Feed Summary

M.T. Anderson


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Feed Summary

SuperSummary, a modern alternative to SparkNotes and CliffsNotes, offers high-quality study guides that feature detailed chapter summaries and analysis of major themes, characters, quotes, and essay topics.  This one-page guide includes a plot summary and brief analysis of Feed by M.T. Anderson.

Feed by M.T. Anderson is about Titus, a teen who has a transmitter, or feed, in his brain. The feed transmits advertisements and suggestions that influence his life and his friends’ lives. After Violet, the girl Titus has a crush on, questions the feed, Titus goes on a quest to find out the truth about the feed, and what it really means to live life by it. The story takes place in the future, at least one hundred years in the future. Titus and his friends live in the United States.

Titus is constantly bored, despite the constant stream of media coming through the feed. He meets Violet while partying on the moon at a nightclub. Titus, his friends, and Violet all get their feeds turned off after they are hacked, and must be hospitalized until their feeds can be reactivated. This experience spurs Titus to go on his quest after Violet continues to question the feed.

Back in the United States, Titus and Violet grow closer, falling in love. However, there are significant differences in their upbringing. Whereas Titus comes from a wealthy family, Violet’s family is poor. She can read and write, and think for herself—Violet is what is known as a traditionalist. The feed does not direct her life in the same way it does Titus and his friends. As their love deepens, Titus begins to think more like her. He starts to think of his friends as childish, and spends less time with them.

The hack that initially shut down their feeds on the moon has another consequence—it is killing Violet. It paralyzes her, causes her to experience convulsions, and destroys her body’s ability to function properly. Unable to cope with the changes Violet is experiencing, Titus breaks up with her and begins dating someone else. He returns to his friends, and goes on as though nothing has changed, acting immature with them and doing everything the feed tells him to do.

But Titus cannot forget Violet. Upon learning she is braindead, he goes to visit her. He reads to her but not from the feed. In her presence, he is able to push back, to resist the media coming in through the feed. Titus still loves her, and has learned through that love, to resist.

There are three themes that come to life in Feed. The first is boredom. Titus is bored by everything—the moon, Mars, and everything in the feed. Nothing sparks his interest, at least, not until he meets Violet. Everything she does, wears, and says interests Titus. While hospitalized, boredom becomes a concern again because they do not have the feed delivering media constantly. They play games in the hospital and make messes, all to have fun. Once Titus’s friends are back on the feed, they are threatened by boredom again. The boys play silly games and the girls change their appearance constantly. Sometimes they go into mal, which stands for malfunction, and acts like an addictive, anti-boredom drug. Titus re-enters this environment when he breaks up with Violet.

Another theme is the price of technology. Specifically, M.T. Anderson writes about the effect of technology on young people in America. Teenagers in Feed get instant gratification and they don’t have to think anymore. They cannot read or write, unlike traditionalists such as Violet. School teaches to the feed, and is focused on training students to get good deals, to decorate their rooms, and to get good jobs. They do not learn about history, math, science, and literature. They do not need to think for themselves or make decisions, because the feed does that for them. Corporate America controls the feed. Parents create their children with a focus on physical beauty. In Feed, M.T. Anderson comments that technology ruins young adults in America by taking away their need to think.

Self-exploration is the third important theme in Feed. Meeting Violet is a catalyst for Titus beginning to think for himself. He discovers that he can think, and that he enjoys thinking. The ability to think also allows him to fall in love with Violet. Through self-exploration, Titus grows up and learns to resist the media pushed into his brain by the feed.

Published in 2002, Feed is a dystopian novel. Dystopian is the opposite of utopian; a society based on inequality and struggle. In this novel, Anderson comments on how consumerism and corporate power leads to the decay of human intelligence and the environment. Feed was a finalist in 2002 for the National Book Award for Young People’s Literature. It won the 2003 Boston Globe-Horn Book Award for Fiction and the 2003 Golden Duck Awards Hal Clement Award for Young Adults. The novel was nominated for the 2005-2006 Green Mountain Book Award.