Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk

by

Ben Fountain

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Shroom was one of Billy's commanding officers in Iraq, and the tenth member of Bravo Squad. He died in the firefight that made Billy and the rest of the platoon famous. Shroom is constantly in Billy's thoughts, and Billy is especially haunted by the fact that Shroom foretold his own death. Shroom was an avid reader and philosopher who spent his spare time reading whatever he could get his hands on. He and Dime were unlikely friends, and both were unwaveringly liberal—they were an overenthusiastic, sarcastic audience when Vice President Cheney addressed the Army in Iraq. Shroom was also Billy's mentor and a father figure, sharing with Billy how to walk so that he might only lose one foot if a bomb explodes, as well as instilling in Billy the importance of reading and learning. Billy notes that, although Shroom's funeral should've encapsulated Shroom's eccentric spirituality, it was instead a depressing and overly-Christian affair picketed by people who likely belonged to the Westboro Baptist Church.

Shroom Quotes in Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk

The Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk quotes below are all either spoken by Shroom or refer to Shroom. 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 3 Quotes

Billy sensed the true mindfucking potential of it on their first trip outside the wire, when Shroom advised him to place his feet one in front of the other instead of side by side, that way if an IED blew threw the Humvee Billy might only lose one foot instead of two.

Related Characters: Billy Lynn, Shroom
Page Number: 27
Explanation and Analysis:
Quotes explanation long mobile
Chapter 5 Quotes

What's happening now isn't nearly as real as that, eating this meal, holding this fork, lifting this glass, the realest things in the world these days are the things in his head.

Page Number: 53
Explanation and Analysis:
Quotes explanation short mobile
Chapter Quotes

They are his boys, his brothers. Bravos would die for one another. They are the truest friends he will ever have, and he'd expire from grief and guilt at not being there with them.

Page Number: 294
Explanation and Analysis:
Quotes explanation short mobile
Get the entire Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk LitChart as a printable PDF.
Billy lynn s long halftime walk.pdf.medium

Shroom Character Timeline in Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk

The timeline below shows where the character Shroom appears in Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
1. The Thing Begins
Fantasy vs. Reality in the Media Theme Icon
The Absurdity of War Theme Icon
Family and Brotherhood Theme Icon
Heroism and Humanity Theme Icon
...and a movie producer, Albert Ratner, accompany the eight remaining members of Bravo Squad. Counting Shroom, who is dead, and Lake, who is seriously wounded, Bravo has two Silver Stars and... (full context)
Fantasy vs. Reality in the Media Theme Icon
The Absurdity of War Theme Icon
Heroism and Humanity Theme Icon
...circulating at home, and within days, Bravo was flown home for their two-week Victory Tour. Shroom flew with the rest of Bravo in a flag-draped coffin. The narrator notes that Bravo... (full context)
2. A Private in the Infantry
Class, Power, and Money Theme Icon
The Absurdity of War Theme Icon
Heroism and Humanity Theme Icon
...as "Fuckin' Liberal," but Billy eventually realized that Dime wasn't the only one who leaned left—Shroom also shared Dime's beliefs. Billy remembers a time when Cheney gave a speech where they... (full context)
Class, Power, and Money Theme Icon
Family and Brotherhood Theme Icon
Heroism and Humanity Theme Icon
When Billy first joined Bravo, Dime and Shroom had taunted him endlessly. Finally, Billy addressed them and insisted that he wasn't a "delinquent... (full context)
Family and Brotherhood Theme Icon
Heroism and Humanity Theme Icon
...his record, and so he became a soldier. After Billy divulges this story, Dime and Shroom stopped tormenting him. (full context)
3. It is Mostly in Your Head But We Have Cures for That
Fantasy vs. Reality in the Media Theme Icon
The Absurdity of War Theme Icon
Family and Brotherhood Theme Icon
...night, and the Jack and Cokes in the limo didn't help. Dime tells Albert about Shroom's funeral, which should've been a solemn tribute to Shroom's spirituality but instead was a "freak... (full context)
Fantasy vs. Reality in the Media Theme Icon
The Absurdity of War Theme Icon
Family and Brotherhood Theme Icon
Heroism and Humanity Theme Icon
...could've all died. He remembers when he first realized how maddening war can be when Shroom advised him to walk one foot in front of another so that if a bomb... (full context)
4. The Human Response
Fantasy vs. Reality in the Media Theme Icon
Class, Power, and Money Theme Icon
The Absurdity of War Theme Icon
Heroism and Humanity Theme Icon
...that Dime is "property," and the rest of the Bravos are "product." Billy wonders what Shroom and Lake are in this system. He is also annoyed by the rest of the... (full context)
Fantasy vs. Reality in the Media Theme Icon
Class, Power, and Money Theme Icon
The Absurdity of War Theme Icon
Family and Brotherhood Theme Icon
...kicks almost meditative, and he imagines that the uppermost arc of the ball is where Shroom lives now. He thinks it's silly, but reasons that "the long arm of marketing" can't... (full context)
Heroism and Humanity Theme Icon
...the field, the punter is gone, and Billy feels as though he's lost sight of Shroom in the sky.  (full context)
Fantasy vs. Reality in the Media Theme Icon
Heroism and Humanity Theme Icon
Billy thinks back to Shroom's last minutes alive. Shroom foretold his death; right before things started exploding, he took Billy's... (full context)
5. By Virtue of Which the Many Become the One
The Absurdity of War Theme Icon
...to their conversation and hopefully learn something. Before he starts eating, he thinks about where Shroom and Lake would sit. Billy considers the other rituals he follows, and reasons that none... (full context)
Family and Brotherhood Theme Icon
Heroism and Humanity Theme Icon
Billy thinks about what once Shroom said about Dime—that he's a master of the psyche—and again loses himself in thinking about... (full context)
6. Bully of the Heart
The Absurdity of War Theme Icon
Family and Brotherhood Theme Icon
...the backyard and naps. He dreams that he's riding a parade float, but he sees Shroom at the back of the crowd saluting and knows that Shroom is dead. Billy finally... (full context)
7. We Are All Americans Here
Fantasy vs. Reality in the Media Theme Icon
Class, Power, and Money Theme Icon
Heroism and Humanity Theme Icon
...these people think that war is a mere talking point, he and thinks back to Shroom's aphorisms about fear. Shroom said that fear guides everything, and Billy thinks about how all... (full context)
Fantasy vs. Reality in the Media Theme Icon
The Absurdity of War Theme Icon
Heroism and Humanity Theme Icon
...the question to Billy, who manages to mumble something about knowing he needed to save Shroom and his training kicking in. The reporters are apparently intent on getting Billy to admit... (full context)
10. XXL
Fantasy vs. Reality in the Media Theme Icon
The Cowboys' pastor leads the players in prayer, and Billy remembers that Shroom said the Bible is just a compilation of Sumerian legends. Billy finds it difficult to... (full context)
11. This Is Everything There Is
The Absurdity of War Theme Icon
Heroism and Humanity Theme Icon
Billy thinks back to how Shroom spoke about Dime as being all-knowing and exceptionally smart. Dime was one for getting out... (full context)
Heroism and Humanity Theme Icon
...Cowboys' color guard brings out the flag and the national anthem begins. Billy thinks about Shroom and Lake, but his mind wanders to Faison. He picks her out in the line... (full context)
12. Billy and Mango Are Out For a Walk
Fantasy vs. Reality in the Media Theme Icon
Class, Power, and Money Theme Icon
Family and Brotherhood Theme Icon
Heroism and Humanity Theme Icon
...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... (full context)
Fantasy vs. Reality in the Media Theme Icon
Class, Power, and Money Theme Icon
The Absurdity of War Theme Icon
...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... (full context)
16. Will Slay Vampires For Food
Family and Brotherhood Theme Icon
Heroism and Humanity Theme Icon
...caller leaves a voicemail, Billy listens to it and then sits back. He reasons that Shroom would definitely return to war, but Billy doesn't know what he should do. He closes... (full context)
18. The Proud Good-Bye
Fantasy vs. Reality in the Media Theme Icon
Class, Power, and Money Theme Icon
Heroism and Humanity Theme Icon
...gets a text from Kathryn saying that "they" are waiting for Billy. He wonders what Shroom would do but is too distracted by the Jumbotron and the men in front cheering... (full context)