The Circle by Dave Eggers





The Circle by Dave Eggers

In his novel, “The Circle,” Dave Eggers is determined to probe the impact of social media on society and on collective human consciousness. This text illustrates how the global village can be a claustrophobic place in which public opinion is amplified by a technologically perceptive environment. Dave Eggers’ novel is full of ideas about a social deconstruction and redefinition of privacy and how the corporate are increasingly becoming the owners of the privacy. Similarly, the novel illustrates how such ownership of ideas can affect the Western democracy. Nevertheless, the concern is how access to information is power; what is denied the public can be as lethal as the information disclosed. In this age of Internet, there is a fundamental transformation of human society through an electronic connectedness. This paper’s arguments are based on how Eggers’ portrayal of increased electronic connectedness has caused transparency and increased torrents of information but can also be detrimental to the social connectedness of humanity.

The Circle is an Internet company, which can be perceived as a disguised version of the Internet giant, Google. Through the protagonist, Mae, Eggers wraps his readers to the inner workings of the company. Working at the Circle at a young age is anything that all graduates want since, from the outlook of the company, any possible needs of the employees are granted. Mae finds herself in this mix of opportunities. However, her integration into the activities and the ethos of the Circle gradually sheds light on the deeply disconcerting possibility of how the societal morals may soon be sent into hiding because of the increasing techno-intrusion. For instance, in her job, Mae advises that the Circle’s account should be made compulsory by the government. It suffices to mention that through Mae, Eggers illustrates how a techno-savvy environment requires people to embrace each new level of technological development. He argues that sharing information is not necessarily criminal, but caring. When information becomes private, then it is plausible to treat such behaviors as theft. Eggers’ argument on how information should be handled is profound to dealing with the current Internet age. For any information hidden, a person somewhere is denied the chance to benefit from it.

Transparency is one of the elemental aspects within the texts portrayed as being important in a technological world. A particular character that embodies this aspect is a local congressional representative who contracts the company to reveal her schedule and all the happenings of her life. The main aim of this politician is to assure the public that she is transparent and has no ulterior motives in vying for the political seat. Her actions prompt the public to demand for transparency from other local politicians. This demand can be considered justified in the sense that the community posses the right to infringe into a person’s privacy with the intent of accomplishing the greater good. This is what Eggers terms as poetic justice, which can be achieved through the Circle, as it has been able to monopolize the information and data industry. With intentions such as upholding transparency through correcting capitalism, maintaining information ethics and regulation of the information control systems, the Circle is able to assure the public that transparency can be achieved.

Conditioning of the society is illustrated as a consequent result of transparency as indicated by Eggers. The technologies employed are structured in manner that allows people to watch each other hence acting like a security strategy whereby crime reduction is attainable. The conditioning of the community to this trend is considered effectual due to several reasons. Firstly, Eggers indicates that trespassing can be curtailed as well as wandering children can be returned back to their parents. Seemingly, what the author indicates is that conditioning is not only positive towards increasing the safety levels within the community but also is applicable in smaller societies, which are dependant on social interactions. Internet has allowed information to be shared which has in turn facilitates the connectedness and conditioning of the global and state communities hence creating a need which pervades everything as it acts as an adhesive that ties cultures together.


However, how can the transformation of technology be detrimental to the perspective of inexperienced youth? Eggers chooses his characters carefully to present the views of the social media from the perspective of a techno-faithful. Although such incursions to privacy can be accepted and embraced, they can turn detrimental to inexperienced people; they can as well be dramatically transformative to the youth. Nevertheless, like other writings, “The Circle” does its best to depict the dark environment that is presented by the current circumstances in technological development. Dave Eggers depiction of what social media could do to people and the world is scary. The increased use of Internet is a modern problem and should not be treated in isolation as a communication hunger. Instead, it erodes a sense of self, as it is evident when Mae loses her sense of self in favor of social acceptance and professional career. As she stays for some time on the job, she becomes part of the company’s code that requires a full disclosure and high-level of transparency.

The capitalistic aspect of the book is mirrored through the life of Mae, which is a representative of the each global internet users. Eggers is eager to portray that internet addiction that has led to the development of tendencies such as over sharing personal information and activities is detrimental to privacy, a component that is fundamental in a person’s life. He states that the benefit reaped from deprivation of privacy for internet users is the capitalistic advantages, which benefit the corporate companies invested in technology and information systems such as The Circle. The enriching of these companies further promotes the use of internet as they further master their craft in encouraging internet usage. The users who like Mae are at a danger of losing their true selves, as their privacy is compromised feel the negative impact of internet addiction, which encourages over-sharing. Lacking the ability to notice these effects is expressed as one of the main fears the author has.

Concisely, although the Internet can treat humanity to torrents of information through increased loops of feedback, the same humanity needs to know that the technology and increased use of social media can be petty that sometimes there will be a desire for affirmation. The book allows the reader to question the importance of privacy in terms of maintaining their true selves. This is essentially important because of the state affairs of the world currently where it considers standardization and unification as elements, which can be achieved through technology and its advancement. With the notion that connectedness is achieved through technology, Eggers is able to illustrates the problem which its poses to the global community. Ultimately, it is evident that the world cannot be transformed it a utopia as it is too violent and volatile of a place to be in.


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