Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk

by

Ben Fountain

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Denise Lynn Character Analysis

Denise is Billy's mother and Ray’s husband. She's overwhelmingly concerned with keeping up appearances, often to her own detriment—she refuses to declare bankruptcy, which would allow her to keep her home and dissolve Ray's medical bills, on account of what other Stovall residents would think. Similarly, even though her lawyer told her to not speak to the woman with whom Ray had an affair, she's too polite to hang up on the woman when the woman calls the Lynn house. Though Denise technically cares for Ray, she does only the bare minimum and manages to make her care look neglectful and passive aggressive. In contrast, she adores Billy and is extremely proud of him. Even though she tries her best to make Billy's visit home perfect by cooking Billy's favorite foods and wearing makeup, her attempts to control the rest of her family and make them fall into line fail, particularly where Ray is concerned.
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Denise Lynn Character Timeline in Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk

The timeline below shows where the character Denise Lynn appears in Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
6. Bully of the Heart
Class, Power, and Money Theme Icon
Heroism and Humanity Theme Icon
...radio, and smoking until the day he suffered a double stroke. Now, only Billy's mother, Denise, and Kathryn understand Ray, though he seldom speaks. The family secret remains unspoken: everyone aside... (full context)
Class, Power, and Money Theme Icon
Family and Brotherhood Theme Icon
Heroism and Humanity Theme Icon
...impress Ray with the fact that Billy is a national hero when he arrives home. Denise cries, as do Kathryn, Patty, and Patty's toddler son, Brian—but Ray only glances up from... (full context)
Fantasy vs. Reality in the Media Theme Icon
Family and Brotherhood Theme Icon
Later, Denise prepares a "perfect" dinner. Ray promptly turns up the volume on Bill O'Reilly all the... (full context)
Fantasy vs. Reality in the Media Theme Icon
Family and Brotherhood Theme Icon
...overturns the coffee pot and then heads for the living room and Fox News. As Denise, Patty, and Kathryn clean up the mess, Billy asks if Ray truly watches Fox all... (full context)
Fantasy vs. Reality in the Media Theme Icon
Patty asks Billy if he's heard about the house. She explains that Denise wants to take a loan out on the house to pay off Ray and Kathryn's... (full context)
The Absurdity of War Theme Icon
Heroism and Humanity Theme Icon
...Billy's Purple Heart to one breast and his Silver Star to the other, which scandalizes Denise and sends Billy into fits of laughter. Kathryn refuses to take them off and is... (full context)
Class, Power, and Money Theme Icon
The Absurdity of War Theme Icon
Denise and Mr. Whaley join the Lynn children outside, and Mr. Whaley asks Billy about the... (full context)
Class, Power, and Money Theme Icon
Family and Brotherhood Theme Icon
Billy asks Kathryn about Denise's possible home equity loan. Kathryn tells Billy to not worry about it but shares that... (full context)
Family and Brotherhood Theme Icon
At dinner later, Ray again cranks up the volume on the TV, and Denise, Kathryn, and Patty argue about the home equity loan. When Denise breaks down crying, Billy... (full context)
Family and Brotherhood Theme Icon
Denise suggests that maybe someone should wake Ray, but Billy shrugs. Brian sleepily pads into the... (full context)
14. If In the Future You Tell Me This Is Love, I Will Not Disappoint You
Class, Power, and Money Theme Icon
The Absurdity of War Theme Icon
Family and Brotherhood Theme Icon
Heroism and Humanity Theme Icon
...is his sister. He points out Patty and his mom, who's in his phone as Denise, and explains that Ray doesn't have his own phone. Faison asks if he'll see them... (full context)
15. Temporary Sanity
The Absurdity of War Theme Icon
Family and Brotherhood Theme Icon
...the group his number. He grits his teeth as Kathryn hands the phone off to Denise, and he envisions how they'd fare if he were to die. He decides that Denise... (full context)
The Absurdity of War Theme Icon
Heroism and Humanity Theme Icon
Denise harrumphs about how lewd the halftime show was, becoming more and more righteous. Billy asks... (full context)