What is the meaning of the lesions in the novel Feed?

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mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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In Anderson's Feed, what exists on a small scale is taken to futuristic horror. Young people find themselves controlled by feednet, which sends messages into the brains and stores data on behavior and interests. Yet, there are some gliches to the feeds that complete thoughts and generate urges. People begin to become dependent upon these feeds and are stressed without them because they can no longer make decisions. The power of the feeds to control thought is exemplified in how the attitudes of some of the characters changes about the lesions, or tears in the skin.

But, with the power of the feed, people begin to think the lesions are fashionable, intriguing as the muscles can be seen through these cuts. Soon several of the teens show up with these lesions, and the character Calista comes to school with a "total insane macrolesion" on her. Another girl, Quendy soon imitates Calista and covers parts of herself with lesions. The others remark, "You can see her like muscles and tendons and ligaments and stuff through the lesions.

 
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herappleness's profile pic

M.P. Ossa | College Teacher | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

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Essentially, the lesions that the characters get in the novel Feed are the product of the toxic atmosphere that permeates the environment of this dystopian society. In Feed, society is entirely dependent on their scientific progress. However, like with all things progressive, there must be balance.

In Feed the key issue is that there is no system of checks and balances and, for that reason, the people and their technology have intertwined so much that they view technology almost as a natural resource.

The lesions are produced by radiation and by accidents caused by the different industries. The contamination is everywhere and it is slowly rotting the people away. As such, the lesions also become fashionable after a while, which is indicative of the way that the people are oblivious of how bad things really are. Hence, the lesions, like the feed, like the radiation, and like all the other things are (in the minds of this society) a natural occurrence; an expected consequence of the benefits of technology.

For example:

And the feed was pouring in on us now, all of it, all of the feednet, and we could feel all of our favorites, and there were our files, and our m-chatlines. It came down on us like water. It came down like frickin' spring rains, and we were dancing in it.

This is the extent to which this society has almost hybridized the natural and the artificial. The lesions are the sad product of an unbalanced society who has allowed technology to, literally, eat away its humanity and common sense. 

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