Benjamin is born in the hospital as a 70-year-old man. He asks his father for some real clothes.
Benjamin dislikes the fancy suit he is given but complies with his father’s wishes.
He plays with a rattle to satisfy Mr. Button, and as he grows, contrives to break things as a young boy should.
Secretly, Benjamin reads the Encyclopedia for fun and even smokes his father’s cigars on one occasion.
Benjamin and his grandfather take great pleasure in each other’s company and spend a lot of time together.
His parents try to put him in kindergarten, but he finds it’s not appropriate for his age.
On his twelfth birthday, Benjamin sees that he is actually getting younger. He asks his father for long trousers.
Benjamin continues to get younger. When he is eighteen he passes the entrance examination for Yale and goes up to school to register for classes.
Benjamin is dismissed by the registrar as being a fraud. He threatens that Yale will come to regret their decision.
When Benjamin is twenty years old, he begins working for his father at the family hardware company. He and his father become good friends, as they’re now so close in age. They pass for brothers.
Benjamin and his Dad go out to social dances together. One night, Benjamin meets Hildegarde and is struck by her beauty. He dances with her, and doesn’t tell her the truth about his age.
Six months later, Benjamin and Hildegarde are engaged.
The scandal of their marriage is muted by their growing family fortune.
As Hildegarde gets older, Benjamin gets younger. He loses his attraction to her. They have a son, Roscoe.
In 1898 Benjamin joins the army and fights in the Spanish American War. When he returns home, his family holds less appeal for him than ever.
In 1910, Benjamin appears twenty. He enrolls at Harvard University and is a popular guy in his class. He destroys the Yale team at the football match.
By the time he is a senior, however, he looks too young to be held up as a leader.
Benjamin retreats into adolescent moodiness; his son resents him and wants nothing to do with him.
Benjamin ends up playing with is grandson around the house as he gets to be a child. He eventually goes to kindergarten, but then just stays at home with his nurse, Nana. He gradually forgets everything he did as an adult, and gets smaller and smaller until he ceases to exist.