I saw fields and fields of black, it was this disgusting black shit, spread for miles. I saw walls of
concrete fall from the sky and crush little wood houses. I saw a furry animal trying to stand up on its legs
but the back ones were broken or not working, and it dragged itself with the front ones, whimpering,
through someplace with gray dust, and needles coming out of the sand. Its jaws were open.
This is one of the images Titus sees during one of the times his feed is hacked. The image is described as a landscape of “black shit” with destruction and death all around. He also makes a point at mentioning a furry animal with broken legs dragging it’s way across a ground sprouting needles.
By doing a traditional close reading, we can see that the “fields and fields of black” is a model for what the world is beyond the feed. It can be inferred that much of the hacking is images of the world beyond the feed, actually. However, the fields of black are also like a pollution, with the word choice “shit” giving it sludge-like quality. This pollution is similar to the constant bombardment of ads the characters receive upon going literally anywhere throughout the novel, as the ads have the same encompassing quality, they cover the feed, leaving little to see beneath them.
Titus also mentions seeing the destruction of houses via concrete falling from the sky. While this could be happening in real time, it also represents the eventual destruction of the mind via the feeds. The wooden houses being the encasing (skull) and the sudden intrusion of this heavy object is too much on the mind and is massive foreshadowing to the fates of those who use “the feed”. This is further foreshadowed by the animal Titus sees, with the animal being specifically about Violet’s proverbial wooden house being smashed beneath sky concrete. Later on in the novel, Violet’s legs start to not work due to her exposure to the feed, much like this animal. The animal’s attempts to drag itself through the sand and needles, which-assuming the animal is meant to represent predominantly Violet-can be related to FeedTech’s denial of her maintenance request due to her vague customer profile. In other words, her mind is now like a desert and all of the little needles are the strange products she feigned interest in, now harming her, the poor little animal with broken legs.
The vision comes full circle with the positioning of the animal’s jaw: wide open. The position is similar to the first time the characters were hacked on the moon. Everyone with their mouths agape, almost like a scream. What is it that they are all shouting, though? The exact same thing:
“We enter a time of calamity.”
Anderson, M. T. “Nudging Again.” Feed. London: Walker, 2013. 76. Web.
Feed MT Anderson (This is how I read Feed, just in case the page numbers don’t correlate, this is why).