Essay: ‘The Circle’ by Dave Eggers

One of the few inner conflicts we see with Mae is with Kalden, the love interest who emerges from the shadows she meets at a Circle social event. Kalden is a contradiction from the beginning. He appears to look older than his age, knows his way around the company’s campus, however is not known by others, and intentionally has limited contact with Mae. His secret identity keeps us attracted in a world where there should be no secrets.
When Kalden was initially introduced, you don’t become uncertain of him to question his character since it was so early in the book. As I continued on in the novel and the identity of this mysterious man was still unknown, I automatically thought there was a greater purpose for his character. Mae was secretly meeting up with Kalden, has no clue as to what his last name is, or even for which part of The Circle he worked. When Mae asks Annie, who knows every employee at The Circle, but has never heard of any “Kalden’ and cannot come to discover who he is she is convinced he is some sort of spy and tells Mae to “watch out.” It confused me that Mae would jeopardize her position at The Circle just to meet up with him knowing that this man could possibility be a threat to the company. By Eggers adding this character to the book, it puts the reader on an edge throughout the story.
Mae thought of all the times Kalden would appear into the shadows, and leave without informing her of any way to contact him, which kept Mae interested in his mystique, but pushed Mae towards The Circle and its whole purpose. Mae searched numerous times for Kalden on Circle feeds, but not once did she ever come across his face or name. But once Mae begins her technology frenzy she came to the conclusion that if Kalden weren’t available for technology then he wasn’t available for her. Often individuals in society base relationships on the many forms of available technology such as cell phones and computers, depriving them of that face-to-face human interaction. Therefore, building a bond is sometimes harder because of the forgotten ways of face-to-face communication that technology has taken away. In one way, Mae and Kalden experience this.

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