Combat Contemplation

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Few things split opinions more radically than war. And there’s also the drastic split between what the war looks like abroad versus at home. Ben Fountain’s Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk demonstrates what this difference looks like and how it affects the soldiers fighting for the country.

On a Victory Tour across the country after heroic action overseas, the Bravo squad is generally well-received by the Americans they are fighting to protect. During their last day  at home, which they spend at a Dallas Cowboys’ game, 19 year old Bravo soldier Billy Lynn contemplates his experiences during the war, as well as those with his family during his short visit home, which prompts him to think more about what he wants and what his future holds.

The narrative does a good job of depicting the disconnect between war on the front line and on the home front. Some of the memories that were presented were a bit jarringly set up in the narrative of Billy’s time at the football game on his last day, causing confusion about the timeline of events. The portion of the narrative that left the greatest impression on me was during the halftime show when the soldiers were on the field and fireworks were going off. The depiction of their anxiety during the situation highlights the effect war has on soldiers and how something that many people think of as celebratory (fireworks) actually simulates the sounds of war.

Overall, I’d give it a 3.5 out of 5 stars.

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