Study Guide

Faison Zorn in Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk

By Ben Fountain

Faison Zorn

Faison—which apparently sounds like "pheasant" with a Texan accent—is Billy's true love. His "zing."

Or at least he thinks she is.

What he does know for sure is that Faison is a cheerleader for the Dallas Cowboys. And not just any cheerleader; she's the cheerleader, the strawberry blonde one Billy makes fateful eye contact with right off the bat:

But somewhere down the line his gaze stops, backtracks of its own accord to a petite, fair-skinned girl with a teased-out corona of strawberry-blond hair, soft bolts of which drape the rising tide of her chest. She smiles again, then silently laughs and crinkles her eyes at him. He knows it's her job, but still; his stomach does a drop-kick sort of bounce. (All Americans.180)

From this point on, Billy knows the two of them were meant to be. Soon they meet up, They, they flirt, they dry hump to completion in a dark corner, she unknowingly convinces him that going back to Iraq with his brothers in Bravo is the right thing to do—and the rest is history.

Although it sounds like Faison should be a hugely pivotal character in our story, she's not really developed as such. That's probably deliberate on Fountain's part, because after all, Billy only meets Faison for, like, a total of 10 minutes. We're never quite sure what to make of Faison. Is she for real?

Sure, Billy thinks he's met the love of his life, but in reality, Faison's efforts are minimal. She takes pity on a young grunt and makes out with him for a few minutes. She gives him her number and agrees to continue communicating with him, whatever that will mean, while he is deployed to Iraq. Like most objects of adolescent crushes, she's kind of a mystery—and that mystery is part of the reason she's so appealing.

Faison doesn't actively convince Billy not to take Kathryn's offer of lawyering up, but her subtle reaction to his proposal to run away together ends up meaning a lot more to Billy than it would to her. For all we know, Faison was just reacting against the idea of turning this proto-relationship into something real (we mean, hey, it's really quite possible that someone just told her to be nice to these guys). Billy interprets it in his own way, but we'll never know for sure what was going through Faison's mind.

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