The Long Half Time Walk book Thoughts and Summary

The Long half time walk is an interesting book. It plays and mixes on the emotions of the author with the life style and battle inside the mind and over in Iraq. The author Ben Fountain word stacks pages with ideas and thoughts that go through these solders heads periodically during conversations such as the words 911, war etc.   Billy lost friends whom were seen as brothers in this war. The fabricated myth of this is the glorification by others in America that doesn’t see how war actually is.  Billy doesn’t want to hear what Whaley has to say about how the town sees him now as a warn torn hero and how they used to see him. Billy sees himself just as a guy doing his job.  Before he left the town hated him and he felt the only way to get away from his old image was to join the military and now they want to have a parade for him. To me this is a prime example of be careful what you wish for.

the long book

When Billy goes to the Cowboys game and meets Octavian Spurgeon, he begins to pressure Billy to give more abstract detail about his time spent in Iraq. After Billy receives his autograph on the football, Octavian says. “Hold on a minute,” Octavian proceeds to ask Billy what it was like over in Iraq. Billy then provides him with just enough information and details to answer Octavian’s questions. Octavian still isn’t interested in what Billy is saying because he knows he’s skewing the information and leaving bits of information out. Billy in turn says good luck with your game before he goes too far over his head.  I find this funny because it’s as if he doesn’t care about him “Billy” he cares about the mystical soldier not for whom Billy actually is.

I thought when Dime relates to the Iraq kid was a very interesting point in the story. It shows that not all military people are “savages” and doing a “job” per say.  This section shows that soldiers do have hearts and are not just killing machines.  He helps the kid which can often get

the soldier’s in trouble because it shows that they have an emotional connection which can be considered weakness to the enemy.  Dime has a mystical almost alter ego when he’s with his guys.  His platoon trusts him more than their own family. They see others as just being grunts and thinking this way with an ultra-ego helps them get by I think.  Thinking you are superior allows for things to get done at a quicker way and done right. The problem with this is if you ride the lightening for too long you will crash like thunder.

One thing I picked up on while reading the story is while the civilians Ben Fountain describes behave somewhat realistically there appears to be times when the author is going on a “meta rant” against the American mindset. He sets up characters as straw men with weak ideals and arguments so he can show his disdain towards them. This makes the story feel like he’s trying to inject a point into this fictional narrative.  Billy Lynn and the soldiers are also seen as just props sometimes to the civilians especially at the Dallas game. It’s like they don’t care about “them” personally they just care about the uniform they are wearing to gain a following in an obscure way.  It gives me this feeling of “hey we give the soldiers free tickets and let them come into the locker room to show our appreciation.” But is this really showing us their worth?

In conclusion; it makes me wonder how life changing some events are in life. They may appear as something very small at first, but then turn into something more and that could be a graduating college, joining the military, meeting a new friend or even losing a friend.  I think we take a lot of these opportunities for granted, and it’s strange to think how sporadic life can be. We can marvel at the intricacy of decay stricken moments woven into elating moments being over shadowed by melancholy.

1 Comments

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