Feed is a sci-fi novel written by M. T. Anderson. It is set in the future where companies have invented a network, called the Feed, that connects everyone to the internet and to each other. Titus, the main character throughout the novel, meets Violet, who questions the Feed and the government's use of it on its citizens. Violet tries to get Titus to realize that he and many others are being suppressed by the governemnt with the Feed, but Titus does not understand that the Feed is dumbing down citizens making them oblivious.
World Issue: Cyber Addiction
Cyber addiction is very present in Feed. People are constantly online and bombarded with ads. Today, internet addiction is a growing problem. Internet addiction does not include the absorption of any chemicals, and can range from severe to mild. Someone classified as being addicted to the internet means that their time on the computer interferes with their normal life in a detrimental way.
Cyber addiction not only affects your life emotionally but also physically. Extended periods of time spent on a computer can increase your weight. Some people become so addicted to the internet, they do not notice their health degrading. Cyber addiction can also cause families to tear apart. In Feed, cyber addiction leads citizens to become very ignorant of their surroundings.
Titus in Feed starts as a normal teenager enjoying time with his friends on the Moon. He meets a girl, Violet, who is peculiar at first glance. They bond and continue to spend time on the moon. Throughout their time there, the reader is given fragments of news stories here and there; each one hinting at political issues and protests against the Feed. Until the end of the novel, Titus never even realizes that the Feed is a problem to many people, because of his constant connection to the internet, which makes him ignorant. After they are "hacked" by a member of a crime group at a party, Violet spends time analyzing the news and encouraging Titus to stay aware of what was going on. Titus does not comply; he, like many others, do not care about the news or protests against the Feed. Many people are ignorant and just continue on with their lives filled with the internet. Throughout the story, more and more hints are given to the reader about world affairs; some weird, some disturbing. Titus, still ignorant to anyone who dislikes the Feed, becomes distant when a Violet becomes sick. She blames the Feed for her illness, and Titus does not believe her. Titus eventually realizes that the Feed is a problem, but is too late, as Violet is near death when he starts to understand. While Feed has extreme cases of internet addiction due to constantly being online, cases in the real world aren't that different.
Unfortunately, while we do not have anything like the Feed, internet addiction is a problem today, and it is not recognized widely renough to be treated or taken care of. Like in the story, internet addiction can cause people to become unhealthy, to drop grades, and to become stressed or depressed.
Some of the effects of internet addiction shown in this article are present in a Feed. For example, while at the hospital on the Moon, Titus and his friends are saddened and lonely without the Feed. When Titus first awoke, he felt irritable and stressed to find out he was not connected to the internet. The group feels this way without the Feed because they are addicted to it; it is a part of them, and they cannot live without it.
Due to Violet's late installation of her Feed, when she gets "hacked" on the Moon, her health starts to deteriorate. Unlike Titus and his friends, Violet and her father do not have a lot of money. Because of this, Violet throughout the story slowly degrades, as she cannot afford to repair her Feed. Violet throughout the story has outbursts and episodes, which make Titus embarrassed and uncomfortable. Titus eventually breaks up with Violet. Before her death, Violet pleads for Titus to come visit her before she died. This leads to Titus, in the end, come to terms with Violet. Titus stayed with Violet in her final moments. Due to the Feed, Violet dies, and people around her barely realize.
This conflict in Feed happens all around the world. People every day die because they do not have the option of going to a hospital and getting treated, or simply cannot afford treatment. These people are poor and can do nothing about it. Like Violet, they have to slowly die over time, knowing that they cannot be treated. This leads to outrages on healthcare plans, as they are seen unfair and cruel by some people. The public's addiction to the Feed made Violet's father obligated to buy her the Feed; which led to her death.
The biggest theme in Feed is the dire effects of consumerism and ignorance, due to ease of access and mindless purchasing. People in Feed are literally connected to the internet at all times, and are constantly exposed to advertisements about products, trends, music, etcetera. In Feed, it is hinted that pollution is so bad in the U.S. that people form lesions on their body, and eventually near the end of the novel start to lose skin. This pollution is due to the making and use of an abundant amount of materials. Between the group of teenagers, Violet seems to be the only person who realizes what is going on, and openly disputes it. Clouds in the sky are mere visual representations owned by companies, and animals are scarce; farmers genetically grow meat in fields. This consumerism in Feed distracts people from understanding what is happening to them, and makes them ignorant to current events.
This article explains the effects of consumerism across the globe. A big part of the effects is that wealthy people gain money off the poor; a widely debated topic. Violet it a victim of this; she and her father do not have enough money to fix her Feed. Also, in the story, the U.S. profits off of other countries. Consumerism in Feed makes people corrupt and creates detrimental effects such as pollution. People using the Feed do not realize how bad of conditions other countries are in.
When Titus and his friends get hacked at the Rumble Spot, they are taken to the hospital to recover. When Titus awakes in his bed, the first thing he realizes is that he is not connected to the Feed. He tries to see his balance, but cannot. He then tries to message his friends, then his family, but fails. After this, Titus becomes scared and worried about what might have happened to him. Due to his connection to the Feed, whenever Titus does not have it, he stresses; an effects of addiction.
Violet throughout the story tries to make Titus understand what is happening in the news. In Feed, 73% of Americans have the Feed installed into them. Since large corporations, not the government, owns the Feeds, they basically control the people. This connection leaves people dumbed down and careless. Throughout the story, it is shown that the careless acts of U.S. corporations lead other countries in an alliance to wage war against the U.S. This is due to people not rising up and revolting against corrupt corporations, because the people did not even know what was going on. Internet Addiction and the Feed allowed companies to take over America, because of their effects on civilians.