Button Button Short Story Discussion Questions Answers

Button Button by Richard Matheson Questions

Q1.Why did Norma consider the tone and attitude of Mr. Steward offensive?

Ans. Norma considered Mr. Steward’s tone and attitude offensive because when Norma paid no attention and said that she was rather busy, Mr. Steward became furious. He then said, “It would prove very valuable, Monetarily.

Q2. Why did Arthur disagree with his wife?

Ans. Arthur opposed his wife’s idea/ scheme and he considered it assassination to get someone killed, which would be a crime against humanity. He tried to convince her time and again but she was not ready to yield due to her greed.

Q3. Why did Norma persuade her husband to agree with her?

Ans. Norma persuaded her husband to accept the offer of fifty thousand dollars solely because she saw the possibility of taking trip to Europe, a chance to buy a cottage on the Island and an opportunity to have a nicer apartment, nicer furniture, nicer clothes, a car etc.

Q4. What were the reasons Norma gave to her husband to accept the offer?

Ans. She gave the following reasons for accepting the offer:-

  1. Some eccentric millionaire might be playing the games with people.
  2. An international organization probably doing it for a research project and they wanted to know what average people would do under such a circumstance.
  3. That the concerned group was just saying someone would die so that its member would study reactions i.e. If there would be guilt or anxiety.

Q5. Why did Mr. Steward continue persuading Norma?

Ans. When Mr. Steward observed that Arthur was not yielding to his offer, he began persuading Norma because she had a weak character and had shown keen interest in the offer.

Q6. What was the message Norma received on pushing the button?

Ans. After she pushed the button, she received the tragic news of her husband’s death in a subway accident as he was pushed by the shoving crowed from the platform in front of the train.

Q7. What is the significance of Arthur’s life insurance policy?

Ans. Ironically, Arthur’s life insurance policy for $25,000 dollar, with double indemnity (compensation) in case of sudden/ accidental death was equal to the money ($50,000) that she desired to get from the offer given by Mr. Steward. In other words, she had to pay a very high cost for the execution of her desire.

Q8. Did Norma remain normal on hearing the news of the accident of her husband?

Ans. On hearing the news of her husband’s accident/death, her whole existence shook with this unbearable loss and she started reacting hysterically, she was extremely distressed and her life lost its significance.

Q9. Why didn’t Norma remain true to her husband?

Ans. Norma has been presented as a woman of frail soul and character. She belongs to a working class with a passionate desire to uplift the standard of living, in no time. She desires to visit the fascinating sites /places all over Europe and to have a cottage on an island. The button device acts as a possible scheme of getting rich, which results in an unbearable loss and everlasting misery i.e. i.e. the death of her husband. Mr. Steward rightly says that she did not know her own husband and failed to understand him. She conflicted herself between materialism and morality i.e. money and her husband. Though she got her desire fulfilled, but she had to wear a golden sorrow.

Q10. Do you agree with Norma’s assertion that the death of someone you have never seen is not important?

Ans. Murder or killing anyone, belonging to any land or religion, is a great crime against humanity. Murder of a single person is the murder of whole humanity. It is a cruel concept that the death of an unknown person is not important to us. Norma advocates the idea of radical prosperity. She has blinded herself in the greed of $ 50,000. Mr. Steward incites her to use the button device as a short cut to wealth and prosperity. Ironically, she gets the insurance money as reward but at the cost of unbearable loss.

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