Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk

by

Ben Fountain

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Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk Themes

Themes and Colors
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
Heroism and Humanity Theme Icon
LitCharts assigns a color and icon to each theme in Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk, which you can use to track the themes throughout the work.

Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk tells the story of nineteen-year-old soldier Billy Lynn. Prior to the start of the novel, Billy and his platoon are involved in a firefight on the banks of the Al-Ansakar Canal in Iraq. After an embedded news crew films the firefight and circulates the footage at home in the United States, the surviving members of Billy's platoon are dubbed the Bravo Squad by Fox News and are lauded as…

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As a young man who spent his youth in a very small town and then went straight to the Army, Billy embarks on the Victory Tour with little firsthand knowledge of how class and money function within the United States, let alone on a global scale. As such, the relationship between class, money, and power fascinates him, and he spends much of the novel trying to figure out how they interact and where he fits…

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Though the year in which Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk takes place is never stated outright, it most likely takes place in 2004 or 2005. At this point in time, the United States had been engaged in the Iraq War for more than a year, and public support for the war was waning. It was becoming clear that the reasons the United States invaded Iraq in the first place were questionable at best, consequently calling…

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Over the course of the Bravo Squad's two-week Victory Tour, Billy gets only one day to return to his parents' home and spend time with his family. When Billy's sister Kathryn admits that she's been speaking to a group that helps heroes like Billy legally desert the military, Billy understands that he's being forced to choose whether to remain loyal to his blood family or the brotherhood he’s found with Bravo Squad. Throughout the nvoel…

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Billy struggles with what it means to be a hero. As far as he's concerned, he only followed orders and did as he'd been trained to do during the firefight on the banks of the Al-Ansakar Canal. However, because his actions were caught on film, posted to YouTube, and played on news channels across the United States, Billy finds himself heralded as a hero, awarded military honors, and sent with the rest of his platoon…

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