ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel
  • »
  • Books, Literature, and Writing»
  • Books & Novels»
  • Bestsellers

A Review of "The Circle" by Dave Eggers

Updated on February 15, 2015

Dave Eggers

Source

Get The Book!

A Cautionary Tale

In In today’s information age, Dave Eggers’ novel about (technological plutocracy) serves as a warning against the dangers of total transparency. Since the mid-twentieth century, Americans have vehemently sought ways to make life easier and to make goods and services more convenient. As a result, new businesses and newer technologies have sprung up in order to fulfil public demand. In some cases, newer technologies are created for the sole purpose of amassing capital by convincing people that the product is a need. In the case of The Circle, Eggers’ imaginary technological hub, the company hosts a bevy of unique inventions created by burgeoning young inventors that are designed to make life easier and more pleasant. Initially, like many technological inventions in today’s world, many people are aesthetically drawn to the wonder of some of these inventions, for instance, in the novel, the invention of a small camera called SeeChange that can be placed anywhere and hidden from view, but powerful enough to pick up every detail. The rationale for such an invention—which is a clear violation of personal privacy-- is to put an end to hidden human rights abuses.

The protagonist of the story, Mae Holland, starts out as a bored college grads stuck in a dead end job with no future prospects and no hope for advancement. Through a close personal connection in the company, her best friend, Annie, she is able to land a position in The Circle’s Customer Experience department—the equivalent to a customer service position. Annie is a former college roommate of Mae’s and is a fixture in The Circle’s Gang of 40—an executive position in the company. As for any new recruit, or “newbie,” as they are referred to in the story, things start off a little shaky. For Mae, there is a driving need to fit in and to perform well. Upon reading, it appears as if some of the veteran staffers at The Circle tend to take advantage of such vulnerability by applying mild pressure to Mae as she struggles to keep up with the demands of the company. One of the primary demands of the company is to maintain full transparency as often as humanly possible. As Mae rises through the ranks of the company, she becomes fully “transparent”—with the exception of a three minute hiatus for a bathroom break. The catalyst for her becoming fully transparent sprang directly from her driving need to conform to company standards for the sake of keeping her job, which she is grateful for to a fault. It also appears that many of The Circle’s employees are easily won over by new inventions and never seem to question the validity of the true purpose for those inventions—being that they are geniuses and all! Mae, being in a vulnerable position as a “newbie,” likewise sees no need to question. This also highlights the depths of Mae’s naiveté based on her background and personal drive. Having a company physical is another requirement of employment at The Circle. The company doctor, Dr.Villalobos, who also appears to be a physically seductive character in the novel, is able to smooth talk Mae into swallowing a microchip in order to help her manage her good health. Naturally, Mae would want to do such a thing being that she knows she’s genetically predisposed to certain family traits. Her father is battling MS . After Mae unwittingly swallows the microchip, the doctor then rationalizes the need for such a device. Mae goes along without question although she is clearly taken aback. Much of the rationale for the curious inventions in this novel is quite twisted, but valid when it concerns profit margin and control.

Mae’s drive for acceptance blinds her to the reality of the dangers of (total transparency) so much that when she tries to aid the people around her through her connection to The Circle, she unwittingly places them in a compromising position--to give up their personal privacy, and eventually their freedom, in order to partake of the company’s benefits—her father, health insurance; her ex-boyfriend , Mercer, a chance to expand his business; and Ty, the brains behind The Circle and one of the top three creators of the company, a chance to dismantle the global, privacy-invading monster the company had become. Her friend Annie suffers, as well. Trying to follow Mae’s lead in order to settle a jealous rivalry, she volunteers to be a guinea pig for a family-tracing project called PastPerfect. The invention, in turn, reveals horrible truths about Annie’s family history all the way down to her parents; much to her surprise since she was under the impression much of her family were upstanding members of society who came over on the Mayflower.

In correlation, within the last two centuries, the world has progressed both industrially and economically. Life in the Western industrialized world has been made easier and more comfortable and in many ways, more decadent. But to every creative and practical invention, there is a downside—a sacrifice that must be made in order to enjoy the fruits of such genius. Like the Three Wise Men, the elite triad of The Circle, many of the world’s elite are able to amass and maintain great wealth and power at the expense of the public by manipulating certain kinds of human appeal. In this sense, (Eggers)’ novel serves as a cautionary tale letting us know that to have the freedom to question is a privilege that renders the greater results and to always seek to understand ulterior motives.

How Do You Feel?

Would you give up your right to privacy in return for safety and acceptance?

See results

© 2014 Dana Ayres

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • profile image

      Johnd864 3 years ago

      Can you add a Blackberry template? This web page is tricky to read otherwise for those of us browsing with cell phones. Otherwise, in the event you can place a RSS link up, that would be good also. bgefdbaaabbc

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: "https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr"

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)