“The Roger Buttons held an enviable position, both social and financial, in antebellum Baltimore. They were related to the This Family and the That Family, which, as every Southerner knew, entitled them to membership in that enormous peerage which largely populated the Confederacy. … He hoped it would be a boy so that he could be sent to Yale College in Connecticut …” 

This quote comes at the very beginning of the story on the morning of Benjamin’s birth. The information presented here shows that Roger Button is a member of the elite and heavily invested in his position. It also indicates how woefully unprepared Roger Button is to have a son like Benjamin. As a member of high society, with a reputation to uphold, Roger Button is a conformist for whom a son like Benjamin is the worst-case scenario.

“His father looked at him with illusory speculation. ‘Oh, I’m not so sure of that,’ he said. ‘I was as big as you when I was twelve.’

This was not true—it was all part of Roger Button’s silent agreement with himself to believe in his son’s normality.”

This quote occurs in Part 3, just after Benjamin has stated he is now grown and wants to wear long trousers. Roger Button’s obstinate refusal to treat Benjamin as he actually is comes from his conformist desire to appear “normal.” In a feat of incredible cognitive dissonance, Roger Button appears to know full well that Benjamin is grown and should be able to wear pants, but he cannot abide the truth. He thus insists on playing out the farce and subsequently bargains with Benjamin in order to save his reputation in the face of his strange reality.