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A doctor attends to Violet as Titus waits in the hospital waiting room. His feed sends him advertisements and he sees incapacitated men rolled on gurney-type wheels.
Violet’s father meets with a doctor then tells Titus that Violet will be okay. He gives Titus a site where he can monitor Violet’s feed efficiency, saying an ideal rating is 98 percent. Titus attributes Violet’s outburst to her system breakdown and hopes her mental health can improve. Violet apologizes to Titus for her outburst and says she’s OK for the time being but chats him that she is too distraught to say more now. Titus soon leaves and returns home, where he opts to watch the feed rather than do his homework.
Violet returns home and tells Titus her seizure caused her to lose all her memories from the year before she got her feed. Violet assures Titus that she will remember him, to which he only has a short reply. Violet says there is so much she wants to do with her life, and with Titus, such as dancing and eating large meals with wine. But Violet soon realizes her ideas on living largely come from sitcoms from the feed. When Titus asks Violet how she felt during her outburst, she says it felt great to scream.
Violet and her father petition FeedTech for free repairs, hoping to save Violet’s life.
Quendy tells Titus she understands that Violet’s outburst was the result of her system failure. She sends him a site about the limbic system so he can understand what is happening with Violet, though he isn’t interested.
Titus wakes to find a long message from Violet. Violet says her mom opted against ever having a feed installed and that as a child, her father could not afford one. She tells him her parents had to conceive her at a conceptionarium because ambient radiation was too high to have her naturally. Violet recounts memories of her mom, including that she ridiculed plastic. She tells Titus she could not move her leg earlier but is doing better now. Violet also evokes a comforting image of being young and simply feeling the artificial sun from above and wet mud from below.
Titus only listens to part of Violet’s message from bed, opting to listen to the rest on his way to School™. There, he remains in his upcar, feeling like he is in a trance.
Violet sends Titus a list of twenty-two things she wants to do in life. The list includes fun, adventurous, natural, and cultural activities such as dancing, flying over a volcano, traveling below the ocean to see its last fishes, and browsing art. Violet’s list also includes more mundane wishes, such as wearing a cardigan, having a golden retriever, or going into an office every day. She also wants to simply get older and have grandchildren that call her Nana and that she can shuck corn with. Many of her wishes also involve Titus, including traveling to the mountains with him where they can rent a hotel room using the names Mister and Missus Smith. Violet also says that when she’s older, she wants to not remember her health problems, her stay in the hospital, and Titus being bored by her bedside.
Titus only listens to Violet’s life list message in spurts and doesn’t message back. At School™, he has trouble concentrating on a hologram, who has replaced his teacher due to funding cuts.
Violet messages Titus again. She asks if he received her list, and says she wishes she was with him.
By the time the fourth and final part of feed, “slumberland,” starts, it is abundantly clear how vital feeds are to the novel’s characters. Individual feeds don’t simply provide people with an endless source of information, entertainment, promotions, and assurances that life is and will continue to be bright. Feeds are also completely tied into a person’s brain, body, and biological functions, and thus, can entirely affect their health. It is understandable then, that Violet’s father tells Titus in “87.3%” that Titus can track Violet’s health, not through her heartbeat or breathing, for instance, but through her feed efficiency. By this method, readers can also gauge Violet’s status via chapter titles as “slumberland” proceeds and her percentages fluctuate, at times flirting with an optimal rating of 98 percent but eventually falling to 4.6 percent by the novel’s end. Additional proof of how integral feeds are to characters comes in the second of two chapters titled “87.1%,” when Violet and her father petition FeedTech for repairs that are literally needed to save her life.
As Violet’s feed rating rises and falls, Titus’s apathy and distance only grow. In “87.3%,” Titus stands by Violet’s hospital bed but has very little to say, doesn’t comfort her, and only stays for a short while. Although Titus’s detachment is unsettling, his behavior is at least predictable: Even amid such tragedy, Titus’s feed sends him banners about medical lawyers and malpractice during the ambulance ride to the hospital at the conclusion of Part 3, and in the chapter “52.9%,” he receives ads for upcars and prime-time comedies. Titus, it’s clear, cannot yet feel or sympathize with Violet. But readers who may be ready to let Titus off the hook, believing his behavior can entirely be attributed to the feed, will likely be given pause in “86.5%,” when Quendy demonstrates understanding and compassion for Violet, and unsuccessfully tries to help Titus do the same. Sure, Titus’s failures to feel are the result of his nurturing, but in this scene, readers can surmise that they’re also a part of his nature. Still, it’s difficult not to feel sympathy for him. As Titus says in “82.4%,” it is as if he is in a trance due to all that’s transpired, though fortunately, there’s still time for him to snap out of it and learn to be more human.
As Violet’s health deteriorates, she repeatedly reaches out to Titus, directly saying in “77.8%” that she wishes she was with him. For Violet, real human connection and experiences are critical. It is no wonder, then, that in the first chapter titled “87.1%,” she’s especially concerned that her seizure caused her to lose memories from the year before she received her feed. Although so many people around her seem to live entirely within the feed, Violet sees the value of real life. And as others endlessly rush forward and into the future, and just as rapidly dispose of the past, Violet grasps how vital memories are, particularly those she made pre-feed. These include memories of her mother who, readers learn in “52.0%,” saw the feed’s flaws from the start and opted not to have one installed, but instead to exist entirely in the real world.
The twenty-two items on Violet’s bucket list in “80.9%” provide additional insight into her character, how she views the world, and what she values. It is striking that none of her life goals center on wealth, possessions, consumption, or technology. Number four on her list, in fact, involves sitting with Titus in a place where they can’t hear any engines. Instead, her life goals center on connecting with other human beings such as her future grandchildren. They center on nature, including visiting the mountains and venturing below the ocean to see its last fish. And they center on simple pleasures, such as shucking corn, wearing cardigans, and calling to her golden retriever. They center on simply living, in a real world, and growing older in that world.