The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Identity Quotes Page 2
How we cite our quotes:
Mr. Button grunted. "I don't know," he answered harshly. "I think we'll call you Methuselah." (1.2.31)
By using this name, Mr. Button makes it clear that Benjamin will always be defined by his age.
When his grandfather's initial antagonism wore off, Benjamin and that gentleman took enormous pleasure in one another's company. They would sit for hours, these two, so far apart in age and experience, and, like old cronies, discuss with tireless monotony the slow events of the day. Benjamin felt more at ease in his grandfather's presence than in his parents' – they seemed always somewhat in awe of him and, despite the dictatorial authority they exercised over him, frequently addressed him as "Mr." (1.3.8)
"Benjamin Button" teaches us that age has a lot more to do with identity than simply physical appearances. Benjamin isn’t just born physically old; he’s born with the affinities, tastes, and mentalities of an older man. That’s why he gets along with those who are of his apparent age, not his real age.
"I like men of your age," Hildegarde told him. "Young boys are so idiotic. They tell me how much champagne they drink at college, and how much money they lose playing cards. Men of your age know how to appreciate women." (1.5.15)
It is ironic that Hildegarde marries Benjamin for being older than she, when he is the same age as she at this point.