Thursday, September 4, 2008

For Whom The Bell Tolls

I read something extraordinary today. And though I find F. Scott Fitzgerald to be a little too preachy and self righteous when it comes to the themes of his books, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button was a glorious yet tragic tale. It presents life as we know it but aging in reverse and the ripple effect that has on the world around Benjamin. It showcases perfectly the difficulties one has at the beginning and end of life. It seems that neither one is really different; and it’s the adventures you have in between that make you feel like you’re apart of the cosmic scheme of life. It is the only time where you seem to be in step with everybody else, no matter how monotonous or incredible the path is.

As the tale is spun, you’re lead through all of Benjamin’s triumphs and failures. Somehow he managed to not think himself above everybody else with his peculiar condition, rather it made him uncomfortable to get younger while everybody around him got older. For example, he was truly distressed when he noticed his wife was nearly forty and he a man no older then twenty. His curious condition not only effected him physically but it also shaped him psychologically to have the temperament of a flirtatious young man despite the fact he was nearing forty years old, for example. Naturally he fell out of love with his wife and grew tired of the complacent life people of her age liked to enjoy when you’re at the cusp of your autumn years.

It also gave the reader a bird's eye view of just how cruel the ones who are supposed to love you can be.  Be it out of fear, spite, or complete ignorance, it was still unacceptable in my eyes.  It wasn't Benjamin's decision to be born a decrepit man of seventy and march backwards in time.  Yet his father, son, and wife eventually would accuse him of intentionally existing that way just because he wanted to be different or stubborn.  Someone would say he lead a grand existence when he finally hit the young, virile period of his life for instance, as he enlisted into the army and participated in the Spanish American War.  However with each passing year, he'd lose as much as he had gained.  As an "older" man, he was a business genius who become very wealthy and quickly made the family business a success.  All he accomplished when he was the wizened young man of forty of fifty waned as he morphed into an ancient youngster and drifted to the shadows of his mind till the very end.

All very strange and curious indeed.

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