Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk

by

Ben Fountain

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The Jumbotron Symbol Icon

The Jumbotron at the Texas Stadium is a very literal symbol of the Fantasy Industrial Complex. It deftly controls how people at the football game view and engage with the game, while also pummeling them with advertisements at every given opportunity. Because of this, the Jumbotron distorts reality and offers up an easier-to-digest and more interesting version of the game. Billy realizes this when he decides that the time between plays feels like sitting in church—during those times, the Jumbotron shows replays from the game, advertisements, and shots of the crowd, distracting the audience from how dull and miserable the game truly is.

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The Jumbotron Symbol Timeline in Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk

The timeline below shows where the symbol The Jumbotron appears in Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
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
...the dome, and a tribute video to former Cowboys football players begins playing on the Jumbotron. Billy thinks that in two days he'll be back in Iraq, but today, he's immersed... (full context)
4. The Human Response
Fantasy vs. Reality in the Media Theme Icon
Heroism and Humanity Theme Icon
Billy's reverie is interrupted by the fans around him, suddenly drawing his attention to the Jumbotron, which is fixed on the Bravos. Sykes starts flashing gang signs as the video cuts... (full context)
11. This Is Everything There Is
Class, Power, and Money Theme Icon
Heroism and Humanity Theme Icon
A woman excitedly tells Billy that he's on the Jumbotron and engages him in conversation about the Victory Tour. She and her husband laugh when... (full context)
Fantasy vs. Reality in the Media Theme Icon
Heroism and Humanity Theme Icon
...to have met Billy and begins talking about his grandsons. Billy notices Faison on the Jumbotron and groans, and Hawey makes approving noises and comments on Norm's "show dogs." (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
The Absurdity of War Theme Icon
...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... (full context)
Fantasy vs. Reality in the Media Theme Icon
Family and Brotherhood Theme Icon
...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.... (full context)
16. Will Slay Vampires For Food
The Absurdity of War Theme Icon
...it's awful that Billy falls in love right before they leave. Billy moans as the Jumbotron plays car ads, and strangely, Sykes starts singing. Apparently, Dime gave Sykes Valium, and now... (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
...waiting for Billy. He wonders what Shroom would do but is too distracted by the Jumbotron and the men in front cheering rudely to properly think. (full context)