The Night Circus

An engineer and one of the original organizers of Le Cirque des Rêves, and one of the few people who know about the competition between Marco and Celia. In fact, it is through Barris that Marco and Celia begin to collaborate: Marco speaks with him about the competition, coming up with the idea of the Labyrinth, a circus exhibition that allows both of the competitors to create and expand on one another’s work. He is also aware of much of the magic that protects the people associated with the circus, but has been sworn to secrecy about it. Unfortunately, when his friend and fellow organizer Tara Burgess comes to speak with him about the fact that she is not aging naturally, Barris cannot offer her any real information, and mistakenly sends her to speak with the magician, Mr. A.H. Once Tara speaks with the magician, she is suddenly overcome by the impulse to jump in front of a train, dying instantly. Barris feels somewhat responsible for her death, yet he is still bound to keep his secret.

Ethan Barris Quotes in The Night Circus

The The Night Circus quotes below are all either spoken by Ethan Barris or refer to Ethan Barris. 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:
Rivalry and Competition Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Anchor edition of The Night Circus published in 2012.
Part 1: Primordium Quotes

“My new game, as you so appropriately call it, is a circus.”

“A circus? How marvelous!”

“Like a carnival?”

“More than a carnival, more than a circus, really, like no circus anyone has ever seen.”

Related Characters: Chandresh Lefevre (speaker), Ethan Barris (speaker), Lainie Burgess (speaker)
Page Number: 76
Explanation and Analysis:
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Part 2: Illumination Quotes

“How much do you know?”

“How much do I know about what?”

“How much has Miss Bowen told you?”

“You’re her opponent. I never would have guessed.”

Related Characters: Marco Alisdair (speaker), Ethan Barris (speaker), Celia Bowen
Page Number: 188
Explanation and Analysis:
Quotes explanation short mobile

“There is a great deal more going on than we are privy to, of that I’m quite sure. I tried to talk to Chandresh, but it was like we were speaking two different languages. I do not like sitting idly by when something clearly isn’t right.”

Related Characters: Tara Burgess (speaker), Chandresh Lefevre, Ethan Barris
Page Number: 197
Explanation and Analysis:
Quotes explanation short mobile
Part 5: Divination Quotes

“I’m not going to give you your memory back. I don’t know if I could even if I tried, though Widge could probably manage it. At this point, I don’t think you need that weight on you. I think looking forward will be better than looking back.”

Related Symbols: The Bonfire
Page Number: 498
Explanation and Analysis:
Quotes explanation short mobile
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Ethan Barris Character Timeline in The Night Circus

The timeline below shows where the character Ethan Barris appears in The Night Circus. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Part 1: Primordium
Family, Community, and Belonging Theme Icon
Magic and Illusion Theme Icon
...select group to help him design and execute a new kind of circus: there is Ethan Barris , who is an engineer and architect, as well as Tara and Lainie Burgess, who... (full context)
Magic and Illusion Theme Icon
In Munich, Ethan Barris meets with a clockmaker, Friedrick Thiessen, to commission a special clock for the circus. He... (full context)
Part 2: Illumination
Rivalry and Competition Theme Icon
Magic and Illusion Theme Icon
Freedom and Agency Theme Icon
...he cannot blame her. He changes the subject, asking her how much she has told Mr. Barris , the engineer. Celia responds that she has told him as much as he needs... (full context)
Rivalry and Competition Theme Icon
Love Theme Icon
Magic and Illusion Theme Icon
Freedom and Agency Theme Icon
Isobel wonders if it is Ethan Barris who created the Wishing Tree. Marco responds that this is beyond the work of impressive... (full context)
Family, Community, and Belonging Theme Icon
Magic and Illusion Theme Icon
...each other for such a long time, but Tsukiko includes her in the conversation, and Mr. Barris pays her so much attention that he is teased about it. Celia secretly commends Mr.... (full context)
Love Theme Icon
Family, Community, and Belonging Theme Icon
...more that Chandresh drinks, the more he watches the handsome young man. She determines that Mr. Barris is in love with Lainie Burgess, though she cannot tell if Lainie knows. Celia finds... (full context)
Rivalry and Competition Theme Icon
Love Theme Icon
Magic and Illusion Theme Icon
Marco goes to visit Mr. Barris in his London office, to talk about the circus, and begins their conversation with a... (full context)
Rivalry and Competition Theme Icon
Love Theme Icon
Magic and Illusion Theme Icon
Freedom and Agency Theme Icon
Marco has come to see Mr. Barris to ask for his assistance with a new tent. But first, Mr. Barris must agree... (full context)
Family, Community, and Belonging Theme Icon
Time and Mortality Theme Icon
Magic and Illusion Theme Icon
Vienna, 1894: Tara Burgess comes to see Mr. Barris at his office in Vienna. When they greet each other, Tara notes pointedly that he... (full context)
Time and Mortality Theme Icon
Magic and Illusion Theme Icon
Mr. Barris finally asks her what she wants to discuss, and she asks him why he left... (full context)
Rivalry and Competition Theme Icon
Time and Mortality Theme Icon
Magic and Illusion Theme Icon
...1895: While Lainie is on an extended holiday in Italy, Tara picks up the card Mr. Barris gave her and goes to the Midland Grand Hotel. When she asks for Mr. A.H.... (full context)
Part 3: Intersections
Family, Community, and Belonging Theme Icon
Magic and Illusion Theme Icon
Freedom and Agency Theme Icon
...all of them have been written over in another handwriting that does not belong to Mr. Barris . He then looks through Marco’s desk, finding a single locked drawer that he eventually... (full context)
Love Theme Icon
Family, Community, and Belonging Theme Icon
Freedom and Agency Theme Icon
Meanwhile, Lainie goes to visit Mr. Barris , who has moved his office from London to Vienna, and now to Basel. She... (full context)
Love Theme Icon
Family, Community, and Belonging Theme Icon
Freedom and Agency Theme Icon
Mr. Barris tells her that he doesn’t want to have a conversation about the circus, just like... (full context)
Rivalry and Competition Theme Icon
Love Theme Icon
Family, Community, and Belonging Theme Icon
Magic and Illusion Theme Icon
...asks Celia if she likes the Cloud Maze, which she does, and she asks if Mr. Barris helped him with that. He runs his thumb along the inside of her wrist, and... (full context)
Part 5: Divination
Family, Community, and Belonging Theme Icon
Time and Mortality Theme Icon
Magic and Illusion Theme Icon
Freedom and Agency Theme Icon
Chandresh looks at the list of names, noting Mr. Barris and Lainie Burgess, and he asks who Mr. Clarke is, and Poppet explains that he... (full context)