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by M. T. Anderson

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Is there a reason behind why Feed by M.T Anderson has an abundance of overwhelming teenage slang and swearing?

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Chris Curtis eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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Titus and his friends, particularly Marty, use swearing and slang "abundantly," as the writer identifies in the question.

In my opinion, Anderson includes this type of verbology to demonstrate technology's affect on the minds of the people of the day. He does this in multiple ways.  For example Link's genetic history -- the same genetic information as Abraham Lincoln (arguably one of the brightest men in history) -- becomes a complete moron during the time of the novel.

The slang and cursing indicate an inability to accurately verbalize their actual thoughts.  Technology has made them dumb. So dumb that they can't communicate.  In the chapter, "The Moon is in the House of Boring," Marty demonstrates his inability to verbalize complete thoughts:  "It will be a, a, you know, f***in', it will . . ." (30). 

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The novel Feed by M.T. Anderson reunites the essential qualities that correspond to the genre of cyberpunk literature, which became quite popular in the 1980's.

This genre takes a radical detour from the traditional storytelling techniques in that it aims to respond to social change after the advent of technology in every aspect of the modern world.

Cyberpunk literature is also a sub-genre of science fiction which often focuses on dystopian societies such as the society that we find inFeed.In literature of this type, the problem of the story will always be the battle between human free will versus the way in which technology will influence it.

Along with these main themes, the cyberpunk characters will always display ambiguous reactions to the influence of technology in their lives, and will behave in a rebellious manner. The rebelliousness of the behavior reflects the human tendency of accepting technology as long as it does not intervene with our basic rights and freedoms.

We could argue that the audience may have also a lot to do with the choice of language and expression in the novel. After all, teenage and young adult readers are known to be the primary audience for dystopian literature. However, by using expletives and strong language M.T. Anderson accentuates the angst of youth, and the preoccupation of a generation that has been, literally, "hacked" into. Their expressions are part of the reality of living in fear, more so than in freedom.

Everything that goes on, goes on on the feed.... But the braggest thing...is that it knows everything you want and hope for, sometimes before you even know what those things are. It can tell you how to get them, and help you make buying decisions that are hard.

In not so many words, novels such as Feed are written with the purpose of entertainment as well as warning: What would happen if we let go of our self control and allow "the machines" to rule our lives? How feasible is it for us to lose our basic freedoms in favor of technology? All these questions are the guiding force behind cyberpunk literature and the reason behind M.T. Anderson's writing style.

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maria-vivanco | Student

This book is centered around teenagers, normal teenagers, though they are advanced and have "feeds". However, they are just like the teens today. We act the same way they do and this brings a sort of reality to the book, despite the feed and all the scientifically advanced stuff. He's criticizing it, and today we curse ALOT and are very vulgar and have technology and that's affecting our language and behavior.

terrence958 | Student

yeah, i think there is a reason because it seems like he is criticizing how the teenagers act. the way we teenagers think that everything can pop right into our hand and the way that we can get whatever we want whenever we want (not all teenagers are like this though). M.T. Anderson is a very creative writer that that criticize something without us knowing.