Button, Button


This study guide will help you analyze the short story “Button, Button” by Richard Matheson. You can also find a summary of the text, as well as inspiration for interpreting it and putting it into perspective

Presentation of the text

Title: “Button, Button” (1970)
Author: Richard Matheson
Genre: Short story

Richard Matheson (1926-2013) was an American author and screenwriter. His work is part of the fantasy, horror, and science fiction genres. His most popular novel, I am Legend (1954), has been adapted for the screen three times. Matheson was also a screenwriter for the TV show The Twilight Zone. His short story “Button, Button” was adapted as an episode of the TV show. 


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The main symbol in the story is the button. Mr. Stewart tells Norma that if she presses the button, she will receive a large sum of money, but someone in the world will die as a result. While Arthur immediately condemns the idea, Norma is intrigued and tries to justify why pushing the button might be the right thing to do. In this way, the button represents temptation and human greed.

After she pushes the button, Norma finds out Arthur died and realizes she will receive Arthur’s life insurance policy, which amounts to exactly $50,000. This...

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Button, Button

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