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
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
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