‘The Curious Case…’ is about a boy who is born as a 70 year old man and instead of aging as normal he un-ages and gets younger as the years progress. Throughout the story you see that Benjamin not only has to put up with the stigma of society but also of his own family members, his Father – Roger Button and his own son – Roscoe Button.
The story starts with a knowledgeable narrator who is ready to tell you what seems like a fairy tale of remarkable interest. His story begins with Benjamin Button being born as a 70 year old man and proceeds to tell us about Benjamin’s long and fascinating life, full of all the adventures that an upper class man/boy would face. The story ends with Benjamin dying as a baby and the quickness and lack of description around his death adds to the sadness of it. Although it is short, the story still manages to capture the reader’s full attention and doesn’t lack the detail that a novel might have. The number of events that take place within the shortness of the book is great and even though Fitzgerald doesn’t spend a lot of time describing events in detail, he still manages to create a clear image of Benjamin’s life for the reader.
In the first chapter Fitzgerald builds the tension of the story by not revealing the horrendous thing that has happened to Mr Button’s son. He does this by elongating the line before we first encounter young (old) Benjamin. This helps to add an overall effect of wonder and definitely made me continue reading as it really did grip my interest as I wondered what had happened to this baby.
In the story Benjamin’s mother never gets mentioned and this arouses many questions as to what has happened to her. We never find out whether she survived the birth, although personally I find it highly unlikely that she would; however this would add to the overall unusual tone that this story creates. Because of this lack of information about what happens to Mrs Button I think that it would give great opportunity for a transformation text, where you could explore what happens to Mrs Button before, during or after the birth.
Fitzgerald uses a quirky and unusual storyline to challenge the audience’s perceptions on life, death and the difficulties of everything in-between. As well as this, he draws upon romance and the challenges that we all can face through the relationship between Benjamin and his wife Hildegarde Moncrief. The fact that this was and still is to a degree an original storyline adds to the overall positive tone of this text.
The only negative comment I have to make about is that at times the extravagant use of vocabulary can make it somewhat difficult to follow. However, I am sure that in the time this text was written the words used would have been quite commonly used and it is only as a modern reader that I and other readers may find it challenging to read. Still, if you are looking for a challenging but entertaining story, then this is definitely one to go for.
Overall ‘The Curious Case of Benjamin Button’ is a must-read that offers originality, entertainment and thought. The challenging nature of this text only adds to the sheer genius of it. Although it is only a short story, it still manages to hold status even today as one of the world’s most well-known and admired stories.