The Theme and Message of Big White, Essay Example

The author succeeds in conveying his theme/message. The white vending machine is meant to symbolize the inconsistency in life; just as the author figures out the vending machine’s system to retrieve the kind of beverage he wants, rather than a random drink due to faulty programming, the machine runs out of the drink he desires. He becomes upset at this, and kicks the machine in his anger, only to break his foot, which is another surprise that life had for him. Finally, at the end of the short story, a vending machine sits across from him to remind him of life’s inconsistency; the purpose that this machine serves in the story is as a symbol to tell him that just because he thought he had life figured out doesn’t mean that he has all the answers.

The main literary device that the author uses is description. He opens the story by using many adjectives; he describes his mood as a “strange calm”, discusses putting money into the vending machine initially as “the coin clunked into the register”, and calls the machine “large and clean and defiant”. When he talks of the white vending machine, he uses personification by giving it human qualities. This personification is repeated when the author travels to the hospital and it “taunted” him by saying “Make Another Selection”. This is an example of personification mainly because a machine is unable to actually accomplish the act of taunting, while it is able to display this message on its screen.