Discussion Questions for The Circle (2018):
1. What messages (if any) did it seem like Eggers was trying to get across? How successful was he? [too subtle, not subtle enough?]
2. What aspects of Mae’s life at the Circle seemed creepy or rubbed you the wrong way? What aspects of Mae’s life at the Circle did you really like?
3. What are people gaining by committing themselves to participating in all of the services the Circle has to offer? What are people losing?
4. Why do you think so many people are choosing to become a part of the Circle? What is so attractive about social media?
5. When Mae walks onto the campus, she sees stones decorating with the following words: Dream; Participate; Find Community; Innovate; Imagine; Breathe. Why these words? How do they compare to the new phrases at the end of the book? (Secrets are Lies, Sharing is caring Privacy is theft)
6. Ty explains how the company had changed from its original start. Has its core values changed from when Mae started to the end of the book?
7. Bailey uses the phrase “All that happens must be known” when he is talking about the SeeChange video project and holding people accountable for their actions. This is a strong statement. In what ways do you agree or disagree with this phrase?
8. Mercer talks about how now that everyone is on social media, “there’s this new neediness.” Did you pick up on that neediness? What does he mean? Why do you think that neediness developed?
9. Towards the end at the idea forum, one of the presenters had a malfunction where an alarm went off too loud. Stenton had a big reaction to this, described as being barely able to control his rage, and saying “Turn it off or we walk out of here.” Why did he have such a strong reaction to something that was too loud?
10. How has Mae changed from the beginning of the book to the end? How hasn’t she changed?
11. Did you think Mae was a fully fleshed out character? Was her naivety believable, or was it just a mechanism to move the story along?
12. As the reader, were there moments where you ever felt manipulated?
13. The book has no chapters, and is just broken up into three parts. How do you think this added to the story? Why do you think this was done?
14. Who did you think Kalden was?
15. Why does Mae have such a negative strong reaction to Mercer? Why was she so persistent in trying to convince him the value of the Circle?
16. One of the times when Mae went kayaking she met a couple in their early fifties, has a drink with them, and then left. What was their purpose in the story?
17. What would closing the Circle mean?
18. Why did Stenson and Eamon need Mae to help close the Circle?
19. In the end, could Kalden/Ty have said something different to convince Mae to stop trying to help close the Circle, or was she too far gone?
20. NYTimes says, “Mae, then, is not a victim but a dull villain.” How is this true? How is this not true?
(2016 Mount Prospect Public Library. All rights reserved. Used with Permission.)