The protagonist of The Circle. A recent college graduate and native of Longfield, California, Mae is a quick study who rapidly rises in the ranks at the Circle. As she gets sucked into the cult of the Circle, she loses her identity and outside relationships and becomes more and more like a robot. Once she goes transparent, being watched all day by anyone who tunes in, she becomes increasingly superficial, and she puts aside the irresponsible days of youth and becomes a world-renowned model of external virtue.
Mae's best friend and coworker at the Circle. Annie comes from a wealthy family with a long, but sordid, history in the United States. She is high up in the Circle - in the Gang of 40 - and specializes in international law. Annie works long hours and is incredibly cheerful yet goal-oriented. It is she who secures Mae a job, but she feels threatened after Mae's quick success within the company.
The Circle employee who first shows Mae around campus.
Mae's old boss at 3B-East, the gas and electric utility.
Ty Gospodinov is one of the three Wise Men and the original visionary of the Circle. He created TruYou, which combines all of one's online accounts into one identity for all interactions. He is aloof and mysterious and known for wearing laid-back attire and hoodies. He takes an interest in Mae but will not reveal his true identity to her, going by the name Kalden and wearing different clothes (and revealing his prematurely gray hair) as their relationship becomes sexual. As the story progresses, he attempts to warn Mae of the dangers of the Circle's Completion that she is assisting in bringing about.
One of the three Wise Men and the public face of the Circle. It is Bailey who most firmly believes in all people having access to all information, and he becomes close with Mae after her nighttime kayak, turning it into an opportunity for her to go publicly transparent. He also, perhaps incongruously, loves and collects artifacts in his private Ochre Library.
One of the three Wise Men, and the most flashy of the three. He takes a particular interest in the acquisition of a transparent shark from the Marianas Trench, which is publicly fed other sea creatures.
A Circle employee particularly focused on issues of youth abduction and abuse, as he and his siblings lived in foster homes as children and two sisters were abducted, raped, and killed. This leads him to head the creation of TruYouth, a technology in which a chip is embedded in the bones of children so that their parents and the government can track them. He and Mae become romantically involved, though she has issues with his bluntness and his sexual problems of premature ejaculation and asking to be rated on his performance.
Owner of the kayak rental Mae frequents who gets Mae off without charges when she borrows a kayak at night and is caught by SeeChange cameras.
Mae's Mother and Father
A quiet couple living in Longfield, California. Mae's father has been diagnosed recently with MS (Multiple Sclerosis) and faces problems with his health insurance, until Mae gets them on the Circle's medical plan. They are incredibly proud of Mae when she gets a job with the Circle, but become weary of her technology-focused ways as she becomes more deeply enmeshed, going so far as to cover up the SeeChange cameras in their home.
Mae's ex-boyfriend, crafter of chandeliers from antlers, friend to Mae's parents, and staunch opposer of the Circle and its monopolization of information and government action. After Mae attempts to help him by posting pictures of his chandeliers online, he lectures her frequently on the imminent doom of society due to the Circle and people of her ilk. He attempts to remove himself from technological society by fleeing north, but Mae causes his suicide by using the Circle to track him down.
Mae's direct boss in Customer Experience at the Circle. Dan believes strongly in the social environment of the Circle, and scolds Mae often in her early days for lack of in-person and online social involvement.
A Circle employee who becomes very upset with Mae after she does not attend his "Portugal Brunch" and later gives Mae a frown in the first testing of Demoxie.
Another Circle employee in Customer Experience.
Mae's doctor at the Circle's clinic who sets her up with the company's health plan and suggests putting her parents on the plan as well.
The Circle Questions and Answers
The Question and Answer section for The Circle is a great
resource to ask questions, find answers, and discuss the novel.