He seized his cap, and ten minutes later he had entered a large tailoring establishment on Charles Street, and asked in his uncertain treble to be measured for a uniform. Revealing the breadth of F. Scott Fitzgerald's gift for the short story form, this Penguin Classics edition of The Case of Benjamin Button and Six Other Stories spans multiple genres and styles to dazzling effect.. Full grown with a long, smoke-coloured beard, requiring the services of a cane and fonder of cigars than warm milk, Benjamin Button is a very curious baby indeed. F. Scott Fitzgerald, "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button," Tales of the Jazz Age, Lit2Go Edition, (1922), accessed December 09, 2020, https://etc.usf.edu/lit2go/224/tales-of-the-jazz-age/5770/the-curious-case-of-benjamin-button/. But even with this improvement the ensemble fell far short of perfection. ", Benjamin felt himself on the verge of a proposal—with an effort he choked back the impulse. "Where'd you get this?" To a chorus of titters which went up from the group of undergraduates, Benjamin walked away. Amazon.com: The Curious Case of Benjamin Button and Other Stories (Dover Thrift Editions) (0800759841691): Fitzgerald, F. Scott, Daley, James: Books But when the negro boy had led the buggy away, he added: "Dad, you might introduce me to her.". Dominoes Three The Curious Case of Benjamin Button & Other Stories Audio. demanded Mr. Button, as he came up in a gasping rush. He turned to the nurse. Button was naturally nervous. Tales of the Jazz Age (Lit2Go Edition). A young fellow that age tied to a woman of forty–five. Instead of being delighted, he was uneasy—he was growing younger. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button and Other Stories (Dover Thrift Editions) - Kindle edition by Fitzgerald, F. Scott, Daley, James. Again he threw a curious glance at Mr. Button. In the fifteen years between Benjamin Button's marriage in 1880 and his father's retirement in 1895, the family fortune was doubled—and this was due largely to the younger member of the firm. He had grown so slight and frail that one day he was taken by some sophomores for a freshman, an incident which humiliated him terribly. It seemed to him that the blood flowed with new vigour through his veins. ", His father looked at him with illusory speculation. He looked up at Mr. Button with dim, faded eyes in which lurked a puzzled question. "My heavens!" But a frantic inspection of the boys' department revealed no suits to fit the new–born Button. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button and Other Stories (Dover Thrift Editions series) by F. Scott Fitzgerald. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button is a 2008 American fantasy romantic drama film directed by David Fincher.The storyline by Eric Roth and Robin Swicord is loosely based on the 1922 short story of the same name by F. Scott Fitzgerald.The film stars Brad Pitt as a man who ages in reverse and Cate Blanchett as the love interest throughout his life. I want to have a cane.". "What a pity! This was not true–it was all part of Roger Button's silent agreement with himself to believe in his son's normality. "I like men of your age," Hildegarde told him. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button by F. Scott Fitzgerald is #3 on my Classics I Need to Re-read in 2016 list. repeated Mr. Button incredulously. Despite his aged stoop, Benjamin Button—for it was by this name they called him instead of by the appropriate but invidious Methuselah—was five feet eight inches tall. "He seems to grow younger every year," they would remark. Clank! "We'll go up to headquarters and talk this over. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button is one of the best and thought-provoking short stories I have ever read. He would have to introduce this—this septuagenarian: "This is my son, born early this morning." You are a dangerous lunatic. "What will people say? Was the network of wrinkles on his face becoming less pronounced? The Roger Buttons told their friends that they felt he was too young. This has gone too far to be a joke. he said briskly. He was met at the station by a brass band and escorted to his house. "Get some one to handle my luggage!" Over her shoulders was thrown a Spanish mantilla of softest yellow, butterflied in black; her feet were glittering buttons at the hem of her bustled dress. He was said to have epitomized the Jazz Age, which he himself defined as 'a generation grown up to find all Gods dead, all wars fought, all faiths in man shaken'. ", "But you'll have to admit," protested Benjamin, "that I'm big for my age. The matter was distasteful to him, and he wished to avoid a discussion. the elder Button was saying. "It doesn't seem like a joke to us," replied the nurse severely. ", Mr. Button, sank down upon a chair near his son and concealed his face in his hands. It was in that same year that he began "going out socially"—that is, his father insisted on taking him to several fashionable dances. "Doctor Keene!" However, every one agreed with General Moncrief that it was "criminal" for a lovely girl who could have married any beau in Baltimore to throw herself into the arms of a man who was assuredly fifty. His clothes did not conceal this, nor did the clipping and dyeing of his eyebrows disguise the fact that the eyes under—were faded and watery and tired. Benjamin, veteran of the Spanish–American War, whirled upon him with fire in his eye, but with, alas, a changing treble voice. But, despite all his father's efforts, Benjamin refused to be interested. Swallowing his shame, Mr. Button approached her. Needless to say, Baltimore eventually received the couple to its bosom. It isn't funny any longer. "I want to put on long trousers. He took up golf and made a great success of it. She sniffed. Five years later Roscoe's little boy had grown old enough to play childish games with little Benjamin under the supervision of the same nurse. It was almost impossible not to be affected by the sheer beauty of the sky—almost. The old man looked placidly from one to the other for a moment, and then suddenly spoke in a cracked and ancient voice. "All right, father"—this with a grotesque simulation of filial respect—"you've lived longer; you know best. He was taken from the kindergarten. She rose to her feet and seemed about to fly from the hall, restraining herself only with the most apparent difficulty. "Well, go, then," replied Roscoe shortly. How obnoxious they seemed to Benjamin; how intolerably rosy! The registrar pointed sternly to the door. ", Mr. Button grunted. This was their first experience with the charming old custom of having babies—Mr. Sometimes Nana let him jump on the bed, which was fun, because if you sat down exactly right it would bounce you up on your feet again, and if you said "Ah" for a long time while you jumped you got a very pleasing broken vocal effect. It informed him that many reserve officers who had served in the Spanish–American War were being called back into service with a higher rank, and it enclosed his commission as brigadier–general in the United States army with orders to report immediately. Benjamin tore it open eagerly, and read the enclosure with delight. "Look!" But just think how it would be if every one else looked at things as you do—what would the world be like?". For more information, including classroom activities, readability data, and original sources, please visit https://etc.usf.edu/lit2go/224/tales-of-the-jazz-age/5770/the-curious-case-of-benjamin-button/. Men ran hatless out of classes, the football team abandoned its practice and joined the mob, professors' wives with bonnets awry and bustles out of position, ran shouting after the procession, from which proceeded a continual succession of remarks aimed at the tender sensibilities of Benjamin Button. Even old General Moncrief became reconciled to his son–in–law when Benjamin gave him the money to bring out his History of the Civil War in twenty volumes, which had been refused by nine prominent publishers. Over the latter waved the long whitish beard, drooping almost to the waist. retorted Mr. Button fiercely. *FREE* shipping on qualifying offers. Twenty–five is too wordly–wise; thirty is apt to be pale from overwork; forty is the age of long stories that take a whole cigar to tell; sixty is—oh, sixty is too near seventy; but fifty is the mellow age. The Sunday supplements of the New York papers played up the case with fascinating sketches which showed the head of Benjamin Button attached to a fish, to a snake, and, finally, to a body of solid brass. Fifty seemed to Benjamin a glorious age. Fitzgerald, F. (1922). ", She pointed the direction, and Mr. Button, bathed in cool perspiration, turned falteringly, and began to mount to the second floor. Several small boys were brought to see him, and he spent a stiff–jointed afternoon trying to work up an interest in tops and marbles—he even managed, quite accidentally, to break a kitchen window with a stone from a sling shot, a feat which secretly delighted his father. He was the most celebrated man in college. As this was an inane and unanswerable argument Benjamin made no reply, and from that time on a chasm began to widen between them. His eyes narrowed and he looked uneasily at his father. He did not remember clearly whether the milk was warm or cool at his last feeding or how the days passed—there was only his crib and Nana's familiar presence. "Never you mind how funny you look. He was very happy. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Apt. First published in Collier's Magazine on May 27, 1922 with the cover and illustrations by James Montgomery Flagg.It was subsequently anthologized in Fitzgerald's book Tales of the Jazz Age, which is occasionally published as The Curious Case of Benjamin Button and Other Jazz Age Stories. He read up on it in the medical journal, but found that no such case had been previously recorded. Doctor Keene frowned. I brought you into the world, young man, and I've been physician to your family for forty years, but I'm through with you! The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button F. Scott Fitzgerald was born in 1896 in St Paul, Minnesota, and went to Princeton University, which he left in 1917 to join the army. Roscoe was married now and prominent in Baltimore life, and he wanted no scandal to creep out in connection with his family. "Here's your clothes," he snapped out. So young Mr. and Mrs. Roger Button were fifty years ahead of style when they decided, one day in the summer of 1860, that their first baby should be born in a hospital. Good–bye!". With a harsh look at his father, Roscoe turned away.... At the termination of this interview, Benjamin wandered dismally upstairs and stared at himself in the mirror. Sometimes when other tots talked about what they would do when they grew up a shadow would cross his little face as if in a dim, childish way he realised that those were things in which he was never to share. "Can it be——?" You—you behave yourself!". Wrapped in a voluminous white blanket, and partly crammed into one of the cribs, there sat an old man apparently about seventy years of age. --Container "What'll I do? Then he turned sharply, and without another word climbed into his phaeton, which was waiting at the curbstone, and drove severely away. On his melancholy walk to the railroad station he found that he was being followed by a group, then by a swarm, and finally by a dense mass of undergraduates. He went in for dancing: in 1906 he was an expert at "The Boston," and in 1908 he was considered proficient at the "Maxine," while in 1909 his "Castle Walk" was the envy of every young man in town. Web. "Say! ", Mr. Button turned miserably away. "Why," he protested, "that's not a child's suit. ", With a malicious crackle the old man held up a small white swaddling garment. he called. And if old Roger Button, now sixty–five years old, had failed at first to give a proper welcome to his son he atoned at last by bestowing on him what amounted to adulation. Benjamin concealed a smile of gratification, but when he glanced around his smile faded. Roscoe believed that "live wires" should keep young, but carrying it out on such a scale was—was—was inefficient. "I'm Mr. Button," he managed to articulate. Mr. Button seized a hospital shears and with three quick snaps amputated a large section of the beard. America had joined the Allied cause during the preceding month, and Benjamin wanted to enlist, but, alas, sixteen was the minimum age, and he did not look that old. Benjamin flushed. I thought you said six hours. He knew that he no longer stooped, and that his physical condition had improved since the early days of his life. You better pull up short. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button and Other Stories by F. Scott Fitzgerald by F. Scott Fitzgerald A readable copy. What horrible mishap had occurred? The Curious Case of Benjamin Button and Other Jazz Age Stories. Mr. Roger Button, the president of Roger Button & Co., Wholesale Hardware, began to run toward Doctor Keene with much less dignity than was expected from a Southern gentleman of that picturesque period. ", "Wrap it up," insisted his customer nervously. I'm expecting your son here any minute. "F. Scott Fitzgerald makes anti-bellum Baltimore his setting for "The curious case of Benjamin Button," a fantastical tale with some Poe-like overtones about a baby born at age seventy who then lives life in reverse, his hair turning 'in the dozen years of his life from white to iron-gray, the network of wrinkles on his face becoming less pronounced.'" ", "You can too. ", "I'm right glad of it," whined the old man. In return for these concessions he was allowed his first suit of long trousers.... Of the life of Benjamin Button between his twelfth and twenty–first year I intend to say little. ", His father hesitated. "Winter Dreams," written three years before The Great Gatsby, shares the concept of commitment to an idealized dream. https://etc.usf.edu/lit2go/224/tales-of-the-jazz-age/5770/the-curious-case-of-benjamin-button/, Florida Center for Instructional Technology. people would remark. Benjamin smiled wearily. ", The registrar frowned and glanced at a card before him. Benjamin, once he left the hospital, took life as he found it. On bright days they walked in the park; Nana would point at a great gray monster and say "elephant," and Benjamin would say it after her, and when he was being undressed for bed that night he would say it over and over aloud to her: "Elyphant, elyphant, elyphant." Roscoe's son moved up into the first grade after a year, but Benjamin stayed on in the kindergarten. In Benjamin himself fifteen years had wrought many changes. What the mishap would have cost the Buttons and their kinsfolk socially cannot be determined, for the outbreak of the Civil War drew the city's attention to other things. "This is what they had ready for me.". His idea of going to St. Midas's school recurred to him. "He ought to go to prep school at his age! "Come to attention!" He wondered what possible fascination she had ever exercised over him. The colonel came up, drew rein, and looked coolly down at him with a twinkle in his eyes. You better—you better"—he paused and his face crimsoned as he sought for words—"you better turn right around and start back the other way. "He thought this was the old men's home.". It looks absurd for a boy of fifteen to call me by my first name. With Brad Pitt, Cate Blanchett, Tilda Swinton, Julia Ormond. He went back a third year to the kindergarten, but he was too little now to understand what the bright shining strips of paper were for. The sentry eyed him reproachfully. Outrageous!" It was a gorgeous evening. Download it once and read it on your Kindle device, PC, phones or tablets. ", Mr. Button's son's voice followed him down into the: hall: "And a cane, father. The almost forgotten story of Benjamin's birth was remembered and sent out upon the winds of scandal in picaresque and incredible forms. One day he brought home a rattle and, giving it to Benjamin, insisted in no uncertain terms that he should "play with it," whereupon the old man took it with—a weary expression and could be heard jingling it obediently at intervals throughout the day. ", "You're wrong. This was what he had wanted. With his business influence he obtained a commission as captain, and proved so adaptable to the work that he was made a major, and finally a lieutenant–colonel just in time to participate in the celebrated charge up San Juan Hill. "Oh, I'm not so sure of that," he said. Was his skin healthier and firmer, with even a touch of ruddy winter colour? The girl was slender and frail, with hair that was ashen under the moon and honey–coloured under the sputtering gas–lamps of the porch. "Well," gasped Mr. Button, "which is mine?". "Oh—of course!" These short stories offer insights into many themes, characters, and techniques that emerged in Fitzgerald's later works. "Because if you are," went on the old man querulously, "I wish you'd get me out of this place—or, at least, get them to put a comfortable rocker in here,". There can be no doubt, though, that the rattle bored him, and that he found other and more soothing amusements when he was left alone. There was a knock at his door, and the butler appeared with a letter bearing a large official legend in the corner and addressed to Mr. Benjamin Button. One night in August they got into the phaeton attired in their full–dress suits and drove out to a dance at the Shevlins' country house, situated just outside of Baltimore. There was no doubt of it—he looked now like a man of thirty. 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