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Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk by Ben Fountain Discussion Questions

Instructor: Kerry Gray

Kerry has been a teacher and an administrator for more than twenty years. She has a Master of Education degree.

'Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk' is a young adult novel by Ben Fountain about a young war hero coming home from Iraq. This resource offers discussion questions for secondary students.

Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk

Ben Fountain's Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk is a novel about Billy Lynn, an American soldier in Iraq, who is sent home for two weeks on a victory tour following a heroic battle. However, as Billy Lynn is celebrated, his flashbacks indicate that the reality of war is much different than what most American citizens imagine it to be. The following questions may be used to discuss this novel with your secondary students.

Before the Game

  • Why is Bravo Company rewarded with a trip home? What part do you think public relations plays in war? What are some examples of public relations activities that you have seen or heard about that are used to boost public support for war?
  • Why is Billy awarded a Silver Star? Why do you think these types of awards play such an important role in the military? What does this award reveal about Billy? What are some other ways Billy is rewarded for his actions in combat?
  • Why do the Bravo Company soldier have mixed feelings about being honored at the Cowboys football game? How do the soldiers cope with the loss of Shroom? How do you cope with difficult emotions?
  • What changes does the Hollywood producer want to make to their story to turn it into a movie? What effect do these types of changes have on a movie? How do the men respond to these proposals? Would you agree to change your story for $100,000? Explain your answer.

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