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The cyberpunk novel “Feed” Essay

Analyse how a writer used language to develop the theme(s) of the written text.

The cyberpunk novel, Feed, is a book which explores the dangers of overpowering consumerism. Author MT Anderson uses language to develop the theme of a failing futuristic society as an outcome of constant consumerist influence. Anderson uses character dialogue, descriptions of environmental degradation and internally received ‘banners’ or advertising inside the characters’ heads to explore the problems encountered when a society fails to protect their most valuable resource – nature. The characters in Feed are all implanted with a chip at birth which allows them to access the internet without the need of any external device. Computers are no longer outside the body, but are referred to as “wetware”. This allows the characters to m-chat or text inside their heads. The feed also provides them with a near constant flow of advertising banners or pop-ups depending on current trends or a shop they may walk past.

This corporate control of communication leads the characters to live a superficial existence, where their main concerns are for the latest hairstyles and show no interest towards political events, which are hinted at throughout the book. The story is narrated by Titus, a teenager who meets Violet while celebrating Spring break on the Moon. During the exposition the reader learns that in this society the characters have minimal vocabularies and use a lot of futuristic teenage slang. The group refer to each other as “unit” and describe a good looking girls as being “meg youch”.There is also a lot of swearing which illustrates how limited their vocabularies have become. The characters use the phrase “da da da” whenever they can’t think of what to say. This has happened because school no is longer run as a centre for education, rather, it has become “SchoolTM” and teaches students how to use their feeds, consequently how to consume more and more. The poor vocabulary, coupled with a preoccupation with peer pressure to keep up with current trends helps to create a mood of apathy and hopelessness in the characters thoughts and actions.

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