Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk

Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk Chapter 12 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
After the first quarter, Norm asks Bravo to leave the box to make room for the Mexican ambassador. Josh leads them back to their seats in the drizzle, and the men pull out their phones and tobacco. Billy has a text from Kathryn and one from Pastor Rick. Billy remembers meeting Pastor Rick. After a rally, Billy sought him out for guidance about Shroom's death. Billy had spilled out all of his feelings about Shroom’s death, but later, Billy couldn't remember anything Pastor Rick had said. Now, the man won't leave Billy alone, and Billy feels as though it must give Pastor Rick credibility to have a relationship with an active soldier.
Billy recognizes that Pastor Rick only wanted to use Billy to gain power through association with the war. Further, although Pastor Rick would like to think he's helping Billy, his "help" is just as effective as so many others' feeble "support the troops" sentiments. Billy is evidently still struggling to process Shroom's death even after his talk with Pastor Rick, suggesting that Pastor Rick only pretended to acknowledge Billy's humanity and emotions.
Themes
Fantasy vs. Reality in the Media Theme Icon
Class, Power, and Money Theme Icon
Family and Brotherhood Theme Icon
Heroism and Humanity Theme Icon
Mango struggles to settle as Billy fields well wishes from citizens from his aisle seat. Billy wonders what he believes in and sends up a "prayer" for Lake, Bush, Cheney, and Rumsfeld. He prays that the war is about the oil and the Humvees will get armor, and he prays that Shroom has eternal life in heaven, even if he's dead on earth. Billy suddenly sits up and tries to concentrate on the game. He watches the Jumbotron and wonders if the game is really about advertising, not the game itself. He thinks that America is a nightmare of superabundance. As he thinks back to Ennis and the equipment room, he decides that war works the same way: the winner is the one who can manufacture the most death.
The comment about the Humvees is a nod to the fact that soldiers in Iraq at this time were severely under-armored, especially in terms of their vehicles. Armoring the vehicles as well as the Cowboys pad their players would be a far better way to support the troops than anything else. Billy shows that he's trying to not buy into the Fantasy Industrial Complex by demonstrating that he realizes the war isn't righteous.
Themes
Fantasy vs. Reality in the Media Theme Icon
Class, Power, and Money Theme Icon
The Absurdity of War Theme Icon
Billy tells Mango to come with him to meet his girlfriend. Mango is confused but happily follows. Billy observes the people shopping and thinks that America is a mall with a country attached. He leads Mango down a tunnel, which confuses Mango until Billy says his girlfriend is a cheerleader. Mango screams. When they reach the railing near the ground, Faison notices them and screams. Billy introduces Mango and tells Faison they saw her on the Jumbotron. Faison is thrilled, which pains Billy, as he understands she desperately wants to be famous. He mimics one of her steps, and she and Mango laugh. Billy feels as though he's never been happier.
Billy finds Faison's desire to be famous indicative of her desire to be an intrinsic part of the media that supports the Fantasy Industrial Complex. This suggests that Faison and Billy have very different desires and foreshadows the impending end of their short-lived relationship.
Themes
Fantasy vs. Reality in the Media Theme Icon
Family and Brotherhood Theme Icon
Related Quotes
Blue quotation bubble icon linking to an important quote associated with this summary and analysis.
Security guards approach Billy and Mango and ask them to leave. Billy gives them a hard time, but the security guards persist and claim that the people in the front row cannot have their views blocked. Billy feels as though he'd gladly kill the guards, but the thought passes and he and Mango leave. As they do, Faison calls that she'll see them on the field at halftime. Mango is in awe that Billy wooed a cheerleader, and he insists that even if Faison is a Christian girl, she'll definitely be up for sex. He says that if they don't have sex before Billy leaves, she'll forget about him.
Billy's sudden desire to be violent indicates that he's having a difficult time adjusting to being in these situations that are so different from life in Iraq. Again, the fact that he's struggling so much shows how poorly Norm is treating his guests. By forcing them into these situations that mess with their emotions and mental states, Norm shows that he doesn't understand that this might be difficult for a combat soldier.
Themes
Fantasy vs. Reality in the Media Theme Icon
Heroism and Humanity Theme Icon
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Billy's phone rings. He picks up A-bort's call and tells A-bort that he and Mango went for a walk. A-bort relays that Dime wants them back immediately, and after a pause, A-bort says in a hushed voice that Billy doesn't want to know what halftime entails.
Halftime shows are about creating a spectacle to jazz up viewers and feed the "fantasy" part of the Complex, suggesting that the show will have very little to do with reality.
Themes
Fantasy vs. Reality in the Media Theme Icon