Perhaps no author is more directly associated with the times during which he wrote than F. Scott Fitzgerald. His name and his works have become synonymous with “The Jazz Age” of post-World War I America, a term Fitzgerald himself coined. The events of “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” mostly occur well before and during World War I, and the story’s plotline and themes are bound up in the transformational decades between 1860 and 1920. However, it is contextually important that the 1920s is the story’s end point. The years that Benjamin lives through mark the beginnings of a social revolution that would lead to the atmosphere of America’s most decadent decade. From the very beginning of the story it is clear that big change is coming during Benjamin’s life, given that he’s born in the year 1860.

Not only would the beginning of the Civil War in 1861 initiate the radical breakdown of the social order in the American South, but this was also in the middle of a rapidly accelerating Industrial Revolution. America would transition in subsequent years from a mostly agrarian society to one of industrial production. The wealth generated during this time would see the United States emerge as a world economic and military power. In Fitzgerald’s tale, Benjamin Button’s life is a symbol of his country, as he goes from businessman to soldier to excitable youth. Moreover, Benjamin’s life is a bewildering sequence of events which require adaptation and an admission that seismic societal shifts are beyond one’s control.