The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button Summary

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Believing the relationship between the temporality and narrativity is reciprocal, Paul Ricouer coins the term, narrative time, to challenge the ordinary representation of time. He believes it is individuals’ concern that determines the narrative time in different degrees of temporal organization, and forms individual, as well as collective identity. F. S. Fitzgerald’s “the Curious Case of Benjamin Button”, stands out to be an appropriate text, showing the impact of time on narrative and identity. On one hand, it, as a magical realistic story whose protagonist owns chronological time exactly in reverse of the cosmological time, directly dismantles the traditional fashion of time, and reinforces the identity of Baltimore upper class; and on the…show more content…
Mr. Button’s long-winded expectation toward the newborn, centering his “enviable position”, is interrupted by Doctor Keene’s “irritation”, triggered by the fear of his “professional reputation” being ruined (Fitzgerald 4), meanwhile the concern of newborn’s healthy situation is neglected. Mr. Button then, encounters the nurse, who also appears to be outrage and contempt in an exaggerated way, while still postponing the answer to the question of the baby, which forms a repetition of Doctor Keene, once again building up the sense of horror and suspension. When finally meeting his son, Mr. Button’s “terror resolving into rage” joins the former two, establishing the initial, meanwhile almost life-long and terminal negative social impression on Benjamin Button, the man growing in a reverse age, who finally enters the stage and gives his own line: “I've only been born a few hours—but my last name is certainly Button”, whereas being violently refuted by his father “You lie! You’re an imposter!” (6). In the whole section, the human concern keeps prolonging the time, meanwhile the narrative also guides the readers to experience the horror and anxiety of the characters, which works out as an exemplar of the Ricouer’s argument that “[i]t is our preoccupation, not the things of our concern, that determines the sense of…show more content…
The episodic dimension of narrative is more obvious, since the story basically lays out Benjamin Button’s personal experience chronologically, however, the configurational emplotment should by no means be overlooked, because the narrator makes a selection along the course of Benjamin’s life and includes only events relevant to the contrast between the public normality and Benjamin’s peculiarity, which becomes the denominator correlating these scattered incidents with each other, pointing out the “thought” of the whole plot. Benjamin’s very characteristic, the reverse growth, functions as the only trigger of all the contingencies, exemplified by his marriage with the young Hildegarde Moncrief, who is fascinated by him, purely because of his “romantic”, “glorious” age (Fitzgerald 16), fifty, while he is chronologically twenty-years old. Instead of listing more reasons to disturb the “thought”, the narrator decides to strengthen the sense of irony and configure other events into an intelligible whole, interrogate the narrative communities’ selective blindness and selfishness, shown by Hildegarde, and stress the influence of otherness on individuality, which is proved again here by the transition of Benjamin’s attitude on his age from confusion to “longed passion” (16). Compared to the configurational dimension, the
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