Comparative Analysis Essay

Published: 2021/11/08
Number of words: 2037


Social networking and the internet have been the modern forms of virtual communications for people separated by distance across the whole world. Nevertheless, social networking has become a center where many of its users tend to find solace in communicating with various friends that they build on the platforms since such friends can be accessed at any given time. But the question arises here, how does the theme of social networking and the internet in “The Circle” regarding happiness and beauty compare and contrast itself from the theme of happiness in the “Sunday Morning?”

The Circle by Dave Eggers

The Circle by Dave Eggers is a satirical book on the values and cultures emerging from the use of the internet in the modern technological age. Notably, it criticizes those cultures that emerge from social networking where the vast majority of people interact personally but don’t have face-to-face interactions which may never meet at any point in their lives due to the variations in distance. Eggers tries to show some frightening implications of online relationships and lives’ psychological and moral values in the book (AbdulZahra et al. pp 11990-12000). The Circle expresses that so many problems come with disposable and shallow human relationships, which are generally mediated by social networking platforms.

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The Circle additionally exposes the dangers that come with social networking platforms where the novel brings on board the story of Mae, who becomes more loyal and close to her internet followers, which are in millions than it is to Annie Allerton, who is her closest and long-time friend. Moreover, putting into the realization that social networking comes along with shallow relationships, the novel highlights that these sites of social networking train humans to think that all relationships, regardless of being face-to-face or virtual, are shallow and superficial. Additionally, the Circle highlights that social networking has trained people to feel irrational in need of constant attention from their confidants through the creation of endless streams of virtual friendships (AbdulZahra 11991). Additionally, it constantly enables people who have good access to the internet to enjoy constant communication with various people literally at any given time.

The Theme of Happiness in the internet and Social Networking

In the book, part eight (8), Mae feels guilty of stealing. She sees it as a horrible crime after the kayak ordeal and after having a conversation with her friend Dan. She finds herself having difficulties focusing on anything she did not tell anybody (Khor 12). Instead of taking a personal stand for herself and telling Dan that stealing a kayak was not a big deal and that Dan should concentrate on his business, Mae feels intensively nervous after being led to Bailey’s library in the evening minutes before six pm.

Sunday Morning by Wallace Stevens

Sunday morning is a poem written by Wallace Stevens which describes a woman who is spending her early Sunday morning while sitting outside her house instead of going out and attending the church proceedings. As the woman enjoys the sun of the Sunday morning, she gets a dream that leads her to feel guilty concerning Christ’s death, including Palestine’s journey to the tomb of Christ (Hussain 73). However, although the woman still feels skeptical regarding religion, she does not imply anything towards giving up and committing her life and the pleasures of religion towards the Christian god.

In the second stanza of the poem, the speaker compares Christ to the Roman and the Greek god Jove who is different as he represents the sun’s image instead of being the actual sun. In addition, the speaker is left wondering why humans have the desire to create religion and whether paradise exists or cannot exist. The poem also highlights the woman as having peace by finding it through the sights of the birds waking up, walking closely around her, and taking off to find some food to eat. She then realizes that beauty should be believed to be cherished and death should equally be feared, although the speaker contrasts the opinion by stating that there is no chance where beauty can exist with the absence of death (Holguin 9). His point illustrates the actions of men of the pagan religion who worship the sun due to its influence on the land instead of worshiping the powers it wields the wrath of such powers.

The Theme of Happiness in the Sunday Morning

The poem’s theme surrounds the interactions between humanity and nature, where nature symbolizes both death and paradise to humankind. The theme brings about the nature images associated with religious beliefs, nature’s independence, and the disregard for human affairs. Additionally, the central theme is the happiness theme which is overwhelming due to the woman who thinks of her happiness on the Sunday morning where she considers whether to feel guilty.

Comparison between the Theme of the “internet and Social Networking” in the Circle and the theme of “happiness” in the Sunday Morning

The theme of the internet and social networking in the Circle book realizes that social networking brings people closer and bridges the gap between friends where relationships are built on shallow foundations. It emphasizes that happiness is brought through interaction on social media platforms and that relationships can be made virtually. The theme compares to happiness in the Sunday morning poem because the woman finds happiness by observing the birds as they wake and walk around, where the situation creates a virtual sense of happiness, just like the happiness found across the virtual social media platforms. Another comparison is the sense of feeling guilty about things that are literally of low social wrongs where the woman in the Sunday morning poem feels the guilt of the death of Christ and for not attending the church. In contrast, in the Circle, Mae also feels guilty for stealing the kayak and considers it a horrible crime.

Additionally, there evolves another comparison to the two themes wherein the internet and social networking theme in the Circle, Mae falls for the love of Francis Garaventa after a single dating event but later comes to realize that she has learned little about Francis, the man who she astonishingly claimed to have massive care for. It highlights it as blame to the social networking that has trained Mae not to investigate deeply into most of her relationships. In comparison to this perception, the Sunday morning also wonders why the pagan men worship the sun instead of worshipping the powers that the sun wields its power from. The theme in Sunday morning compares to social networking and the internet by highlighting that the different parties to the two themes have based their trust on things they can see, but they don’t know their origins.

In the Circle, Mae has distanced herself from Annie, her close friend, and puts her trust under the mercy of her social networks, getting solace in Francis, which indicates her alienation from Annie was based on self-interests. In the Sunday Morning poem, the woman also alienates herself from the other humankind to spend the day with the birds and nature for self-interests. For Mae, she does not want to share with Annie the new developments in her life as the woman in the Sunday morning poem does not want to share her possessions with the church and chooses to stay with them.

In the Circle, Social networking is a technology that has been developed by humanity through technological advancements and has created a massive difference in the lives of humankind. Social networking has become like a god to be worshipped as people spend most of their time engaging in relationships built through social networking platforms. Since then, the social networking platforms have established themselves as centers to be worshiped compared to the actual creator who gives humankind the ability to develop the technology. It compares closely to the Sunday morning theme of happiness where humans developed myths to illustrate that Jove is inhuman, unlike Christ, who had parents to take care of him, nor did he have a sweet land like Christ where he would call home. The Sunday Morning poem illustrates that humanity can formulate myths where Jove is depicted as a god.

The contrast between the two themes of internet and social networking in the Circle and that of Happiness in the Sunday Morning

According to the internet and social networking theme, Mae abandons her close confidant Annie Allerton to concentrate on her newfound friends in the social media platforms where she finds absolute happiness. At the same time, in the Sunday Morning poem, the woman is lost to nature and its creation instead of having her relationship built around the humankind. It contrasts as Mae is attracted by the human population, where millions of them follow her. In contrast, the woman on Sunday morning is attracted to nature. Therefore, she spends most of her time observing the creation of the natural world instead of interacting with the other people at the church.

In contrast to the two themes about building trust in virtual relationships, the Circle observes that Mae fell in love with Francis out of social networking influence without having complete know-how of who exactly Francis was. While in the Sunday Morning bases its arguments that people create religion to worship a god they don’t understand. However, it recognizes that the beauty of nature cannot exist where there is no death because there is paradise after death.

A contrast evolves in the Circle about the sharing of possessions as Mae abandons her long-time friend and confidant Annie to concentrate on her new friend-turned lover Francis so that she cannot share the possessions that she may gain from Francis with Annie. It meant that she has a sense of selfishness towards her new possessions and the developments in her life. In contrast, the Sunday Morning poem highlights the woman as considering giving up those pleasures gained from the sun and is not convinced of Christianity as it means giving her possessions to the church, which she is of an objection to the opinion. Therefore, she is portrayed as selfish since she wants to keep her possessions.

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According to the Circle, social networking and the internet are defined to have been developed towards becoming one of the gods of the internet age where all the processes that require the inclusion of the readings of the scriptures and the Christian values are based through searching from the internet as opposed to the traditional methods of reading the scriptures from the bible. Moreover, the internet and social networking create cultural, social, and religious conflicts that lead to blood shading. In the Sunday morning poem, the formulation of the myth about Jove, who later turns out as a star that is now the Jupiter where they gave out their lives and offered blood to create it where the speaker considers it not enough for the sake of humanity.


Peace of mind is an essential factor in the lives of humankind, no matter where it is gotten from. Some people find it necessary to acquire the peace that leads them into happiness from social networking sites, while others find their pleasures that lead them to happiness from nature’s creation. As Mae found her happiness and peace through the social networking platforms where she gained a majority of her friends in “The Circle,” the woman in the “Sunday Morning” found her peace in nature by observing the creation where she stared at the birds instead of uniting with other people in the church for the Sunday processions. Therefore, individuals should have the required space to find their peace and happiness without restrictions.

Works Cited

AbdulZahra, Hasanain Riyadh, et al. “FOUCAULDIAN SURVEILLANCE IN DAVE EGGERS’THE CIRCLE.” PalArch’s Journal of Archaeology of Egypt/Egyptology 17.7 (2020): 11986-12001.

Holguin, Carolina. “Wallace Stevens and the Meaning of Poetry.” Locus: The Seton Hall Journal of Undergraduate Research 3.1 (2020): 9.


Khor, Lena. “Closed Morality and Open Love in Dave Eggers’ what is the what.” South Central Review 38.1 (2021): 1-23.

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