parents go to bed, and Mae and Mercer stay up talking. Mercer tells Mae that he’s been running his own store, which sells... (full context)
Totalitarianism and Indoctrination Theme Icon
Utopianism and Perfection Theme Icon
Mae thanks Mercer for helping her dad and she walks to her room. A few minutes later, she... (full context)
Book One, part 5
Privacy Theme Icon
...her trip back, she realizes that she’s been blissfully free of thoughts of her parents, Mercer, or work. (full context)
Book One, part 7
Social Networking and the Internet Theme Icon
Privacy Theme Icon
Utopianism and Perfection Theme Icon
...out the middleman.” Mae notices a chandelier made of out antlers, which she recognizes from Mercer’s store. To Mae’s surprise, her parents tell her that Mercer is coming for dinner. Mercer... (full context)
Social Networking and the Internet Theme Icon
Privacy Theme Icon
...phone and sees that, in mere minutes, she’s built a lot of international support for Mercer’s chandeliers. Mercer seems irritated, and he says that he didn’t give Mae permission to post... (full context)
Privacy Theme Icon
Driving away from her parents’ house, Mae thinks about how much she dislikes Mercer; he’s fat and anti-social. She vows never to help him again. Mae drives to the... (full context)
Book Two, part 1
Surveillance and Transparency Theme Icon
Privacy Theme Icon
Totalitarianism and Indoctrination Theme Icon
...odd look, which Mae interprets to mean, “finally.” She also gives Mae a letter from Mercer. In her car, Mae opens the letter, in which Mercer explains that he wants Mae... (full context)
Social Networking and the Internet Theme Icon
Surveillance and Transparency Theme Icon
Privacy Theme Icon
Totalitarianism and Indoctrination Theme Icon
Mae feels a tear deep within her. She can’t stop thinking about Mercer—his sanctimonious letter, and his “disgusting” fat body. She tries to distract herself by answering survey... (full context)
Book Two, part 2
Social Networking and the Internet Theme Icon
Surveillance and Transparency Theme Icon
Privacy Theme Icon
...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 “on the verge of ruin.” He... (full context)
Social Networking and the Internet Theme Icon
Surveillance and Transparency Theme Icon
Privacy Theme Icon
Totalitarianism and Indoctrination Theme Icon
Utopianism and Perfection Theme Icon
...This time, Stenton suggests that Mae try a regular civilian. Mae posts a photograph of Mercer, and hundreds of additional photos of Mercer appear on the screen. Mae smiles and says... (full context)
Privacy Theme Icon
Utopianism and Perfection Theme Icon
...about finding the right house. A crowd gathers around a house in the woods yelling, “Mercer, you in there? You in there making some chandeliers?” A car pulls out of the... (full context)
Social Networking and the Internet Theme Icon
Surveillance and Transparency Theme Icon
Privacy Theme Icon
Totalitarianism and Indoctrination Theme Icon
Utopianism and Perfection Theme Icon
...the drones!” and, in three minutes, every private drone in the area is flying after Mercer. The drones send audio from Mae’s presentation to Mercer. Mae says, “Mercer, it’s me!” and... (full context)
Book Two, part 3
Surveillance and Transparency Theme Icon
Totalitarianism and Indoctrination Theme Icon
Utopianism and Perfection Theme Icon
One week has passed since Mercer’s death. Since that time, Mae’s number of watchers has held steady—around 28 million. In the... (full context)
Surveillance and Transparency Theme Icon
Utopianism and Perfection Theme Icon
...concludes that Mae “can hardly be blamed.” Mae thinks back to the funeral service for Mercer, during which she barely spoke to her parents. Bailey points out that Mercer wouldn’t have... (full context)