Grade Level: 9th and up
Summary: The story follows a teen boy and a girl named Violet and Titus. They live in the future where, people’s minds are a part of the feed. The feed is a computer network that almost everyone has installed in their brains. It is run by corporations that are constantly showing advertisements to their host for music, restaurants, clothing, parties, cars, etc. The Earth is at the point where the environment has been completely destroyed. Furthermore, Titus meets Violet at a party on the moon but things go wrong when a hacker against the feed corrupts their systems which puts them in the hospital. They have to live a few days without the feed until, the doctors fix them but that never happens for Violet. She remains permanently damaged and is worsening in her condition.
- Don’t forget to take care of the Earth
- Understand that technology isn’t always good
- Don’t let others tell you what to be or what to look like, always maintain control of who you are
Reflection: Matthew Tobin Anderson has created a text that functions as a warning for teens. It tells of a futuristic Earth that could possibly happen. Young adults are the generation where they are constantly checking their devices and using technology more than any generation.This book shows a dark side of technology that takes over minds and society. Anderson makes the great point to show to teens that technology is always growing and getting newer, however, you have to give it a limit. If technology has a limit, it won’t have a chance to get out of control. Also, it is frightening to think the Earth’s environment could be completely destroyed but it needs to be thought about especially by teens since they will be the ones living in the future. Finally, Anderson addresses the current and worsening issue of self-image. The lesions which are initially disgusting in the book are turned into a trend by the corporations. This tells teens that although trends can seem cool and fun, they can actually be damaging to your wellbeing. Teens have to be able to say no to advertisements with so many being targeted to them. They have to remember buying things won’t make them look cool or fit in, it only makes corporations richer.
Possible Student Reaction: After a student reads this book, they will become aware of some of the possible dangers of the present and the future. I think this book will enlighten teens to be able to identify unsafe trends pushed on them every day. Also, I believe it can inspire some teens to take action helping the Earth.
Feed- Interview with M.T Anderson
So I have a satirical science fiction novel called Feed and it’s about a future in which everyone has a chip implanted in their head which gives them instant internet access. In some ways that’s a really great thing. It means that they can chat to each other without actually typing anything or of course speaking.
They can order things without the use of a computer, just right through the chip. They order it. It’s deducted from their credit card or actually their parent’s credit card. And it’s this world of the future that seems in some respects to be Utopian. And oftentimes when I tell kids about the premise of the book, their first reaction is, “Cool!” And many of them are really ready to go and sign up for their feed right now.
But what is happening in the book and what I actually think if this technology were ever produced would happen in the real world, is that because of the way that the whole thing has worked out, there’s this continual flood also of internet advertising all the time, in these kids’ heads and in everyone’s heads. So as a result, the population of the earth has become slightly moronic because they all are a little bit dazed as their brains are flooded by these images of what they should be and what they should want to be and what they can buy to become that and that kind of thing.
Even as a teenager, I was irate and I think a lot of teens are mad about this, mad about the way that the whole media and the advertising world try to demand that kids be a certain kind of thing. And the fact that they take our own images of ourselves and they mold those images, but also kind of use them like a voodoo doll, like sticking pins in and sort of demanding — the pain will stop once you buy this thing.
“If you get the right kind of shoes, you’ll actually be cool and then someone will love you. You may feel like you’re on the edge of things, but you’re only on the edge of things because you don’t listen to their right music. So buy this and then you will feel accepted. Oh, and don’t just buy that, but now you have to buy this. And if you have that you really need to get this and everyone who has those has this.”
So that kind of thing made me very, very angry as a teenage and, of course, I’m talking, when I say teenager, I’m talking about the ’80s and things have progressed hugely, hugely since then. Things have become much more integrated so that all forms of entertainment are very directly linked to other forms of advertising and consumption. And I frankly think that one of the most important things teachers can teach at the moment is the part of the literacy of images — and I don’t mean just visual images, but I also mean I guess the literacy of this new world of information that we have created because that’s the environment that your kids are going to be living in.