"The Curious Case of Benjamin Button" is a short story written
in 1922 by F. Scott Fitzgerald, the author of The Great
This story was first published in 1922 in an American magazine called Collier's Weekly and was later published in Fitzgerald's collection of short stories, Tales of the Jazz Age. To read the full text of the original short story, click here (there are 11 short chapters).
What happens in the story?
The story is about a boy who is born with the body of a 70-year-old man, and becomes younger and younger as he ages - in other words, Benjamin is aging backwards! Button is from a prosperous family in Baltimore, Maryland (U.S.). While he is born looking very old, he encounters various mishaps because of this. He does manage to do normal things, like fall in love, get married and join the ranks in the Spanish-American War. While he is able to live a relatively normal life midway through, he encounters many problems at the beginning and the end. This makes for great laughs, but is also very melancholic when you see the struggles he encounters. I won't spoil the ending for you - you'll have to read the story yourself!
Fitzgerald said: "This story was inspired by a remark of Mark Twain's to the effect that it was a pity that the best part of life came at the beginning and the worst part at the end."
A blockbuster movie
A movie based on this story comes out in late December 2008. The film The Curious Case of Benjamin Button features Brad Pitt as the protagonist and Cate Blanchett.
An article by Esquire magazine explains that Benjamin will be played at almost every age by Brad Pitt, with his head put on other actors' bodies. When Benjamin is old, the role will be played by a smaller actor. The same scene will then be reshot with Pitt playing Benjamin. The movements of both actors' faces are tracked and Pitt then replaces the original actor's face.
See the movie trailer below:
About the author
F. Scott Fitzgerald was an American writer who wrote novels and short stories. His tales are about the excessive and superficial lifestyles of the "Jazz Age", or the 1920s. He coined this famous term himself. He writes about themes of youth and promise along with despair and age. His famous novels include The Great Gatsby, The Beautiful and The Damned, Tender is the Night and The Last Tycoon. He is regarded as one of the 20th century's greatest writers, and is famous for the phrase "there are no second acts in American lives". This quote is a reflection of his writing on the American dream and lifestyle.
University of South Carolina