October 13

Circle Post #4

The Mariana’s Trench, a seven-mile-deep forty-three-mile-wide geological masterpiece, remains relatively unexplored and foreign to researchers. Located in the Pacific Ocean, the trench presents a myriad of interesting topics and strange similarities to The Circle. As mentioned it remains relatively unexplored, it varies in depth, miraculously supports life, and strangely enough presents some clarity and simplicity to such a complicated world. The trench and the monsters Stenton retrieves from there act as metaphors for the goals and characteristics of The Circle.


The Circle, much like the trench, wishes to become all-consuming and controlling. The Circle hopes to and does become the dominant technology company in the world; they establish complete control over everyone’s online personality and file. Symbolically, the trench does the same—it is a vast space that encompasses much and almost acts as a behind the scenes puppeteer—always there, but never ostentatious. To stretch this metaphor further, the trench is at its simplest level a body of water, and The Circle wants to be in such demand that people feel as though they need it as much as they need water to survive.


The animals that Stenton specifically brings back from the trench are mesmerizing; they draw attention and invoke curiosity. Mae describes the animals from the depths as “bizarre, ghostlike, and vaguely menacing and never still, but no one who stood before it could look away,” just like those that become a part of The Circle can never fully detach from it (309). Personally, these characteristics seem to describe The Circle. The Circle is indeed bizarre based on the level of control it exhibits over its workers and members; it is ghostlike in the sense that its authority is behind the scenes and almost purely digital and that over time those who are a part of The Circle seem to forget that they are being watched, that a little ghost is watching over them. The Circle is also physically and figuratively “never still” because with the increase in members going transparent more cameras are capturing the world as their pilots move through it and The Circle’s presence is always felt online or in person—you cannot shut down The Circle.


It appears as though that these animals are the physical representation of The Circle—powerful, transparent, mysterious. The one animal that Mae takes a key interest in and the one that becomes the only survivor is the shark, however, jellyfishes, seahorses, and manta rays were also brought back from the trench. The shark is described as “malevolent,” “omnivorous and blind,” “near translucent,” and “ethereal,” which all add to the description of The Circle (309). At surface level, The Circle can be described using anyone of these terms, for The Circle, much like the shark, looms over all and rules the “fish tank”—i.e. the interconnected world. The following pages go on to describe the feeding patterns of the animals and how dominating the shark was and how everything in its path was diminished to gray dust, to be forgotten by all. Mae also describes to her viewers and thus we the readers that the octopus can “one second seem like you could hold it in your hand, and the next it encompasses most of the tank;” The Circle too can appear to be minuscule on the surface, but behind its exterior its tentacles reach out into every crevice of information and detail in the digital world. Mae explains to us further that “the creature’s tentacles seemed to want to know everything,” much like The Circle. The animals, especially the shark, are very dangerous and almost injure one of The Circle’s employees.


Overall, the monsters from the depths of the Mariana’s Trench symbolically represent The Circle and its increasing control over the lives of millions of people. The final image of the lone shark in the glass fish tank plays up the dominance of The Circle and warns readers of the danger of a totally digitized world, where privacy and personal interaction cease to exist.

Posted October 13, 2016 by paw5281 in category Uncategorized

1 thoughts on “Circle Post #4

  1. ajc6482

    When I saw Professor Hamilton’s suggestion to write a post about the animals in Mariana’s Trench, I was a little confused about what direction to go in for that. I didn’t notice the significance of the animals in my first reading but your post really demonstrates the ways in which Eggers parallels the two. It is an effective literary technique because it subtly underscores the issues that the Circle has. The Circle being the shark and the users being constrained to a fish tank are both effective analogies because they show how dominant the Circle is and how that power is more forceful and belligerent than the company portrays itself as. There isn’t a large turtle or dolphin patrolling the tank; it’s a shark which after you point out the symbolism, represents all the ways that the Circle polices its users and their world.


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