Study Guide

Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk Patriotism

By Ben Fountain

Patriotism

Immediately after the tragic events of "nina leven", as Ben Fountain likes to call it in Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk, Americans experienced a resurgence of patriotism that bordered on the fanatic. French fries were re-dubbed "Freedom Fries," (you can't make this stuff up), not supporting the War on Terror was considered un-American, and blind faith in the inherent goodness of the U.S.A. became a basic requirement for human decency. As a man touring the country because his heroic deeds in the war gained him fame, Billy is exposed to crazed, passionate, and at times absurd levels of patriotism, so much so that he starts to question what reality these people are living in.

Questions About Patriotism

  1. Would you consider Billy patriotic? Why or why not?
  2. What do you think motivates Norm's patriotism?
  3. How does Dime feel about the brand of patriotism the Bravos encounter in Texas?

Chew on This

Patriotism is an American virtue.

Patriotism is a thinly veiled excuse to justify or revel in violence and xenophobia.

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