Themes and message



The main theme of the short story “Button, Button” by Richard Matheson is the theme of morals

The story explores this theme by looking at the main character, Norma in contrast with her husband, Arthur. When Mr. Stewart tells the couple about the button, Arthur is horrified and enraged and does not wish to discuss the button further. Norma, however, is intrigued and tempted. Their conversation reveals their personal morals: 

‘What would you like to do? Get the button back and push it? Murder someone?’

Norma looked disgusted. ‘Murder.’

‘How would you define it?’

‘If you don’t even know the person?’ Norma said. (ll. 96-100)

This exchange reveals that Arthur is concerned about the death of another person and would not consider pushing the button under any circumstance. He sees it as murder, which he seems to believe is inexcusable under all circumstances. Norma, however, is tempted by the money and suggests all the things they could do ...

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