Titus’ character is difficult to follow throughout the novel, FEED by M.T. Anderson. His character originally seems to be very “go-with-the-flow” and is easily depicted as society’s ‘normal’ teenager. Throughout the book, it seems as though he is trying to mold his personality to be more similar to people he is around in that moment. In the beginning of the book, Titus didn’t think on his own— he was completely reliant on the feed.
When he was with his friends and they would make fun of Violet, most of the time he wouldn't do anything about it besides suggest that they stop. He was so scared that he would be outcasted if he wasn't exactly like everyone else.
When he was with Violet, alone, he enjoyed ‘refusing’ the feed, and truly enjoyed living life. Unlike when he was with his friends and ‘living’ was more of a simulation than reality. His outlook on his experiences changed drastically.
Titus’ attitude changed from “We went to the moon to have fun, but the moon turned out to completely suck” (Anderson 3) to “We were standing on the porch and it was much cooler out there…The night was perfect. We shut out music from the feed…I liked the way the synthetic breeze was on her hair” (88-91).
He no longer felt that he needed the feed to live or learn and understand events. By the end of the book, for example, he researched news on his own. This trait rubbed off of Violet and onto Titus, which built his character as an individual.
When Titus was around Violet’s father, he tried to speak properly and was careful about what he said. Not only did he try to sound the part, he also dressed formal the last time he visited Violet. Before visiting, Titus even researched current events to share with Violet to keep her up-to-date since she was unable to do so herself. I believe he did this to try to regain Violet and her father’s approval as well as an attempt for himself to no longer feel intellectually inferior to them. Especially after Violet’s father called him out for his actions toward Violet, pointing out “what happens to [products] once we discard them, once we throw them away” (290). This was his way of proving that he wasn’t ‘stupid’.
It frustrated me how much and how easily Titus molded his personality… it was hard to get a grip on who he was and what he stood for. His character isn’t as black and white as any college student would hope… At certain points he is a very sympathetic, loving and sociable character, but during other points in the book he is heartless and unfriendly.
As I read, I began to feel a connection to Titus and thought that I figured him out. I was able to relate to him and even sympathized for him in certain situations. However, when he lashed out on Violet at the mountain I felt a complete break in my relation to him because I would never treat another person the way he did, I can’t even rationalize how someone could.
“‘I keep picturing you dead already. It feels like being felt up by a zombie, okay? Thats what it feels like” (269). -Titus
“I came into this world alone…I didn't want to go out of it alone” (270). -Violet
“We’ve only been going out for a couple of months. And I'm supposed to act like we’re married. A couple of months. It’s not some big eternal thing. We should've broken up weeks ago. I would've if you hadn't been… I didn't sign up to go out with you forever when you're dead” (271-272). -Titus
Titus threw their relationship away as if it never meant anything to him. There was a HUGE difference in each of their perspective’s on their relationship which ultimately caused it to fail. Violet was much more mature and wanted commitment while Titus was immature and was simply seeking pleasure. Their relationship began to change his outlook on life and which scared him so much he completely broke away from it. Little did he know, Violet made him realize who he truly was.
Violet was by far his biggest motivation in the book. Originally, he tried to assimilate her into his group, and way of life. But the exact opposite happened. Violet motivated Titus to try to be a better person— a real person. Together they enjoyed life in the same innocent way, even though they came from very different backgrounds. Violet encouraged him to think on his own and pay attention to his surroundings—to enjoy them.
Violet pointed out how Titus was different from other people she’s met. She tried to reassure him of this even after they broke up by saying, “I am messaging you to say that I love you, and that you're completely wrong about me thinking you're stupid. I always thought you could teach me things. I was always waiting. You're not like the others. You say things that no one expects you to. You think you're stupid. You want to be stupid. But you're someone people could learn from” (276). She still cared about him and wanted him to see in himself what she saw in him.
I believe Titus represents the typical American. Just wanting to fit in, go with the flow and figure things out in the moment with no worry about his future. His biggest concern was ‘being cool’ which he eventually realized and admits, “It was like I kept buying these things to be cool, but cool was always flying just ahead of me, and I could never exactly catch up to it” (279). Titus stands for the change that some people are so desperately trying to make, but are too hesitant, too scared to do. His character proves that despite the external forces pushing you away from being independent, if you focus on what you desire you will be rewarded in the end. Although he fell back to his original state after he broke up with Violet, he didn't lose the part of him that she brought out. Unfortunately, it took Titus too long to realize what a treasure Violet was and how much she had truly affected his life. After her death I believe that Titus will not treat life the same, ignorant way he did before.
Kirsten K. Prompt 6.
Anderson, M. T. Feed. Cambridge, MA: Candlewick, 2002. Print.