|FEED Study Guide
Titus is the narrator of the novel. He is a teenager who has a feed, or transmitter
implanted into his brain. He is from a wealthy family and can easily afford to take trips to
the moon. He parties with his friends like a normal teenager and engages in forbidden
activities such as drinking and horseplay. The feed dominates his life, as it does with
every teenager in the novel, and the feed controls his mind completely. When Titus
thinks about something or wants something, the feed will send out advertisements,
media announcements and shows to him. He and his friends decide what is trendy by
the feed. As the novel begins, Titus is a typical, immature teenager living a normal life.
He is bored by everything, which is also very normal for a teenager.
As the book progresses, Titus meets his love interest, Violet. Her traditionalist influence
rubs off on him and he starts to have deep emotions for her. He starts to rethink the way
he thinks about the feed and how silly his friends seem. This self journey and a
traumatic experience with a hacker turns Titus into a mature, thoughtful person. Titus is
also beautiful, as his parents genetically modeled him from the physical features of a
television star. He is also not smart, since his parents did not model him with
intelligence. Due to dealing with Violet's impending death, he begins to have insightful
thoughts and becomes even more mature. He falls in love with Violet and cares for her
Violet is the girl that Titus meets at the Ricochet Club on the moon. She is the most
beautiful girl he has ever seen. He is instantly attracted to her. She is dressed in gray
wool, which is an old-fashioned outfit. She is an observer. She comes from a poor family and lives a traditionalist or old-fashioned lifestyle, due to her college professor father's influence. The father believes people are becoming stupid and simple because of the feed. So does Violet. Violet is rare because she has experienced life without the feed. She did not have the feed implanted into her head until she was seven years old. So she knows how to read and write, which Titus and his friends hardly know how to do.
Violet is extremely intelligent. She is homeschooled and studies constantly about all
different kinds of knowledge. Violet obsesses over the fact that the feed turns everyone
into mindless idiots. She wants to change this and does a project to confuse the feed.
Due to the hacker trauma, she is slowly dying. She becomes paralyzed at times and
must face her impending death with Titus at her side. Violet has not experienced a lot of
the world, as opposed to Titus and his friends, due to her family's financial situation. Her
mother lives in South America. She left when Violet was young. Violet holds on to her
father's idea of the feed and tries to fight the feed in the only ways she can.
Link is Titus's friend. He is ugly, tall and very rich. His feed signal attracts other people,
so everyone wants to be friends with him.
Marty is Titus's friend. He is good at everything.
Calista is Titus's friend. She is blond, beautiful and comes off as very important to
others. She can usually get into bars due to all these traits, despite the fact, she is a
Loga is Titus's ex-girlfriend. Originally, she didn't want to talk to Titus after their breakup,
but they are friends now.
Steve, Titus' Father
Steve, Titus's father, is a businessman. He checks on Titus in the hospital, but does not
give him any answers as to when he can leave the hospital.
Quendy is usually second fiddle to Calista's beauty and charm, and she knows it.
Quendy worries about a huge lesion on her forehead, but then learns to embrace
The old man hacks into Titus and his friends' feeds, causing them to get their feeds shut
off and a stay in the hospital.
Smell Factor is Titus's six-year-old brother. He likes to play with toy birds, plays baseball
and is coddled by the mother.
Violet's father is a college professor. He is a traditionalist who reads, writes and studies
dead languages. He is what humans used to be without the feed. He speaks in very
complicated sentences with difficult vocabulary that no one can understand.
Unettes is a space, slang term for girls.
An upcar is a flying car that transports characters in the novel from place to place.
A bonesprocket is a derogatory word for a kill joy, or someone who does not partake in
the fun around her/him.
A feed is a transmitter implanted in the characters' brains.
The Ricochet Lounge is a nightclub on the moon where party goers wear space suits
and crash into each other due to the no gravity and low gravity atmosphere.
Unit is a space, slang term for dude or man, a.k.a. a friendly greeting among teenagers.
Cro-Magnon is prehistoric man.
A feednet is a feed network that allows those with feeds to listen to their feeds and chat,
or telepathically speak amongst one another.
Weatherbee & Crotch
Weatherbee & Crotch is a clothing store that comes on Titus's feed. It is a satirical name
for the real clothing store Abercrombie & Fitch, which is popular among American
In mal is when a person with a feed is in malfunction. In other words, when the feed is
not working properly. It is illegal to go in mal, much like doing an illegal drug.
Oh? Wow! Thing!
Oh? Wow! Thing! is a show the teenagers like to watch on their feed.
Titus complains of boredom as the novel opens. He thinks the moon is boring and Mars
is boring. Like a typical teenager, everything is boring. Even the feed constantly running
through his head is boring. Then he meets Violet and she is the opposite of boredom.
The way she can push juice out of her mouth and make it float in front of her is not
boring. The way she dresses, in an old-fashioned, gray wool outfit is interesting. Titus is
instantly attracted to Violet because she is not the norm. He is struck by her
traditionalist ways, and Violet starts to consume him instead of the feed. He becomes
less bored. When they are in the hospital, they must keep from being bored at all costs, especially since the feed is shut off. They play with hypodermic needs, make a mess out of the hospital ward and even one boy ties himself to the bed and tries to stand up. Everything is a game. Everything is done with the mission to not be bored. Later in the novel, Titus's friends who live and die by the feed are always bored and invent new things to amuse themselves. The boys are constantly inventing silly games to keep themselves occupied. The girls change hairstyles several times a day to keep from being bored. They also shop for trendy clothes, and change their look constantly to
stay exciting. In fact, they are so bored at times, they go in mal, or malfunction, which is
a forbidden action, or in other words, used like an illegal drug. Their boredom continues
to a party at Link's house. They decide to immerse themselves in a very immature game
of spin the bottle just to be entertained.
Technology Ruins America's Youth
M.T. Anderson provides a host of social commentary for this novel. One major theme is
how technology, including media and advertising, ruins America's youth. Since the feed
is in the teenagers' head, they live and die by the feed. Everything they want is
instantaneous. They no longer have a reason to think as individuals and increase their
intelligence. Instead, they are content with having technology do everything for them.
They cannot even read or write because everything they need is done by the feed. In
School, teenagers learn about the feed, how to find the best bargains, how to get a job
and how to decorate their rooms. Regular subjects such as literature and math are not
in School. Thus, the feed or technology ruins America's youth by dummying them down.
The constant advertisements running through their heads also ruin the youth. Instead of
thinking and deciding for themselves, the feed decides what they should buy, how to
dress, what trends to follow, what shows to watch and what music to listen to. The feed
is controlled by corporate America. School is also run by corporate America. Therefore,
it is the corporations who control the youth. In addition, parents genetically create their
children to be perfect, beautiful specimens in regard to physical appearance.
Intelligence is not a priority because the feed controls their brains anyway. There is no
need for intelligence in this world. It is only Violet, a girl who once lived without the feed,
who understands what intelligence and thinking mean and how dangerous it is that the
feed controls everyone's mind. But she is a rarity because the feed controls most of
America's youth, thus ruining them.
Journey of Self-Exploration
As the novel begins, Titus is a normal teenager. The feed controls him as it does his
friends. He does immature things such as horseplay and giving into the whims of his
unintelligent friends. He thinks everything is boring, even trips to the moon and Mars.
He is a vapid character who cannot think for himself. Instead, he lets the feed think for
him. However, when he meets Violet, who is a traditionalist, he begins to think. Violet
makes him think about things he otherwise never would. Instead of the feed choosing
everything for him, he starts to go on a self-journey. He realizes there is more to life
than the feed due to Violet. She can read, write and sew—all things a normal human
without a feed can do. He is fascinated by this and delves into her world.
He begins to discover other things besides the feed, such as books, writing, different
neighborhoods and landscapes. He sees the world as more than the feed. He feels in
love and he has deep emotions for Violet. He discovers new words as Violet has an
extensive vocabulary. When a traumatic event happens to both of them, both he and
Violet are changed, while his friends remain immature and silly. He sees his friends as
silly and pulls away from their world. Instead, he is more and more attracted to Violet's
world and becomes more mature. He continues his journey of self-exploration as he
begins to think about the feed for what it is, and not just blindly accept everything the
feed tells him. This is all eventual preparation for Titus's completed journey of learning
to resist the feed.
Point of View
The novel is told from a first person point of view. Titus, the narrator of the novel, gives
the reader a close, first person point of view. Titus gives the reader access to his most
private thoughts, including those he does not even share telepathically with Violet or his
friends. Titus provides details similar to those of a normal teenager. He relays
observations and details about his surroundings from a teenager perspective. In other
words, through Titus's first person point of view, the reader receives descriptions of
things that Titus notices as being "cool" or interesting. For example, when he meets
Violet, she can push juice out of her mouth and suspend it in midair. Those are the type
of details Titus provides, whether they are about a juice trick, trendy clothing,
nightclubbing or horseplay with his friends. Thus, the point of view is adolescent and
tends to lack any sort of depth or maturity until Titus goes through a trauma, and then
finds out Violet is sick.
The story is told through exposition and dialogue. Titus gives descriptions of places and
people, but he also has a lot dialogue. Some of the dialogue is actual speaking. The
rest of the dialogue is chat, or a telepathic way Titus communicates with his friends.
Both forms of dialogue read the same, but chat is in italics.
The reader also gets access to the feed in Titus's brain. However, the feed is from a
third person point of view. When the readers see the feed, it is a garble of
advertisements, feed shows, radio, music and political news. The third person of the
feed allows the reader to get a full perspective of the world in which Titus lives, and
sheds light on what happens in the actual world, besides what happens in Titus's
The novel is set in somewhere in the United States a hundred or so years in the future.
Titus mentions flying his upcar over Nebraska, but the reader is not told exactly where
he lives in the US. At the beginning of the novel, Titus and his friends party on the
moon. They go to a no gravity/low gravity nightclub and bounce around. After the hack,
they are in a moon hospital. It is similar to a regular hospital and has more gravity. After
they leave the hospital, they return to Earth. For Titus and his friends, their homes are
all very upscale, since they come from wealthy families. Each of their homes is situated
inside a pod. The pod controls the seasons. Inside their homes, it is normal. Their
houses have utensils for eating, dishes, furniture and attics.
Titus travels to Violet's neighborhood and house. It is poor. It has regular streets for
when cars were down on the ground. It does not have pods to control the seasons.
Inside Violet's house, he is shocked by how much writing he sees. There are
newspapers, books and posters with writing on the walls. Since the feed, writing and
reading is primitive. Violet's house is a representation of the old world, as the reader
On Earth, forests are cut down for air factories. There are virtually no trees. When Titus
and Violet visit a farm, it is a maze of meat, but they do enjoy eating donuts. Therefore,
some parts of Earth are completely the same, while others are drastically different.
Language and Meaning
The language of the novel is very informal. Since it is written from a teenager's point of
view, there is a lot of slang. However, the slang is a futurist slang the author invents. For
example, instead of saying, "dude" or "man," Titus and his friends say "unit" to each
other. There is also a good amount of swearing from Titus and his friends. However, the
interesting part is that Tituss father also speaks like one of the kids, as he swears and
uses their slang. The language is very simple. Since the feed controls everything and
most people are illiterate, the language they speak is very simple and without frills. Due
to the feed, no one has extensive vocabulary except for Violet and her father, who study
language. They use extensive vocabulary words, especially the father, and are shunned
for doing so.
Descriptions are not extensive, but they come in necessary places. Descriptions of the
moon and Earth are necessary because otherwise the reader will not understand.
Description creates this futuristic world for the reader to inhabit. Strange behaviors are
also described, such as Violet's juice trick, or when Titus and his friends are hacked
The most interesting part of the language in this novel is it is very reminiscent of J.D.
Salinger's masterpiece, The Catcher in the Rye. Titus's voice is almost identical to the
voice of Holden Caulfield, especially when Titus says everything is boring all the time,
which is similar to Holden saying everything is lousy all the time. Perhaps J.D.
Salinger's writing rubbed off on M.T. Anderson because Titus seems like a futuristic
version of Holden.
This novel is comprised of four parts. Each part has a name, which displays the overall
theme for each part. Chapter length varies from one page to approximately twelve
pages long. Each chapter is not numbered. Instead, each chapter has a name alluding
to an event that happens within the chapter. The chapters have short paragraphs with
minimal description. The book has a very certain timeline. It follows Titus life day by day, and only short spans of a few days or so to move time along. The reader knows exactly where s/he is in the timeline. The plot of the novel is simple and without subplots. The novel is about Titus's life as teenager on Earth and how he lives and dies by the feed until he meets Violet. Violet makes him think differently about the feed, and they must grapple with her impending death.
The novel's pace is normal and moves moderately. It is neither fast-paced or slow. It is
the right speed for a modern day, young adult reader. It is a very easy read with some
difficult vocabulary interspersed throughout the story. There are swearing and slang
terms. When the reader sees the feed, it is always on a separate page, at the end of the
chapter and with bullets and italics. The plot engrosses the reader into this world of the
feed and futuristic Earth. Back story is virtually nonexistent except for a few
explanations of the characters' childhoods. The novel is a relatively easy read and
entertains as a whole.