Feed has proved to be an interesting book to read this semester. It has tied together the entire semester's themes and main ideas including isolation, education (or lack thereof), technology, and government control and manipulation just to name a few. While this novel is focused on the future, it can definitely be applied to today's society. The population that makes up this novel is so obsessed with being like everyone else that they have no sense of identity or uniqueness. The government that they find themselves under takes advantage of their minds by manipulating them and making them think whatever benefits the government. Titus the main character in the story does not seem to care what is going on around him until he meets Violet, a girl who challenges everything that is going on around them. She questions the feed and the government and what really makes up a person in their futuristic society. Her standing up to the government eventually led to her demise because the government did not see her as a valuable consumer or investment because she could not conform to any specific mold the government was trying to fit her in. A good example of Violet standing up to the world around her is when she and Titus go to the mall and she picks out the most obscure unrelated things in different stores. Because the feed cannot understand her or figure her out, they eventually kill her by destroying her feed which consequently affects the rest of her body. I think through Violet's character, Anderson is warning readers of the consequences of being a nonconformist in a culture where being a conformist is considered "cool" and in some cases is necessary for survival.
Education is also a main theme in this book. The society that Violet and Titus find themselves in does not need school or education in the way that we view school and education. Because they have all the information that they could possibly need right in front of them, they have no need or motivation to study or learn information on their own. They don't even need teachers which is evident through the holograms they have simply for looks. Anderson asks his readers through this society 'what is intelligence and wisdom?' He forces his readers to reexamine the overload of information that is always in full force around society. He is asking his readers to question whether or not this information overload could have negative consequences and how it changes the perception of fundamental ideas such as intelligence and smarts.
The cuts and lesions that are prevalent throughout the novel are a disturbing illustration of how conformity can be life threatening. In the novel, the cuts and lesions become popular when they appear on the show Oh Wow Thing! It suddenly becomes popular and cool to make cuts and have huge sores all over your body. It is not relevant that it is life threatening and at the very least damaging to their very own bodies. The cuts and lesions represent just how far some people will go to fit in and be considered part of society. Anderson is asking his readers how far they would go to become part of something.
Disconnect from society and each other is also prevalent in this novel. Because they have the feed, their is virtually no need to have face to face conversations with each other and isolation becomes inevitable. Their form of communication in the novel consists of "mchat" and sending each other messages through the feed. This aspect of the book is definitely evident in our society today. Because of texting, emailing, and skyping, their is virtually no need to have a face to face conversation with anyone. The idea of confrontation is almost completely eliminated from our society. Anderson is suggesting through his book however that this is the root of the feeling of isolation that so many people have. How is it possible with all the technology we have today that people still feel alone and separated from society?
All throughout this book, Anderson is asking his readers to step back and really examine the society they find themselves in. Many other authors that we have read this semester were doing the same thing but Anderson's book is interesting because it is set in the future but has so many contemporary elements to it. I would definitely encourage others to read this book because it really made me look closer at the society and information that surrounds me today. It reminded me of the importance of filtering what you are told and what you hear. At some point, you are inevitably going to have to take a stand like Violet did and listen internally to what you think and feel.