“Mae was sobbing, and cursing Annie, cursing every blond inch of her, her smug sense of entitlement. So what that she’d been at the Circle longer. They were peers now, but Annie couldn’t accept it. Mae would have to make sure she did.”
-Dave Eggers, The Circle, pg. 368
Before Annie and Mae’s secret meeting in the restroom, away from a massive audience, it wasn’t difficult to identify the changes in their friendship and the tension that has grown from Mae’s success at the circle. Eggers creates a stressful and edgy interaction between a very exhausted and over-worked Annie and a boastful and energetic Mae. We see for the first time that somewhat of a rivalry is growing between these two who have been best friends for several years. I saw this as a turning point in the novel. Eggers had created this socially-active and vibrant business community that we haven’t seen much tension or issues arise from yet. Tensions get high during this interaction, which sets the stage for a number of events that go wrong for Mae because of the Circle. The narrative that is constructed at this point is different from any conversation between Mae and Annie, or Mae and any Circle worker for that matter, since every interaction always seems to be “You did this wrong but it’s a learning experience” or “You’re doing so great, keep it up”. Annie thinks that Mae is too popular for her now that she constantly broadcasts her entire day to the public to see. When they are behind closed doors they argue for the first time in the entire novel. In my opinion, this is what the Circle wants. The Circle wants complete control of everyone as you can see by how they put cameras in several locations, constant blogs about any topic, medical records of everyone being available to the public, and many other private matters that should be kept behind closed doors that are available to the entire world. Because of this, all of Mae’s relationships with the people she cares about the most are beginning to go downhill including Annie, her parents, the infamous Kalden, and even her ex-boyfriend Mercer.
As briefly mentioned, the point I’m trying to make with this passage goes back to The Circle’s plan of total domination. During this reading, they continue to say how close they are to “completing the circle”. I think this means they are near their goal of dominating the world. Everybody is fascinated with their work and how it changes their day to day lives. We’ve seen Mae progress into one of The Circle’s most popular employees, but we’ve also seen so many changes in her day to day life. She doesn’t care for her parents nearly as much, kayaking, and especially Annie as shown in their argument. She seems to only be worried about how many people are watching her every move or commenting on all of her blog posts. The Circle is succeeding in convincing a nation how to live their lives. It reminds me of how Hitler convinced a country that a group of people should be punished for no good reason and convinced that nation how to live their lives. The Circle isn’t like that (or at least not yet?) Is it possible that they could start wiping people out like Mercer who don’t believe in what The Circle is doing? It is obvious they have the ability to change people’s lives and ruin relationships just like they are doing to Mae throughout the novel. The interaction with Annie is what made me realize Mae’s transformation into only caring about the company, and that transformation is also seen when she meets with her parents and puts them on the spot in front of all of her followers, or when she completely ignores Kalden who she is constantly thinking about.