What is the summary of "Button, Button" by Richard Matheson?


Quick Answer

"Button, Button" is a short story about a husband and wife, Norma and Aurthur Lewis, who are offered a deal by a Mr. Steward for $50,000. If they choose to push the button someone they don't know will die, and they will receive the money.

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Full Answer

The husband and wife receive a box containing a button. Shortly after receiving the button, Mr. Steward appears at their door and offers them the deal. He makes it clear that whomever pushes the button does not have to see the unknown person die. The wife, Norma, sees it as an opportunity to make money. The husband, Arthur, views pushing the button as murder. The couple debate for a few days on whether or not to push the button.

Eventually Norma pushes the button, even though her husband views it as murder, and her husband dies in a train accident as a result. She receives a check for $50,000 for her husband's life insurance. Norma accuses Mr. Steward of lying, and he asks her if she ever really knew her husband. "Button, Button" inspired an episode of "The Twilight Zone" as well as a major motion picture called "The Box," starring Cameron Diaz and James Marsden.

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