Button Button

710 Words Feb 3rd, 2013 3 Pages
Analysis of:
BUTTON, BUTTON
By Richard Matheson

The short story is set in the State of New York, in NYC. It can therefore be concluded that the story takes place in an urban environment. We could by argue that the story will make us reflect over some basic human sins or human needs, such as greed, anger, disgust and denial. We are introduced to the protagonist of this story at the beginning. Her name is Norma and she is married to Arthur. It is not clear from the text how long they have been together. They have a typical husband and wife relationship where it is Norma that cooks and cleans. Despite Norma having a job, there is always a hot meal waiting for Arthur when he returns home after work. Overall they seem happy and content,
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It could be argued, that Norma is trying to justify her own greed and her selfish needs to travel or to buy a cottage. She is tempted to push the button and that is why she keeps debating it with her self and Arthur throughout the text on different occasions.
Arthur on the other hand is against the concept, and is disgusted by the notion from the start. He believes that it is murder, no matter if you know the person or not. He is not interested in discussing it with Norma. This could be because he has a fear of seeing Norma’s true face, she is trying to justify killing a human being for money, that her greed becomes too much to bare for Arthur.
The fact that Norma in the end pushes the button and that it is Arthur that dies could be a metaphor. In the sense that people might not know each other as well as we think we do. Even in close relationships as marriage. Often we do not show our worst sides even to people we love.
Another interpretation could be that Norma and Arthur symbolize the battle between good and evil we all go through. When we get the option for doing something for money we otherwise would not do. We could argue that the overall moral of this story is, don’t make a deal with the devil because he will find a way to trick you. In this case Mr. Steward represent the devil. Or like the old saying goes “If it is too good to be true, it probably is…”

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