M. T. Anderson

Teachers and parents! Struggling with distance learning? Our Teacher Edition on Feed can help.

Feed takes place in a dystopian version of the United States of America in which the majority of the population uses a “feed”—a surgically-implanted device that enables the user to communicate electronically with others, look up any information, access limitless hours of free entertainment, and exposes them to endless advertisements for products. Titus of the novel, Titus, is a teenager from an upper-class family who spends his time horsing around with his friends Link Arwaker and Marty, going to School™ (corporations control the educational system, and use it to train kids to buy their products), and going on expensive vacations.

The novel begins when Titus and his friends take a trip to the moon over spring break, which turns out to “suck.” While they’re partying on the moon, however, they meet Violet Durn, a pretty, strange young woman who has travelled to the moon all by herself. Link invites Violet to have fun with them, and they go to a club. There, a mysterious old hacker attacks Titus and his friends’ feeds, rendering them frozen for a few hours.

Titus wakes up in the hospital, where his feed is being repaired. There, he and his friends—including Violet—have a surprisingly fun time, even though their feeds have been turned off. Titus is attracted to Violet, and she seems to like him for his thoughtfulness and occasional flights of poetry. After a week of this, Titus and his friends are released from the hospital with their feeds restored to working order. They’re so excited to have their feeds again that they laugh and cry.

Back on Earth, Titus resumes his old lifestyle of going to School™, spending time with his friends, and partying. He invites Violet to a party, and they end up kissing. Violet confesses that her feed is malfunctioning again, and sometimes she loses control of her body.

In the following weeks, Titus and Violet spend lots of time together. They go to the mall, where Violet tells Titus that she’s trying to construct a consumer taste profile for herself that’s so bizarre that no corporation will be able to advertise to her. Violet also confesses that she finds the feed lifestyle to be dull and narcissistic—because Titus and his friends are so used to having feeds, they’ve grown accustomed to getting whatever they want, whenever they want it. Titus is impressed and somewhat intimidated by Violet’s intelligence and articulacy. He also meets Violet’s father, a strange professor who speaks with a complicated vocabulary.

Meanwhile, there are feed reports that the President of the United States is taking a hard line with the rest of the world, refusing to exercise any control over American corporations. These corporations are ruining the environment, causing devastation to the rest of the world.

Titus’s parents buy him an upcar (i.e., flying car). His mom works in design, and his dad works in banking (and doesn’t seem to have any strong feelings for Titus). Titus drives Violet around in his new upcar, and they go to various places, such as a farm and the beach, both of which are putrid and toxic. Meanwhile, there are reports of riots across the world, protesting the United States. Environmental devastation is causing people’s skin to peel off, but there’s a new fashion trend—lesions—that everyone seems to want.

At a party at Link’s house, Violet becomes horrified when she realizes that Link’s friend Quendy has full-body lesions now. She screams that Link and his friends are “feed”—they’re slowly falling apart while people in other parts of the world are starving. Then, she seems to have a seizure. Titus takes her to the hospital. There, Violet learns that her feed is malfunctioning, and could threaten her life. Titus begins to feel uncomfortable around Violet, and isn’t sure what to say. However, Violet begins to turn to Titus for emotional support at all times of the day and night, and tells him that he’s the most important person in her life.

Violet begins to “chat” Titus via her feed, making lists of everything she wants to do with the rest of her life. Titus doesn’t respond, or only responds after days of waiting. He gets “mal” (the Feed equivalent of getting high on drugs) with his friends, and then shows up at Violet’s house, enraging her. Violet scolds him for being self-indulgent while the world is gearing up for a full-scale war with the United States.

Violet sends Titus hours of memories from her early life. Titus deletes these memories from his feed without a second thought. Violet invites him to travel through the mountains with her, and he agrees reluctantly. During their trip to a hotel in the mountains, they attempt to have sex, but Titus finds that he’s no longer attracted to Violet, even after she claims she loves him.

After their trip to the mountains, Violet’s health deteriorates quickly, and Titus begins to ignore her altogether. He starts dating Quendy, and he goes on trips to other planets with his friends. Then, one day, Violet’s father contacts Titus to say that Violet is almost gone. Titus goes to visit Violet, and Violet’s father yells at him for being so self-absorbed and emotionally shallow. Meanwhile, the environment becomes almost uninhabitable, and the countries of the world prepare to go to war with the United States.

Titus stays up all night, thinking about Violet. He decides to visit her one more time. He holds her hand and tells her, “You’re still here, as long as I can remember you.” Then, he whispers an “ad” for the movie version of their life together—a story in which a “normal guy” and a “dissident with a heart of gold” learn how to “resist the feed.”