Study Guide

Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk Society & Class

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Society & Class

For a book filled with cussing, horny dudes, and football, Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk is more of a statement about societal woes and economic unfairness than it is a story about war or sports. Ben Fountain has some major points to make about American society in the early aughts—in particular, that rich people make the rules, and it's the poor people who are stuck with them, often at great cost. Billy comes to see that the country is run like a game being played by the wealthy, who are somehow given carte blanche to cheat. That's a lot for a poor kid from Stovall, Texas to deal with.

Questions About Society & Class

  1. What are some of the moments that make Billy think about his place in American society?
  2. Is Norm Oglesby real, or is he a symbol for something bigger?
  3. Does Billy accept his place in society?
  4. Are there characters in the book who are complacent about his or her role in society? Characters who accept where they are and what they have, and seem relatively content with their lot?

Chew on This

Rich people are crazy because money eventually cuts you off from reality.

Billy is the only one in his family who is dissatisfied enough to seek out a different role in society from the one he'd been born into.

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