Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk

Ray Lynn Character Analysis

Ray is Billy's father and Denise Lynn’s husband. In his younger days, Ray was a rock and roll radio DJ, but after the economic recessions after September 11, he had trouble finding work. For his DJ jobs, Ray insisted on keeping apartments in Dallas so that he wouldn't have to commute fifty miles to and from Stovall, which the rest of the Lynn family later learned was a way for Ray to keep his extramarital affairs and teenage daughter secret. This became representative of Ray's regular personality shifts: he often berated his family members with extremely foul language but could switch instantly to his "work voice" when his phone rings. After September 11, Ray doubled down on his conservatism and began working to become a conservative talk radio host. He tested all his material on his family, earning the nickname "America's Prick" from his eldest daughter, Patty. While working on these attempts to become the next big conservative talk radio host, Ray suffered a major double stroke that confined him to a motorized wheelchair and robbed him of his suave voice. When Billy visits his family during the Victory Tour, Ray only grunts when he needs something and spends all of his time watching Fox News and chain smoking. He's petulant and ignores everyone in the family except for his grandson, Brian. Despite Ray’s support for the war, he doesn't treat Billy like a hero, and Billy realizes that nothing he does will allow him to connect with his father or make his father proud of him.

Ray Lynn Quotes in Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk

The Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk quotes below are all either spoken by Ray Lynn or refer to Ray Lynn. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Fantasy vs. Reality in the Media Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Ecco edition of Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk published in 2012.
Chapter 6 Quotes

You can deny him, he thought, watching his father across the table. You can hate him, love him, pity him, never speak to or look him in the eye again, never deign even to be in his crabbed and bitter presence, but you're still stuck with the son of a bitch. One way or another he'll always be your daddy, not even all-powerful death was going to change that.

Related Characters: Billy Lynn, Ray Lynn
Page Number: 79
Explanation and Analysis:
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Billy rattled off the cities. Washington, Richmond, Philadelphia, Cleveland, Minneapolis-St. Paul, Columbus, Denver, Kansas City, Raleigh-Durham, Phoenix, Pittsburgh, Tampa Bay, Miami, and practically every one, as Sergeant Dime pointed out, happened to lie in an electoral swing state.

Related Characters: Billy Lynn (speaker), Sergeant Dime, Kathryn Lynn, Ray Lynn, Mr. Whaley
Page Number: 88
Explanation and Analysis:
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Ray Lynn Character Timeline in Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk

The timeline below shows where the character Ray 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
Fantasy vs. Reality in the Media Theme Icon
Family and Brotherhood Theme Icon
...visit their families several days before Thanksgiving. Billy went home to Stovall, where his father, Ray, drives around the house in his motorized wheelchair—and according to Kathryn, Ray does nothing but... (full context)
Class, Power, and Money Theme Icon
Heroism and Humanity Theme Icon
Ray spent his days watching Fox News, listening to conservative radio, and smoking until the day... (full context)
Class, Power, and Money Theme Icon
Family and Brotherhood Theme Icon
Heroism and Humanity Theme Icon
Ray is impossible to please, and Billy realizes that he won't even be able to impress... (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 way and chain smokes through... (full context)
Fantasy vs. Reality in the Media Theme Icon
Family and Brotherhood Theme Icon
...his childhood bedroom and masturbates several times throughout the evening and night. In the morning, Ray overturns the coffee pot and then heads for the living room and Fox News. As... (full context)
Family and Brotherhood Theme Icon
Heroism and Humanity Theme Icon
...tells Billy that the entire family is proud of him, and when Billy says that Ray isn't proud, Patty insists that Ray is, he just doesn't know how to show it. (full context)
Fantasy vs. Reality in the Media Theme Icon
...explains that Denise wants to take a loan out on the house to pay off Ray and Kathryn's medical bills, but if Denise files for bankruptcy instead, she'd be able to... (full context)
Class, Power, and Money Theme Icon
Family and Brotherhood Theme Icon
...due to medical bills. She tells Billy to not give their parents any money, as Ray bought his secret daughter a brand-new Mustang car for her sixteenth birthday. (full context)
The Absurdity of War Theme Icon
Family and Brotherhood Theme Icon
Billy wakes to the sound of Ray's wheelchair in the yard. It startles Billy, and his soldier reflexes kick in—he notes that... (full context)
Class, Power, and Money Theme Icon
Family and Brotherhood Theme Icon
Heroism and Humanity Theme Icon
Billy watches, perplexed, as Ray whirrs around the yard, presumably looking at the flowers—something he's never done before. Suddenly, Brian... (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... (full context)
Family and Brotherhood Theme Icon
Denise suggests that maybe someone should wake Ray, but Billy shrugs. Brian sleepily pads into the kitchen and climbs into Patty's lap, and... (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
...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 before he leaves, and... (full context)
15. Temporary Sanity
The Absurdity of War Theme Icon
Heroism and Humanity Theme Icon
...halftime show was, becoming more and more righteous. Billy asks about Thanksgiving dinner and about Ray, who is watching the game with Patty's husband. Denise asks if Billy has a coat,... (full context)