Feed Teaching Component: 245-276

by Lindsey Davies

Chapter Summaries

76.2%

Titus is asleep on Violet's lawn when he gets a message from her. She essentially sends him a memory, from earlier that day when FeedCorp responded to her petition for repair. This allows Titus to got through Violet's memory as Violet. In the memory, Violet is walking downstairs when both her legs stop working. Unable to move, she falls down the stairs. She is having trouble breathing. Then a FeedCorp representative, Nina, begins to chat her. After advertising "perspiraton-control devices" because Violet is stressed, Nina then tells Violet that her petition for complimentary feed repair has been denied. FeedCorp apparently tried to get other corporations interested in Violet's case, but none were interested, because Violet's efforts to resist the feed meant that no corporations considered her a reliable investment. Nina then says, "Maybe, Violet, if we check to some of the great bargains available to you through the feednet over the next six months, we might be able to create a consumer portrait of you that would interest our investment team. How 'bout it Violet Durn? Just us, you and me — girls together! Shop till you stop and drop!" (Anderson 247). The memory ends, and Titus wonders if the pain he felt in Violet's head was from the fall or from her feed rusting in her head.

76.2%

Titus wakes up. He and Violet are tensely civil. They talk about superficial things. Titus wants Violet to grab his hand, but he won't do it if she doesn't initiate it. Violet's dad watches disapprovingly from the window. Titus feels that his lack of physical contact with Violet is like they are not going out at all. Violet walks Titus to his upcar. He waits for her to kiss him goodbye, but she doesn't, and he leaves for home.

The next day, Violet's arms stop working for an hour, and she has to be sedated.

59.3%

Violet sends Titus a huge message about burial rituals, and how she is afraid she will lose more of her memory. She decided to tell Titus a bunch of her memories so that if she loses them, he can remind her. Violet tells Titus he is the most important person in her life. She sends message after message, but he opens none of them. Occasionally a few of the memories bleed through, but Titus still ignores them. He deletes them all without reading them.

Later Violet send him a message asking about what he thought of the weekend plans she suggested. Titus deleted the earlier messages, so he doesn't respond. He lies in his room, staring at the ceiling.

57.2%

Titus's house is chaos on Friday night. Out of the blue, his mom calls to tell him Violet is there. She comes upstairs, and Titus almost doesn't let her in. Everything is immensely awkward. Violet asks again about the weekend, and Titus acts like he never got her earlier message. She wants him to come to the mountains with her. When Violet asks about the memories, Titus acts like he never received them, which makes Violet think her chat is malfunctioning too.

Violet makes a joke about her shortened lifespan, which annoys Titus: "I didn't think she should joke about that, because you just don't joke about your life. Especially because it can make people really uncomfortable, if you have something wrong with you, and you keep bringing it up in certain ways" (Anderson 259).

Violet talks about her plans to make the most of the time she has left. At first Titus says he's to busy to go with her, and Violet is angry. Everything is very tense, and Violet convinces Titus to come to the mountains. They pack his clothes and leave. In the upcar Violet asks about the chat messages again, and he lies again. Violet mentions that she dreams of being to live without the feed. Apparently Nina suggested something to Violet that she actually enjoyed, which upsets her.

54.1%

Violet and Titus check into the cheap hotel under the names Mister and Missus Smith. Violet goes to the room, and Titus gets the bags from the upcar, which he likes because it makes him feel like a man. In the room, they exchange morbid jokes about the seediness of the hotel. They leave to look around the town, getting some food. Titus dreads the rest of the night when they return to the hotel. Violet heavily implies that she wants to sleep with Titus. Titus is less that thrilled about this. There is some awkward foreplay, and Violet tells Titus she loves him. Titus tries to move away, but can't. He feels bad because, "it wasn't her fault she was going to die" (Anderson 268). Violet notices something something is wrong, and pushes Titus to tell her what is wrong. Titus responds, saying, "I keep picturing you dead already. It feels like...It feels like getting felt up by a zombie, okay?" (Anderson 268). Violet eventually starts talking about how when she met Titus she thought she would finally be normal, and have a boyfriend. She felt like the hacker came along almost as a punishment for her trying to be normal and have fun. Titus apologizes, and they both realize that he just broke up with her. Titus explains that he feels like Violet is guilting him into staying with her. He says he didn't start a relationship with her thinking they were going to love each other forever. He's says he felt used, like she just wanted to mix with the normal people, and make fun of his friends, but still wanting to be like them. He tells he she has no clue what their problems are.

"I didn't sign up to go out with you forever when you're dead. It's been a couple of months Okay? A couple months" (Anderson 72).

Violet accuses Titus of not knowing nothing about what is going in the rest of the world, or why the lesions happen. They leave the hotel, sniping at each other the whole time. They say nothing in the upcar. Violet is crying, and her hand isn't working. The car ride is long. Titus gets a banner about a sale and buys something, surreptitiously in case Violet is tracking his feed. Violet's dad has to help her out of the car. Titus leaves.

As the chapter ends, Titus says, "It was only months later that I realized that the last thing I ever heard her mouth say, the last words she would speak to me, had already been spoken, and they were, 'Oh, shit'" (Anderson 275).

Literary Lenses

Feminist

  • Titus's treatment of Violet is, in general, a bit problematic. He treats her more like a novelty mixed with a sex object, rather than like a human being.
  • Titus gets annoyed when Violet is not constantly showing him attention. "I started to want her to grab my hand so much that I put it on the grass right next to her hip. She kept talking about Diatribe on tour. It was like we weren't going out" (Anderson 250). Note: Titus refuses to be the one to initiate the physical contact he wants. Talk about passive-agressive.
  • He is manipulative, lying to Violet despite the emotional consequences. Ex: deleting the messages and telling her he never got them.
  • "I went out to the upcar and got our bags. I liked being the man getting the bags" (Anderson 264).
  • "She was crying. It made her ugly" (Anderson 274).

Marxist

  • A lot goes into the strife between Violet and Titus, but one of the main contributors is the fact that they come from two different classes/worlds.
  • To Titus, Violet and her way of life are very foreign to him, and therefore interesting. That's part of why he was interested in her in the first place.
  • To a certain extent, Violet uses Titus as a chance to be normal. "I went to the moon during spring break to see how people live. When you [Titus] came along, I thought, 'Now I'll have a boyfriend, like people have boyfriends.' Other people just have fun...and it comes naturally to them...Then we were in the hospital. They took me away from you and told me, 'you feed is damaged. There's danger it might be life-threatening.' And I came down, and took you away, and kissed you. And the whole time I was thinking, Now I'm living. I have someone with me. I'm not alone. I'm living" (Anderson 269-270).
  • When they leave the hotel, after they both know everything is over, there comes the issue of paying for the room: "Don't worry, darling. I have like all the money in the world" (Anderson 273).
  • Both accuse each other of not unservtanded the issues the other cares about, the struggles they go through.

Essential Question

In what ways does the book question the psychology of consumerism?

Anderson posits that commercialism can take away our compassion/humanity:
  • Titus on the ride home with Violet: she is crying next to him, they've just had a huge argument, they're probably broken up—and yet, when he gets a commercial banner during the ride, he actually buys something.

Additionally, he comments on how the constant bombardment from advertising can be oppressive:

  • Titus's wall decorations are done with "hotspots" on the wall, so he will see a poster when he looks at a certain place. When he is feeling overwhelmed in these chapters, he shuts them off and lies in his room, just staring at the ceiling.
Also, Smell Factor runs through the house, transmitting bits of the shows he watches to everyone in his proximity. Anderson is pointing out how in a consumer driven society, you can never really escape the influenced of advertising.

Discussion Question

After you read, go back to page 190 (?) and reread the section where Violet's father claims, "We Americans...are interested only in the consumption of products. We have no interest in how they were produced, or what happens to them...once we discard them, once we throw them away." What happens when we discard them?

Philosophically:

Can we ever get rid of something, once we've had it?

  • How does that relate to Titus and Violet?
  • How does that relate to commercialism?


Literally:

Why do we get rid of things?

Is Violet's father right? Do we really not care about anything but the end result?