How does the Fitzgerald utilize humor in “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”? In what ways is the idea of someone aging in reverse inherently humorous?

“The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” might be inherently funny because it satirizes people’s fears over growing old by spotlighting someone who has to worry about growing young.

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Someone aging in reverse might be inherently funny because it takes advantage of Western culture’s widespread anxiety over aging. Typically, people worry about getting older and losing their youth. Youth, particularly in the Western world, is held in high esteem. People are constantly sent messages that youth is something to...

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Someone aging in reverse might be inherently funny because it takes advantage of Western culture’s widespread anxiety over aging. Typically, people worry about getting older and losing their youth. Youth, particularly in the Western world, is held in high esteem. People are constantly sent messages that youth is something to hold onto for as long as possible. These messages are relayed through media as well as the bounty of products and medical procedures that purportedly forestall wrinkles, greying, and so on.

In F. Scott Fitzgerald’s short story, Benjamin Button doesn’t have to fret over growing old: he starts off old. His predicament—starting off as the thing many people fear—allows for regular irony, satire, and humor. It’s as if Fitzgerald uses Button to draw attention to the absurdity of culture’s preoccupation with age. Through Button, Fitzgerald spotlights the way in which any age could be considered a silly societal construct. Remember, when Button is first born, his parents dye his hair and shave him so that he resembles the infant that he’s supposed to look like.

The story might also garner its humor from the satiric presentation of Hildegarde. Like many female characters in books and media (e.g., Jane Eyre, Autumn in New York, Mad Men), Hildegarde finds herself attracted to older men. Unfortunately for her, Benjamin will not be old for that much longer. Hildegarde’s relationship to Benjamin could be seen as a humorous parody of the way in which age can be more of an asset than youth, especially for heterosexual males.

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