Feed

Feed

by

M. T. Anderson

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Summary
Analysis
The friends arrive at their hotel. Their feeds “go fugue,” telling them where to shop and eat, to the point where Titus can barely see. The messages from his feed are “goldy and sparkling,” but the actual moon is full of air vents “streaked with black.”
The feed appears to have some kind of virtual reality feature—Titus can “see” colorful ads, even though the reality of the moon is rather ugly. This is a good example of how the society of Feed uses technology and propaganda to conceal the derelict condition of the environment.
Themes
Corporations and Consumerism Theme Icon
Titus, Marty, and Link—along with three female friends, Calista, Loga, and Quendy—find their hotel rooms. Titus is tired, but Marty and Link keep him awake by yelling, “Titus! Did you fuckin’ see that?” Titus convinces himself that he’s there to do “great stuff,” not to sleep.
This is the first, and one of the very few, times in the book when Titus’s real name is used. For most of the book, he narrates anonymously, suggesting how consumerism has stripped him of his unique identity. Titus and his friends believe that they have to be active constantly, such that having a moment of rest is inconceivable to them.
Themes
Corporations and Consumerism Theme Icon
Apathy, Happiness, and Satisfaction Theme Icon
The friends try to have fun. They eat dinner at a restaurant which is “just like the one at home.” Titus notices the moon has artificial gravity that makes it “almost like normal, which is how I like it.”
The irony here is that the friends travel away from their planet, just to eat at a place identical to the one at home. Titus isn’t particularly adventurous—rather, Titus seems to want to simply enjoy the same thing again and again.
Themes
Corporations and Consumerism Theme Icon
Apathy, Happiness, and Satisfaction Theme Icon
Class and Segregation Theme Icon
Link, Titus notes, is ugly, but he’s also rich, meaning that everybody wants to be his friend. Usually, Link and his friends can get into parties, but this time, they’re turned away from everywhere they go. The friends have “the lesions that people were getting.”
Gross materialism has become so glamorous that people are more interested in Link’s money than his looks. Additionally, Titus implies what will later be confirmed—that environmental decay is causing people to get lesions on their bodies.
Themes
Corporations and Consumerism Theme Icon
Class and Segregation Theme Icon
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The friends go to a place called the Ricochet Lounge, where customers can “slam” into one another. Even in the lounge, Link stands out because he’s so tall—apparently, he’s part of a “secret patriotic experiment.” Titus breaks his “arm lesion,” and it oozes everywhere. Titus and Loga dated until a few months ago, but he claims they’re friends now. Nevertheless, Titus is upset that when he slams into Loga, it doesn’t feel special.
Titus’s society seems to place a heavy premium on violent physical activity—that is, if crashing into someone else is seen as a meaningful form of interaction. Again, Titus seems unusually thoughtful and alienated from his society (although perhaps Link and Loga feel the same deep loneliness, and simply don’t know how to express it).
Themes
Corporations and Consumerism Theme Icon
Apathy, Happiness, and Satisfaction Theme Icon
Then, suddenly, Titus sees “the most beautiful girl, like, ever.” She’s watching Titus and his friends, and Titus can’t put into words why he finds her beautiful. As he tries to find the words, his feed suggests her spine is “supple.”
Titus is immediately attracted to this woman, but because he’s so dependent on his feed, he can’t summon the words to articulate his feelings without being prompted. Because of the feed, it’s suggested, Titus and his friends have no practice expressing emotion or describing beauty.
Themes
Corporations and Consumerism Theme Icon
Apathy, Happiness, and Satisfaction Theme Icon
The chapter ends with an interlude of advertisements. One ad explains that the word on the street is “squeaky,” and another is about a new hit single called “Bad Me, Bad You.”
The feed gives its user an endless stream of news and ads, usually for vacuous new music and products. The passage suggests the inescapability of the meaningless stream of ads that users are subjected to by their feeds.
Themes
Corporations and Consumerism Theme Icon