The Circle: Response 5

Throughout history, villains play a crucial role in movies, books, and even real life. Villains are people whose evil or misguided actions or motives bring down the rest of society. In this way, Mae Holland is the villain of The Circle, and in taking on this role, Eggers tries to teach a lesson to his audience. Throughout the novel, Mae gradually becomes the villain, causing the destruction not only of individuals but of society in her contributions that derail human life as it is known, showing the effect in which self motivation, overuse of technology, and the importance of privacy have in civic culture.

Mae’s role in the Circle became so significant, she became driven solely by self motivation. As Mae continued to wear her watch that allowed users to follow her every move, Mae became obsessed with their opinions. She wanted their feedback and encouraged it through the production of Demoxie. In the book it says, “The goal is to make sure that everyone who works at the Circle can weigh in on issues that affect their lives-mostly on campus, but in the larger world, too” (Eggers, 400). When the questioned was asked, “Is Mae Holland awesome or what?”, Mae become driven to find out what 3% of responders did not agree with the statement (Eggers, 408). The books describes that she felt full of holes, meaning she felt empty without the validation of people. The development of Demoxie may have been able to help democratic decision, but it gave way for criticism and ridicule without any explanation.

As Mae gained a greater understanding of her position in power, she learned the ways in which she could use it to influence the lives of others. Even though Mae’s position in the Circle has substantial influence, she constantly wanted to be the priority, and resented Annie for being selected as the first subject of PastPerfect. Mercer serves the novel as the voice of reason, the protagonist against the actions of the Circle and Mae. His efforts, however, are not enough, and he gives up in his fight to make Mae see it his way and resorts to a place in which to be private. As the villain, Mae tries to strip Mercer of any privacy he sought, finding him using SoulSearch. Using the help of Circlers around the world, Mae tracked him because he was a fugitive from friendship. In these efforts, Mae takes on the role as a villain. Knowing he could not escape the power of the Circle, Mercer is led to commit suicide. Mercer could not be the martyr that he hoped to be because Mae as the villain continued to encourage the completion of the Circle despite those closest to her having doubts about its power.

In evaluation of Mae’s character, Eggers uses the revelation of her position as a villain to stray from novelistic conventions and send a message to the audience. Through the evolution of characters such as Annie, Mercer, and Kalden, their resistance to the closing of the Circle, and affects it had on their lives, show the results of authority in the hands of villains. Furthermore, Mae can be connected to the events that brought each of these characters to their demise. Eggers reveals Mae as a villain in order to show the devastating effect in which private information can have in the wrong hands. People who start enticed by the idea and consumed by attention can lose sight of the consequences of innovation and the effects it can have when misused. Mae is the villian that nobody saw coming, giving both an intriguing end to Eggers novel while making the point that anyone can fall victim to the effects of mass media, privatized knowledge, and power.

The Circle: Response 4

Transparency is a value highly regarded by the Circle. It is arguably the most important ideology in which makes the Circle as successful as it is. This ideology drives the work of many at the Circle, and therefore, attracts millions of people to participate in all the Circle has to offer. In order to illustrate a theme throughout the novel, Eggers shows the consequences of transparency through Mae as she takes on the role of a Circle Ambassador, allowing readers to make a judgement on the negative effects of transparency and the moral decisions that result in order to achieve this ideology.

transparency word on the torn paper background

As a Circle Ambassador, it is Mae’s job to document her daily life, offering opinions, personal experiences, and providing insight to her likes and dislikes. People who “follow” Mae have the ability to watch her in real time, leaving no involuntary action or private moment unseen by millions of people. Mae’s new role has many positive benefits for the company, which is the reason in which she is employed for this job. In this position, followers are able to experience Mae’s life as she does, learning about the Circle, her job, medical information, and family life. By showing these aspects of her life, the Circle hopes that people can identify with Mae, learn from what she goes through, and use it to make their own lives better. The Circle’s dominance of all aspects of life forces them to connect to their audience emotionally since much of the organization is run online. By connecting their online life with a real and physical role found in Mae, the Circle is able to dominate both the emotion and action of their users, making the company extremely successful.
While Mae’s role certainly provides benefits to the Circle, it does more harm than good, despite the fact that Mae and anyone closely connected to the company fails to see this. Mae’s role as a Circle Ambassador encourages criticism, changes Mae’s typical course of action, and invades on private moments. As Mae offers her opinion on various aspects of her life, users are able to provide feedback and comments regarding the issues. After Mae left her home and received the letter from Mercer, she read it aloud, and in doing so, criticism of Mae and her dating choices were remarked by users, “Mae, were you ever so young and dumb?” (Eggers, 370). This inside access to Mae’s life and feelings on it encouraged her to try to find validation in the opinions of others, a character choice that her family feels is deeply affecting her. Additionally, Mae’s typical choices were persuaded by being transparent. Whenever she wanted to indulge with a brownie, she refrained. She made health choices that promoted a better way of living even if it’s not what she wanted to do, showing how transparency can force you into something you want people to see you as, not who you really. In Mae taking on this role, she not only affected herself, but she influenced the lives around her. Anyone she interacted with was forced into this transparency themselves. Her doctor, family, and friends all had to deal with Mae’s new role. When Mae walks in on her parents and intrudes on their sexual life, it is caught on camera. When Mae confronts Bailey about the issue, thinking he will remove the feed so it can’t be resurfaced, he says that it goes against the company’s value. The company prioritized giving viewers information and providing insight into Mae’s life over her family’s emotional stability and private life. These negative consequences have affected Mae’s life significantly, and people further out from the Circle can see that. Within the company, transparency is priority and without it, the Circle wouldn’t exist.

The Circle: Blog Post 3

Throughout the novel, the author utilizes three ideologies within the Circle in order to show the level of transparency the company desires, making a claim about this culture and the extremes into which these mantras have taken root: “Secrets are lies”, “Sharing is caring”, “Privacy is theft”.In showing these ideologies within the company, it can be seen that these mantras lack an ability to entirely function in the “real world”.

After Mae put her life and job at risk when she stole the kayak, she soon realizes everything she did would be discovered by the Circle. When confronted by Eamonn Bailey, it appeared that Mae would try to hide her wrongdoing, keeping it a secret. When asked a series of questions regarding this secret, Eamonn tried to make the point that if Mae knew she was being watched, revealed what she had done, and aimed to learn from her mistake, then she would fulfill the ideals of the company and promote the mantras so highly valued.

The Circle strongly believes that “secrets are lies”. Mae makes the logical argument in defense of what she would do with information her family may want to know, but she chooses not to tell them for the sake of their feelings. Not all secrets are actually lies. Eamonn believes that issues regarding national security can be open, when this is not at all the case. For instance, the designated survivor, a US cabinet member who does not attend large events in case of attack, is kept secret. This person is not kept secret as a lie but as a protection in case of attack. This secret is meant for the betterment of the nation, not a lie to avoid hurting someone’s feelings.

In the idea that “sharing is caring” this is aimed at allowing Circlers to know everything about everyone. When you are young and it comes to sharing your toys with someone who doesn’t have any, maybe then “sharing is caring”. However, when it comes to data, health records, and personal information, sharing these intimate parts of life are not necessary in order to achieve a common good. In different views of politics, some people believe that people who make more money should have to pay a larger sum of many in taxes, encouraging the welfare system and preventing some capable people from returning to work. By encouraging this sytem, sharing is not helping these people improve their livelihood or sense of independence.

In the ideology of the Circle that “privacy is theft”, the company believes that by keeping things to yourself, you are robbing others of experiences they are entitled. Because Eamonn’s son has cerebral palsy, he is unable to experience some of the vast things that Circlers have and by denying him of that experience to keep it private, he is robbed of something that is believed to be rightfully his. Privacy belongs to an individual. You cannot take claim on the experiences, the data, or intimate details of someone’s life because they do not belong to you. There is nothing which to be stolen because privacy is entitled to each individual. Experiences may be shared, but choosing to share those details is in fact, what defines privacy.

In looking at these mantras in today’s world, they can not be upheld. Theses values in which the Circle idealizes are subjective. There are definitely times when secrets are lies, sharing is caring, and privacy can be viewed as theft, however, the extremes to which the Circle will go to put these ideas into practice is not realistic for the everyday person. In order to protect the safety of individuals, nations, and prevent misuse of information, keeping certain aspects of life private are essential.

The Circle: Blog Post 1

At some point in life, everyone has experienced being in a new situation in which they were the “newbie”. In The Circle, Mae takes on a new job at the company, making her a “newbie’ in the sense that she must learn the characteristics of the company, their ideals, and how she plays a role as a Circler. Additionally, I have taken on a role as being a Penn Stater, a situation in which the values, expectations, and ideals of the university must be taken into account as I find my role in the large community of Penn State. Through analysis of The Circle and my experience at Penn State University, parallels can be drawn between the values of Penn Staters and Circlers and the ways these societies play a role in the development of a “newbie” and their integration into their respective communities.

Through evaluation of the values of Penn Staters and Circlers, there are similarities between these groups in terms of diversity, community, and the acquisition of knowledge. Given Penn State’s large size, there is a diverse group of people in the community. These diverse backgrounds are accepted and encouraged in order to broaden the scope of ideas spread among students. Additionally, Circlers value this ideal, given that the people Mae describe in her first interactions with the company are all different. A range of people with different skills work at the Circle and add value to the company. When Mae first stands to show that she is a “newbie”, the author draws attention to the fact that there is a range of national origins that are also “newbies”. Penn State also has a strong sense of pride and support, felt by the entire community. This sense of community is felt through involvement and support for other groups and organizations. The Circle shares this value, best shown through their support of “newbies” like Mae and support for other Circlers like Eamon Bailey, who gives a talk on his idea called “SurfSight”. Furthermore, Penn State prides itself as a nationally ranked academic institute, providing students with a quality education, encouragement of critical thinking, and desire to achieve. At the Circle, Mae’s position encourages her to get approval ratings with a score of 100, showing the desire for top level performance. The Circle is known for its creative thinking, innovative concepts, and willingness to find the very best for the people in the community. Through these similar ideals of these large groups, Penn Staters can relate to Circlers, their experience of a large environment, and the expectation to fulfill their important values in each society. 

How to Survive College…Without Trying That Hard: Passion Blog Ideas

They say there’s no one older than a high school senior, but nobody younger than a college freshman. Starting over is challenging even for the most prepared individual. The summer leading up to your first year of college is filled with a variety of different emotions. Then, one day, without even realizing, it hits you like a truck and you live in a dorm room with a stranger, praying that you find a way to make it through four years of trying to balance sleep, homework, and a social life. Oh, there’s one problem…you can only have two. pyramid-e1453861554945However, despite all the stress, new feelings, and trying to make it to your first 8:00 A.M., there is a reason you are here, and there are plenty of people to help you.

Maybe it doesn’t make sense that a college freshmen is writing a blog about surviving college when I have not yet survived college, but being in the situation, I’ll experience the struggles and work to overcome them as I go. People have always told me I have good instincts and give the greatest advice, so even if this blog helps one person, or makes their life a little easier, I will have fulfilled my purpose. While I might not be Dr. Phil or have all of the answers to the struggles of college, the aim of this blog is to do more than just help the average freshmen learn how to balance everything they hope to achieve. The point is to help a student think about ways to improve, feel better knowing they are not alone, and maybe just try out some of the advice offered here in hopes that they learn something about themselves or the people around them.

Throughout various posts, entries will focus on the most important aspects of college life. The topics will include issues, advice, and ways to reflect on forming friendships, having a social life, maintaining health and wellness (physically and mentally), balancing schoolwork, making a schedule, finding ways to get involved, the feelings of missing home, and how to deal with difficult people and hard times. These topics play a role in some capacity or another in the life of students everywhere. They say college is about finding yourself, but that’s hard to do if there are too many distractions. By helping students tackle these issues and learn how to live better, college students will feel better and will be able to focus on the things that matter most in their lives.

While the transition of leaving home and going into the “real world” can be daunting, it’s not so bad when you realize other people share similar difficulties. College is a time to find out what you like, what you hate, how you feel about big issues, what you want to do with your life, and what goals you hope to achieve. College is the time to take advantage of the endless opportunities presented. You might make mistakes, and it might feel like you can’t recover, but Hannah Montana once said, “Nobody’s Perfect” and if Miley Cyrus can go from that to swinging on a wrecking ball, then you can take college by storm without even trying that hard.