Study Guide

Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk Chapter 4

By Ben Fountain

Chapter 4

The Human Response

  • Albert is patiently explaining the art of the Hollywood deal to the Bravo guys.
  • Albert's got Hilary Swank "interested," but he needs to find a studio to support the film, first. It all comes down to the $$$$$, as it always does.
  • Some of the Cowboys start to warm up on the field, and Billy becomes totally entranced by the kicker and his skillz.
  • The Jumbotron suddenly features the Bravos with a scroll welcoming "The Heroes of Al-Ansakar Canal." Everyone in the stadium gives the boys a standing ovation.
  • Billy's become very good at zoning out while receiving all his well-wishers, but deep down he hates it. He can't believe how insane some people get trying to express their gratitude for his service, and it all becomes one big blur of buzzwords like "nina leven" and "Eye-rack."
  • Billy's also sickened by the general lack of understanding his fans have about war. They act all starry-eyed about his heroism, but he thinks the whole thing is beyond terrible. How do they not see that?
  • Billy asks Josh for some Advil. Again.
  • Billy is, once again, reliving the horrific day that made Bravo famous. Just as everything went to heck, Shroom had turned to Billy and told him "I'm going down." Somehow, Billy thinks, Shroom foretold his own death.
  • Billy can't help but think about Shroom, Shroom's death, and the events of that infamous battle, all the time. Like, all the time. He's showing some pretty classic signals of PTSD—but so are the rest of Bravo guys.
  • The guys head into the stadium for lunch, at which point they're bombarded again by tons of insipid well-wishers.
  • Ugh.
  • Billy keeps getting these inspirational Biblical text messages from a guy called Pastor Rick.
  • Suddenly: boom. Major Mac is back. Mac attack.
  • Billy questions where Mac's been, and the Major corrects him: he's been here the whole time. (THE CALL IS COMING FROM INSIDE THE HOUSE!) Right. Yessir.
  • We're whooshed back to Billy's experience of Shroom's death. He's positive he felt Shroom's soul leave his body, and he's been desperate for someone he can confide in and get some kind of explanation from for what he's been through.
  • Hence Pastor Rick: Billy had told him all about Shroom out of some desperate need to get some understanding of the whole situation. But confiding in that guy was a mistake, because he's just a sham and a publicity hound.
  • So now Billy thinks maybe Major Mac will be like an all-knowing Sphinx: silent, but full of wisdom.
  • Billy hopes that Major Mac's experiences before Bravo might be similar to his time with Shroom, but he has no idea how to approach the seemingly vacant deaf dude.
  • All the Bravos head up in an elevator with Josh to get some lunch, and Sergeant Dime has to warn them not to even think about farting.