Study Guide for F. Scott Fitzgerald’s Short Story “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” (1922)

1.How does Benjamin’s aging in reverse help you understand the story, the issues it deals with, and its characters?
2.What does the story reveal about the concept of beauty? You may like to study the portrayals of Hildegarde Button and Benjamin Button.
3.Identify and comment on how men and women are positioned in the story.
4.Find one example which shows how gender is socially constructed.
5.Comment on how “age” and “aging” are defined in the story. Do you think they are still defined in the same way in the contemporary world? Why? Why not?
6.What does the story reveal about class and race issues? Give examples.
7.Comment on the portrayal of journalism in the story? How similar is it to today’s journalism?
8.Why does the story always have an emphasis on “concealing” or “hiding”? What could this tell you about the societal norms?
9.In what ways would you call Benjamin’s being perceived as a source of shame or a threat symbolic? What would his otherness suggest about his society’s attitude toward him?
10.In what ways would you call the story a social satire?

© Ali Nihat Eken, Istanbul, March 2009

Useful links: David Fincher’s The Curious Case of Benjamin Button / A Brief Life of Fitzgerald /


Posted by Ali Nihat Eken

Teaching at Sabanci University, Istanbul, Turkey


  1. It took me but two hours to read this book because I could not stop thinking about my own life as I moved through the pages. The story is powerful, funny, beautiful, and sad. In the end, we all seek to find our place in this world. The end of all things is not too different from the beginning.


  2. I do not understand question 7, the one about journalism.


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