How does the character of Titus transform in the novel?

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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Titus transforms because he becomes more than what he originally is.  In the outset of the story, Titus is a product of the world around him.  He capitulates to the condition of young people, in terms of partying, consumerism, and living life in accordance to the feed: "We went to the moon to have fun, but the moon turned out to completely suck.”  He is the embodiment of youth- "pissy and tired."  For Titus, consciousness means living out the feed's appropriation of reality.  Titus is a product of the feed and carries himself as such.  While there might be something latent beneath him, Titus is more than willing to acquiesce to the world around him.  It is one in which social acceptance and fulfilling the caricatures of youth are essential.  The "conformity" of marketing and acting in a manner where corporations play a role in determining behavior is a part of this.  Titus represents the world of what is, reflection of the condition of being where individuals affirm the social and economic structure around them.

His transformation results in being able to see his world in accordance to Violet's perception of reality.  As his attraction to Violet increases, Titus acquires depth and a complex understanding of consciousness.  This read of being in the world is not one that is driven by materialism and consumerist notions of the good.  Titus experiences this at different points in the narrative.    It is through Titus's relationship with Violet that the greatest amount of transformation becomes evident within him. The complexity of the relationship with Violet enables him to feel emotional realities that he previously had never experienced.  Feelings of guilt, shame, resentment, and confusion begin to take their place in his psyche.  These are intricate feelings that could not be facilitated as he acquiesced to the consumerist and conformist notion of reality that young people are meant to embody.  

Titus's transformation comes from trying to understand the full nature of emotions that become a part of his reality through his relationship with Violet.  When Titus deletes Violet's stream of messages and when he feels guiltily obliged to be with drive with her to the mountains, he is transforming into someone who cannot fully understand the nature of his emotions.  He experiences them, but struggles to find meaning within them.  It is at this point that Titus transforms. Buying pants, his upcar, and maxing out his credit does not assuage the pain he feels. The condition of hurt and emotional pain that he experiences cannot be minimized by the feed.  

Titus shows the full extent of this transformation at the novel's end when he admits upon seeing Violet's lifeless body that "For the first time, I cried." In relating the story of their love at the end, one sees Titus's  transformation.  He relays to her the story of "us," a story where the battle between the feed and the love two people share is highlighted. The story is complex, as it is full of "love" and a "visual feast."  Titus's transformation into one who experiences the pain and joy of emotions is also seen when he holds her hand and articulates "an important lesson about love."  As he cries in her blank eye, Titus's transformation is complete. He has changed and is in a place where the messages of the feed cannot provide solace. The pain of love is the vehicle through which Titus's transformation takes place in the novel.

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