Ever wonder what it would be like to live your life the other way round? From the end to the beginning, from finish to start or from old to young?
That is the premise of this short story The Curious Case of Benjamin Button by Francis Scott Key Fitzgerald.
Fitzgerald is generally regarded as one of the greatest American writers of the 20th century. He is most well known for the novel The Great Gatsby.
Fitzgerald coined the term Jazz Age author to describe himself, and his work was often filled with the recurring themes of age, youth, decadence, despair and the shallow baseness of his fellow peers.
Some of the themes or morals incorporated into this story are the aspects of ageing, appearance and physical looks in general. How big of a role they play in society and in the way people react to each other. The shallow reality of loving or lusting for someone merely for their body, face and appearance in general. This is especially apparent in Benjamin’s relationship with his wife. As he becomes younger his wife is getting older, as he is getting younger.
There was only one thing that worried Benjamin Button; his wife had ceased to attract him.
How ironic that a man who used to look like a fifty year old when his very much younger wife married him is now displeased by the process of her ageing. A man who has always been ignored, pitied, teased and ridiculed an entire lifetime for his appearance.
as the years passed, her honey-colored hair became an unexciting brown, the blue enamel of her eyes assumed the aspect of cheap crockery
Strange, completely hypocritical and yet a completely normal attitude we are often confronted with in society. How often does a wife get traded in for a younger version?
Much like changing the worn tires on the expensive car, out with the old in with the new. No importance is given to time spent together, memories created or lives built bit by bit throughout the years.
most of all, she had become too settled in her ways, too placid, too content, too anemic in her excitements, and too sober in her taste
Egads, how very dare anyone become too content or slow their pace a fraction.Benjamin is not only getting younger, his thought process is reverting to that of a less experienced man, ergo the further he gets to beginning the less he retains.
devoured already by that eternal inertia which comes to live with each of us one day and stays with us to the end.
Actually I think I might just get a T-Shirt printed with the phrase ‘I suffer from eternal inertia, please don’t move me in any way. Be it physically, mentally or emotionally.’
At this point he acknowledges that the process he once deemed advantageous for himself is actually a curse. He hoped the backwards ageing would stop when he got to his prime.
I am sure many would like the recipe for that particular miracle, although I believe each chapter and period in our lives teaches us something specific and different, which we would perhaps never acquire if we were able to stop ageing in our prime.
He had hitherto hoped that once he reached a bodily age equivalent to his age in years, the grotesque phenomenon which had marked his birth would cease to function.
There was only one fly in the delicious ointment—he hated to appear in public with his wife. Hildegarde was almost fifty, and the sight of her made him feel absurd
If your partner can’t deal with the fact you don’t want party all night, drink like a fish, wear your hair down to your bum so he can imagine himself as the chest thumping caveman dragging his female back to the cave for a quick shag and a plate of fried Mammoth and eggs for dessert, well tough shit.
There comes a day in each persons life where the mere thought of a soft pillow and comfy bed brings images of sleep to mind and not of scantily clad romps, which would make the pages of the Kama Sutra blush.
The man becomes the boy and the boy becomes the baby he never was. The only thing of importance is to cry when he feels hunger and to slumber when he feels sated.
When the sun went his eyes were sleepy—there were no dreams, no dreams to haunt him.
The deletion of his lifetime begins, one moment and memory at a time. The end is the beginning and the beginning is the end.
all these had faded like unsubstantial dreams from his mind as though they had never been.
He did not remember.
Almost as if he hadn’t existed at all. Our future is inevitable, we all eventually become nothing more than the faded wisps of memory in those still able to grasp those tendrils, until they also become merely a memory.
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