The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
How we cite our quotes:
"I can't tell you exactly who I am," replied the querulous whine, "because I've only been born a few hours – but my last name is certainly Button."
"You lie! You're an impostor!"
The old man turned wearily to the nurse. "Nice way to welcome a new-born child," he complained in a weak voice. "Tell him he's wrong, why don't you?"
"You're wrong. Mr. Button," said the nurse severely. "This is your child, and you'll have to make the best of it. We're going to ask you to take him home with you as soon as possible-some time to-day." (1.1.44-7)
Mr. Button is more upset about admitting to others that Benjamin is his son than at having to take care of such an abnormal "baby."
"All right, father" – this with a grotesque simulation of filial respect – "you've lived longer; you know best. Just as you say."
As before, the sound of the word "father" caused Mr. Button to start violently. (1.2.23-4)
"Benjamin Button" asks us to re-think what concepts like "father" and "son" really mean.
Nevertheless he persisted in his attitude. He brought home lead soldiers, he brought toy trains, he brought large pleasant animals made of cotton, and, to perfect the illusion which he was creating – for himself at least – he passionately demanded of the clerk in the toy-store whether "the paint would come oft the pink duck if the baby put it in his mouth." (1.3.4)
Mr. Button’s reaction to Benjamin’s circumstance is the opposite of his son’s. He lies in denial, in contrast to Benjamin’s calm acceptance.