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In the futuristic world depicted in Feed by M.T. Anderson, nobody thinks for themselves – the feed thinks for them. Everyone is dependent on the feed and bored with their everyday lives. Because of this, the character Violet stands out. Violet’s unique upbringing caused her to become an educated thinker and excited about life, setting her apart from the rest of the characters. Violet stands outs from the characters in Feed because she was raised differently. Violet did not get her feed installed early in her life like most people did, she “got the feed really late” (Anderson 170) at age seven. Because Violet did not have the feed for several years of her life she is not dependent on it like the other individuals are in the book, making her an uncommon symbol of independence in the dystopian narrative
Violet did not go to School™ like Titus’ friends did; she and her friends were “are all home-schooled” (78). While Titus and his friends were learning how to use the feed at School™, Violet was getting an actual education, learning things that were no longer important in their world. Also, Violet did not have a lot of money growing up. Most of Titus’ friends always got everything they wanted, but Violet didn’t have “much of the stuff you see on the feed when she was younger. A lot of it was too expensive, or her father just said no” (107). Because of the lack of money in Violet’s life she grew up having to find different ways to entertain herself instead of relying on the feed for entertainment. Ultimately, Violet had a diverse childhood than the other characters. The fact that Violet got a different education than most of the characters in Feed sets her apart from them because it made her more intelligent. For example, when Violet asks Titus if he knew how to read, unsurprisingly, he only knows how to “read a little” (Anderson, 65). Violet knows how to read and Titus barley does because he did not learn in School™. Titus is shocked when he asks Violet if she writes because she replies, “I’ve done it since I was little…I write down things I see sometimes” (66). Violet knows how to do these things because her father was a college professor and he taught her how to write and read, even though writing and reading were no longer taught in schools. It is shocking to Titus that Violet would take the time to write something down because using the feed was “way faster” (66), but Violet is used to not using the feed for everything due to getting the feed at a later age.
Violet also pays attention to the news; she asks Titus “Have you heard the news? It’s awful” (244). Because Violet wants to learn more about the world she pays attention to what is going on in their lives. This makes Violet unique because she knows what is going on in the world while the rest of the characters are uninformed. Violet stands out because she is knowledgeable about things that are no longer important in their innovative society. While Violet was homeschooled she was taught to think for herself, unlike the other characters who let the feed think for them. Violet recalls to Titus, “When you have the feed all your life, you’re brought up to not think about things… because of the feed we are raising a nation of idiots” (Anderson 113). Considering that Violet did not always have the feed she knows how to function without it. In contrast, Violet’s peers are reliant on using the feed for almost every task. Also, during a party Violet rants “We are hovering in the air while people are starving… We’re playing games and our skin is falling off. We’re losing it” (201). Due to Violet’s upbringing she is knowledgeable about what is going on in the world. Because Violet is aware of what is happening in the news she does not take the things she has for granted, like the rest of the characters do. Violet then later yells, “You don’t have the feed! You are the feed” (202). Most of the characters are so accustom to using the feed that they are not use to thinking for themselves. The feed is attacking their brains continuously with ads, information, and useless material that they do not know what it is like to live without it. Because Violet did not always have the feed, she knows how to not rely on the feed for everything. The characters are slowly becoming the feed because they no longer know how to think without it.
Violet’s education causes her to think without having to use the feed which makes her stand out from her peers. Violet is the only character that is excited and interested about new experiences because she did not grow up with the same types of things that most people had. For example, when Titus first meets Violet he finds out that “she was on the moon alone…she was there to observe” (Anderson 29). While Titus was bored on the moon with his friends, Violet was there alone having fun and experiencing new things. Titus and his friends took it for granted that they were on the moon when Violet’s father “saved up for a year” (103) to send her there. It was special for Violet to go to the moon because that is something she has never done before. The other characters have traveled to other planets before, so it was not a big deal for them. Also, before Titus takes Violet to a party she asks, “What’ll a party be like?” (78). Violet is eager to go to a party because she has never been to a real high school party before, making it a new experience for her. Even though toward the end of the book Violet does not have much more time to live, she still wants to explore and “go out and see the world. There’s just so much” (175). Despite Violet’s circumstances, she has a positive attitude and is eager for the next adventure in her life.
Considering that Violet didn’t grow up with the same opportunities as her peers, she doesn’t let it discourage her; instead she is excited about what life has to offer. As a result of Violet’s uncommon upbringing, she has distinctly different qualities from the other characters in the book. While most of the characters let the feed control them and their thoughts, Violet does not let this happen. Violet is educated enough to know not to rely on the feed for everything, and the lack of opportunities in her childhood allows her to be excited about life. Consequently, Violet’s peculiar childhood lead her to become eager about learning and discovering what life has to offer.
Anderson, M.T. Feed. Cambridge MA: Candlewick Press, 2002.
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