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Themes

"The Curious Case of Benjamin Button" is the story of a man who is born old and ages backwards. The story explores the way that age dictates identity; how old we are has quite a bit to do with who we are. And not just where physical appearance is concerned. By being born old, Benjamin is born not just with the body and face of an old man, but with the mind and emotions of an old man. Even though he’s a newborn, then, he enjoys the company of old men. As he gets younger physically, his personality changes accordingly: he becomes more vivacious and social. "Benjamin Button" reminds us that age is not, after all, just a number.

Questions About Identity

  1. What aspects of identity does age define in this story?
  2. How does Benjamin deal with his odd aging process?
  3. When Benjamin is born, what aspects of him are "old," and which are "young"?

Chew on This

Try on an opinion or two, start a debate, or play the devil’s advocate.

"The Curious Case of Benjamin Button" argues that age has more to do with mindset than anything physical.

"The Curious Case of Benjamin Button" argues that the age of one’s mind is entirely dictated by the age of one’s body.

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