Interesting Discussion Questions for TCCOBB

The website of publishing company Simon & Schuster hosts a rather interesting section with discussion questions on F. Scott Fitzgerald's "The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button". And while Eric Roth's screenplay and the final movie may have as little as nothing to do with the original short story, some of the themes addressed in these questions may still play a role.

As a matter of fact, while the film's concept "a man ages in reverse" sounds fun and somewhat intriguing, what really makes the story come to life is it's unique conflicts and potential for socio-philosophical commentary -- which is certainly a part that initially got this project on the way for a Hollywood makeover, and might also have played an important role for David Fincher to chose this to be his next film.

These are my favorite questions:

  • How does this story, though written almost a century ago, reflect our society's current attitude toward age and aging?

  • What is ironic about Benjamin marrying a "younger" woman? What does the story reveal about our perceptions of age and beauty?

  • The happier Benjamin becomes in his career, the more strained his marriage grows. Fitzgerald writes, (...) "There was only one thing that worried Benjamin Button: his wife had ceased to attract him." Why does he fall out of love with Hildegarde?

  • How does Fitzgerald use Benjamin's condition to ridicule social norms?

  • How does Benjamin's reverse aging ironically mirror the modern midlife crisis?

  • What's great is that this article, as short as it is, sparks some interesting thoughts and really makes the premise come to life. It's like you can actually see some of the parts and themes that will play out in the film. Also, the article points to other stories with a similar premise, such as The Confessions of Max Tivoli by Andrew Sean Greer, The Body by Hanif Kureishi, and the Fitzgerald-inspired story collection The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Apt. 3W by Gabriel Brownstein.

    Something to think about while waiting for a trailer!

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