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." (1.1.44)
Indeed, Benjamin’s effort to define who he is, is central to "Benjamin Button."
"I'm right glad of it," whined the old man. "This is a fine place to keep a youngster of quiet tastes. With all this yelling and howling, I haven't been able to get a wink of sleep. I asked for something to eat" – here his voice rose to a shrill note of protest – "and they brought me a bottle of milk!" (1.1.50)
Benjamin seems rather matter-of-fact about this whole thing, possibly because he doesn’t realize how odd it is to be born as he was born. For him, the abnormal is normal.
People would stop to speak to him, and what was he going to say? He would have to introduce this – this septuagenarian: "This is my son, born early this morning." And then the old man would gather his blanket around him and they would plod on, past the bustling stores, the slave market – for a dark instant Mr. Button wished passionately that his son was black – past the luxurious houses of the residential district, past the home for the aged.... (1.1.56)
Mr. Button is most concerned for his own image and sense of self; having a son like Benjamin, in his mind, changes who he is.