We had a really interesting literature circle today. I am not going to be able to make it to the literature circle on Thursday, as I am leaving for Costa Rica tomorrow night (Wednesday night) so I will just talk about the wonderful discussion that we had today. (Tuesday, February 10th.) We touched today on a variety of different aspects of the book.
We began by discussing how even now, after so much time, Violet still remains isolated from Titus and his friends. She is different than all of them, and there is nothing that can possibly change that will either make her similar to his seemingly uneducated and illiterate friends, or to make his friends more like her. We thought that this contrast between Violet and the rest of the society was really interesting.
We also discussed how we thought it was really sad how Titus completely shut Violet out after she started to have a lot of problems with her feed. I personally was upset by the fact that Violet had spent so much time planning a weekend getaway for her and Titus, yet Titus did not seem excited at all – in fact, he seemed to dread the idea of spending alone time with Violet. This made me very angry! To me, it seemed as if because Titus knew that Violet probably was not going to make it, he closed the section of his life that included her and acted as if she were already dead. Poor Violet just wanted to make the most of her last couple of weeks alive, and Titus did not really support her at all. Titus essentially tossed Violet off to the side once he was done with her – once he knew that she was going to die, she was useless to him and he did not care about her any more. In Titus’ defense, however, he may have just been overwhelmed by the whole situation, but I think that he still should have given Violet the time of day.
We also discussed another aspect of Titus’ recent switch in attitudes towards Violet – how he deleted all of her memories that she had sent him. Violet was losing her memories, and to solve this problem, she had sent a load of them to Titus, so that he would be able to store them for her and keep her memory alive. These were precious memories – of great times she’d had with her family, her mother father, times she’d had with Titus, all the memories of her life, etc. Without even opening them or listening to the memories, Titus deleted them. I never quite understood why he would make such an impulsive decision and throw away all of Violet’s precious memories from her life! Those memories are gone forever now. And there’s only Titus to blame.
I brought up the idea of how Titus only begins to realize the bad things in his world once Violet sort of exits the picture of his life. When they were together, Violet was always telling Titus about all these awful things that were going on in the world, how people’s skin were falling off, and how the atmosphere and nature was changing and disappearing, and more. However, Titus had seemed to just overlook all of those things – until Violet was gone. Now, it seems like he is noticing those things a lot more, he talked about how he could see his mother’s teeth through her mouth – she had lost that much skin off her lips. Gross!
I also added into the discussion how surprised I was that Titus went into mal. (Mal is sort of equivalent to taking drugs and getting high in their society.) It did not really seem like it was a very “Titusey” thing to do. Titus, for the most part, seemed as if he were a pretty stand up guy, and then when he asked his friends to go into mal, it really shocked and upset me. I thought he was better than that! Unfortunately, I was wrong. He must have just been upset about being away from Violet or something. I hope that he wouldn’t just want to go into mal for no reason at all. Or maybe he was just bored. Whatever the reason, it was a bad decision and I hope he does not make a similar one in the future.
Then, for the majority of the rest of the discussion, we got into the topic of lesions. I was the one who originally brought up the topic of the lesions. We all agreed that lesions were quite disgusting – none of us really fully understood the point of them, either. Basically, lesions are caused because the atmosphere (I’m pretty sure that’s what causes them) anyways the atmosphere is so awful, that it is making people’s skin fall off. This causes them to have cuts, or lesions. Another theory that we had was that the lesions were made from the feed, possibly because all the brain activity caused the cuts? Whatever the cause of the lesions, they basically look like open wounds in a person’s flesh. Titus and his friends love to watch this particular show on the feed, and when the main characters on the show also began to get lesions, the lesions suddenly became the cool, hip thing in fashion. The next thing we knew, all of the girls were going our and getting artificial lesions (it was sort of like plastic surgery!) to make themselves look more “attractive.” Apparently the lesions are seen as sexy or attractive because it allows people to “see inside of you.” This pretty much means being able to view one’s guts, blood, and veins, etc. That just sounds nasty to me! We talked about how it was quite sad that the people would be so willing to follow the trends, that they wouldn’t even spend a split second thinking about what they would do when this trend went out of style. They are so caught up with what’s new in fashion that they don’t stop and think about what they are really doing to their body, and how it will affect them in the future.
Quote from the book: (page 38)
“We enter a time of calamity. Blood on the tarmac. Fingers in the juicer. Towers of air frozen in the lunar wastes. Models dead on the runways, with their legs facing backward. Children with smiles that can’t be undone. Chicken shall rot in the aisles. See the pillars fall.”
The above quote was from pretty early on in the book, but I think that it really encapsulates the general themes and ideas in Feed. It shows just how corrupt the society is, and how the world is gradually falling downhill. They are entering a time of chaos, or calamity, and no one really knows how to stop it.
“The only thing worse than the thought it may all come tumbling down is the thought that we may go on like this forever.” –Violet, Feed
Violet knew more than Titus and his friends, she can tell that the situation that their society is in is not necessarily a good one…
I have already finished the whole book, and I got to read the ending, (which was actually really sad!) That being said, it has been sort of tricky to have these discussions with my table group, as they have not yet finished the book. It is all about striking a good balance between staying on topic of the book, but also not revealing to much about what it to come in the future chapters. I don’t want to give anything away to anyone and spoil the book for them!
Feed Final Blog Post
When I read, I focused a lot on the dialect and the language. Titus and all of his friends, as well as all the people living in that time, talk in a very informal and somewhat uneducated way. By noticing this dialect, I was able to draw a lot of conclusions, especially concerning how the lack of words and education affected their society. When I look through my notes, I remember a lot of patterns that I had noticed before. I am able to think back to what I was thinking when I read a specific sentence and how I felt or what came to my mind when I learned something new and interesting about the book. I underlined words that I didn’t understand, and I wrote down what I thought the definitions of the words would be. There were a lot of new words in this book, such as null, unit, brag, etc. They used a lot of interesting slang! I also write down a bunch of notes about ideas that I had about certain characters such as expectations and predictions that I had for the future and further chapters in the book. I sometimes wrote on sticky notes and stuck them into my book, but most of the time, I just did a lot of underlining, direct notes in the book, and circling words, etc. I recognized places where there were themes or symbolism, and I wrote them down.
While reading Feed, I noticed that Titus’ English and language skills were continuously improving as the chapters went on. I had a theory that his language skills were going to improve, because I could tell and notice that there were some slight improvements and differences in his dialect each chapter. He had certain moments in which he spoke quite eloquently, and other moments when he sounded rather uneducated. It was really interesting to watch – Titus would switch in and out of being smart and then going back to seeming pretty stupid. The switches back and forth from educated language to uneducated really just gave a sad contrast to me. It was as if all of this hope and happiness was all unleashed when Titus began to be smart, and then all of the hope was snatched away when he would start to say “meg brag,” again. Here are some examples from the book that made me reflect on this.
These excerpts were both taken from the same page. In a mere few paragraphs, Titus’ dialect switched from absolutely stupid to pretty intelligent.
I was like, “What?”
She chatted me, “This is a scene.”
I was like, “Don’t you dance?”
“Not really, Are these all college kids?”
“I bet most of them. Look at the guy in the, you know, that thing? The neck bat?
Titus couldn’t even think for the word for bow tie, something so basic and simple. Yet he was not able to understand what it was! Later on, he eloquently described a man that he saw at the party. Though he still used some slang filler words, as a whole, he sounded a lot smarter in this excerpt than in the previous one.
He was maybe a hundred or so, dancing with the ripplechicks, a man in a dirty old tweed jacket, and he had this long white hair that looked kind of yellow, and his eyes were wide…
In this next excerpt, Titus’ dad is coming to comfort him and see how he is after his feed was “hacked,” which was a pretty traumatic experience for him. Titus’ dad, a supposedly educated and successful person, talks as if he is a 4 year old.
“She’s like whoa, she’s like so stressed out. This is… Dude,” he said. “Dude this is some way bad shit.”
He just kept shaking his head and going, “Yeah,” “Yeah,” “Yeah,” “Oh yeah,” “Yeah,” “Shit,” “Yeah.”
The last excerpt really just encapsulates how the people living in the time of the Feed are really uneducated and cannot even string simple sentences together. It disgusts me that the people in this time aren’t even able to communicate with each other and they don’t even have vocabularies expansive enough to either speak their mind nor say what they feel. This creates a society filled with pushover people who aren’t able to make any real contributions to the community. I believe that because of this, their world is completely messed up. The feeds have ruined culture and artistic expression. The feeds have ruined literature, writing, books, reading, and simple speech. If the feeds didn’t exist, none of this would’ve happened! The fact that Titus’ father is not even able to tell him that he feels badly for him, or that he hopes that he is okay, really makes me upset. All Titus’ dad is able to say it “Yeah,” and “Shit.” How awful is that? A parent should be someone that is able to comfort you, someone who should be able to be a role model and represent the person that you want to become. I think that the lack of intelligent dialogue is not only decreasing the productivity of the society, but it is also taking away the respect factor in terms of parents. Why would Titus look up to his father when his dad talks even worse than he does? I can’t imagine what it would be like to hear my parents only uttering swear words and “yeah” all the time. I learn so much from my parents, and I can’t even begin to think about how I would feel if my parents were not able to have intelligent and interesting conversations with me.