The Circle

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 role in the company, at least from the perspective of Mae Holland and her fellow Circle employees. Only toward the end of the book does it become clear that Stenton is the most powerful of the Wise Men, and the one whose vision of ruthless, totalitarian control will prove most influential. As Eggers implies, Stenton is a “shark”: he devours everything in his presence and always gets his way.

Tom Stenton Quotes in The Circle

The The Circle quotes below are all either spoken by Tom Stenton or refer to Tom Stenton. 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

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.

Related Characters: Mae Holland, Ty Gospodinov / Kalden, Tom Stenton, Eamon Bailey
Page Number: 25
Explanation and Analysis:

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Book Two, part 2 Quotes

"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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Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

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Tom Stenton Character Timeline in The Circle

The timeline below shows where the character Tom Stenton appears in The Circle. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Book One, part 1
Utopianism and Perfection Theme Icon
Standing next to Ty in the portrait is Tom Stenton, the Circle’s CEO. Stenton seems to be in the “mold of the eighties Wall Street... (full context)
Social Networking and the Internet Theme Icon
Utopianism and Perfection Theme Icon
...cerebral palsy, and his enthusiastic relationship with the company’s young employees. Somehow, Ty, Bailey, and Stenton balance each other out and keep the company successful. As Mae looks at the painting... (full context)
Book One, part 6
Surveillance and Transparency Theme Icon
Privacy Theme Icon
On Friday, Annie and Mae are sitting in the Great Hall, where Tom Stenton is about to give a talk. Mae has told Annie about the video Francis took,... (full context)
Surveillance and Transparency Theme Icon
Utopianism and Perfection Theme Icon
Stenton emerges on the stage and begins his lecture. He talks about the importance of transparency... (full context)
Privacy Theme Icon
...talking to Kalden, two of her coworkers greet her by name and tell her about Stenton’s plan to dive to the bottom of the Marianas Trench. (full context)
Book Two, part 1
Surveillance and Transparency Theme Icon
Privacy Theme Icon
Totalitarianism and Indoctrination Theme Icon
Utopianism and Perfection Theme Icon
At Book Two opens, Stenton has returned from his expedition to the Marianas Trench, and he brought with him a... (full context)
Social Networking and the Internet Theme Icon
Surveillance and Transparency Theme Icon
Utopianism and Perfection Theme Icon
...a “wraparound service” when the government could do so? The Gang of 40 snickers; condescendingly, Stenton explains that the Circle is in a much better position to build a good, user-friendly... (full context)
Book Two, part 2
Social Networking and the Internet Theme Icon
Surveillance and Transparency Theme Icon
...to the Circle in the hopes that the Circle will buy them out. Bailey and Stenton attend the meeting in person, while Ty appears via video feed. Mae remembers what Kalden... (full context)
Social Networking and the Internet Theme Icon
Utopianism and Perfection Theme Icon
...“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 right to know who’s committed crimes.” The... (full context)
Social Networking and the Internet Theme Icon
Surveillance and Transparency Theme Icon
Utopianism and Perfection Theme Icon
...an unorthodox or violent way. While demonstrating the program, the presenter plays a loud alarm. Stenton is furious that the presenter would play the alarm, to the degree that he nearly... (full context)
Surveillance and Transparency Theme Icon
Totalitarianism and Indoctrination Theme Icon
Utopianism and Perfection Theme Icon
...Mae explains that she’s introducing a new program called SoulSearch; in her ear, she hears Stenton’s voice, directing her on what to say next. It is unjust, Mae explains, for criminals... (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
...by at least twelve Circle users. One of the Circle users yells, “Lynch her!” but Stenton whispers to Mae, “She must be kept safe.” Mae tells her watchers to call 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 audience shouts, “Another!” This time, Stenton suggests that Mae try a regular civilian. Mae posts a photograph of Mercer, and hundreds... (full context)
Book Two, part 3
Totalitarianism and Indoctrination Theme Icon
Utopianism and Perfection Theme Icon
...that she and her watchers “could use some distraction.” They walk to the aquarium, where Stenton has combined all the animals he took from the Marianas trench into one tank (he’s... (full context)
Totalitarianism and Indoctrination Theme Icon
Utopianism and Perfection Theme Icon
Stenton greets Mae and says, “I don’t think you’ve met Ty yet, have you, Mae?” Mae... (full context)
Social Networking and the Internet Theme Icon
Totalitarianism and Indoctrination Theme Icon
Utopianism and Perfection Theme Icon
...Wise Men assembled together, Mae’s watchers grow to 51 million. Following script, Mae explains that Stenton has assembled three majestic animals together in the aquarium: a shark, an octopus, and a... (full context)
Social Networking and the Internet Theme Icon
Utopianism and Perfection Theme Icon
The shark swims toward the octopus and tears it apart. Bailey whimpers in sadness, but Stenton looks at the shark with “a mixture of fascination and pride.” Next, the shark eats... (full context)
Utopianism and Perfection Theme Icon
...and he replies, “The fucking shark that eats the world.” He says that Bailey and Stenton know he goes by another name, and adds, “I’m not technically allowed to leave campus.... (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
...life will be “perfect” when the Circle is closed and “every soul is connected.” But Stenton has no such illusions—his only goal is to monetize the Circle and use it for... (full context)
Book Three
Social Networking and the Internet Theme Icon
Surveillance and Transparency Theme Icon
Totalitarianism and Indoctrination Theme Icon
Utopianism and Perfection Theme Icon
...she promised to read the letter, and then immediately went to talk to Bailey and Stenton. Afterwards, Ty was allowed to stay on campus in an “advisory role, with a secluded... (full context)