Long Half Time Walk Essay

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A Modern Must Read
Required reading should not shudder fear and dread in the hearts of high schoolers across the nation. The purpose of high school reading is to educate and inspire a love for reading. Students will be able to get more out of reading if they are excited about it, not just forced to do it. It is important to make sure that kids do not form a sour taste for reading because of a mandatory reading assignment. Novels need to be both entertaining and informative. A book that is required to be read in high school should be written at a challenging reading level, possess a unique and intelligent main idea, and be entertaining to a high school audience. Billy Lynn’s Long Half Time Walk by Ben Fountain not only is a perfect read for
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While the dialogue between characters is very simplistic and crude because they are soldiers talking to each other, Fountain’s narration throughout the novel uses very complex diction. The two types of diction create a juxtaposition that works wonderfully. The syntax structure of the novel is very innovative as well. At points in the novel a page will be dedicated to the conversation between Billy and another character, yet Fountain uses only a dozen words or so from the conversation to fill the entire page. All the reader is left with is a nearly blank page with a few words like “praaaaaay” and “wore on terrRr” (45). Presumably, the reader is expected to piece together the conversation as if he was only able to catch a few words which is wildly inventive and effective. Fountain even misspells the words for the purpose of onomatopoeia forcing the reader to hear the accent and slang vocabulary of an everyday conversation in Arlington, Texas. Not only is Fountain a master at creating sounds with words, but also images. For example, while the squad is walking to the half time show, Fountain describes their cold walk to the field as being “met by a stinging crystalline mist, swarms of frozen micro-droplets like polar gnats.”(227). This diction is very different compared to the character’s conversations. Fountain successfully weaves together a …show more content…
Since the novel is set in modern day, students would be much more inclined to read it than, for example, The Scarlet Letter which is often difficult to identify with at their age. The main idea of the novel is simplistic on the surface but dives into social commentary involving topics ranging from the mental effects of war on soldiers to the gluttonous attitude of modern day capitalism. The novel almost tricks readers into thinking about the larger moral issues that the book actually is trying to address. Many times in the novel, Fountain uses the characters as a vehicle for social commentary. One of the supporting characters call the United States of America “a giant mall with a country attached” (43). In an age where children, teenagers, and adults are all commercialized, students are likely to agree with the author’s commentary. Billy comments on Beyoncé’s dancing describing it as “frantic sex-show choreography” (229) during her half time performance. Fountain openly mocks today’s pop culture and questions the legitimacy of it. Billy Lynn’s Long Half Time Walk has the complexity and ingeniousness that many other reading-list novels have while being much more modern and relatable to high school students

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