The Circle


Dave Eggers

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The Octopus

Toward the end of the novel, Mae Holland sees that the Circle has installed a huge aquarium in one of its buildings. In the tank, there is an octopus, which swims around, grasping onto everything…

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The Seahorse

Another animal in the aquarium is a seahorse, which is accompanied by its “vast progeny.” In spite of giving birth to thousands of baby seahorses, the “father seahorse” is shy and unwilling to show itself…

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The Shark

The final animal in the aquarium is the shark, which devours everything in its sight. Eggers explicitly states that the shark symbolizes Tom Stenton, the third and most dangerous Wise Man. Throughout the novel…

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The Voice

At work, Mae Holland is required to wear a headset, which prompts her to answer survey questions all day long. When she doesn’t answer a question, Mae hears a voice in her headset: it’s her…

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At various points in the novel, Mae Holland goes kayaking. She loves to kayak because it provides her with some alone time in which she doesn’t have to think about her friends, her job, or…

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The Elderly Couple

During one kayaking trip, Mae Holland passes by an elderly couple who are sitting in a boat, drinking wine, and reminiscing about the past. The elderly couple seems to symbolize the “old way of life,”…

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