The Five People You Meet in Heaven Summary from LitCharts | The creators of SparkNotes
Have you read The Five People You Meet in Heaven by Mitch Albom? I read it a number of years ago. It is a touching story that stays with me. The Five People You Meet in Heaven study guide contains a biography of Mitch Albom, literature essays, quiz questions, major themes. I've already read "The Five People You Meet in Heaven" which was written by five people separately waiting for Eddie's arrival; each of them had a life lesson.
There is a reason why contemplation, reflection and awareness are emphasized in this circle. That reason is because of the impact we create because of our actions in our community. The blue man taught Eddie something. He taught him to look twice, to contemplate, to reflect, to be aware of how we are all connected.
The lesson is embedded in the idea of crossing over because once you cross over to another you can begin to feel compassion because compassion is a result of connections. The captain died so he can save the life of the rest of the soldiers. Because he stepped on the landmine, the rest of them lived and went to impact other lives.
Because of his leg, he stayed at Ruby Pier and because of his work at Ruby pier he saved the life of a child. We all make little sacrifices everywhere. As we forgo those little things they go on to others and make a big difference in their lives. The most precious resource in life is time, time is non-renewable; it costs more than money. Even if we cannot give anything else we should take time to care for those in our life.
The many great people that have made connection with us only did so through their sacrifices. Our parents, our teachers and our friends have given us one thing or another that might be useful to them but gave it up to make us better. Forgiveness letting go of anger picture by edyoung. When his father appears to not be able to see or hear him, a well-dressed woman named Ruby appears and introduces herself to him.
He assumes she must have been rich based on the manner of her clothing. She tells him that she has not always been this way and proceeds to explain to Eddie her story. Ruby tells Eddie that she had once worked as a waitress at the diner and explains that Ruby Pier was named after her by her husband Emile, who built it in tribute to her.
Emile was wounded while fighting a fire that burned much of Ruby Pier and later died from pneumonia. Ruby confesses that she picked the diner because that was where she had met Emile and wanted the diner to be a refuge for anyone who had ever been hurt in any way by Ruby Pier, which she grew to despise as it took so much away from them. This is the reason that Eddie's father, a harsh and abusive man, became a part of Ruby's Heaven.
Ruby teaches Eddie to release his anger and forgive his father for all the trouble and hurt he had caused, only after she showed him the true cause of his father's death different from what he had always believed had happened. Mickey Shea, a man who worked on rides at Ruby Pier with Eddie's father, was at Eddie's house drunk and in a terrible emotional state. He pulls out a flask, downs it, and then proceeds to try and force himself onto Eddie's mother.
Eddie's father walks in at this point and manages to stop the drink fueled rape, then chases Mickey all the way to the pier, where Mickey jumps into the freezing water as an attempt to evade him, even though unable to swim.
Eddie's father jumps in after Mickey and saves him instead as they had long been friends and he felt he owed him despite his recent drunken behavior towards his wife. Eddie's father later dies after falling ill due to being in the freezing water when he rescued Mickey.
Ruby tells Eddie that he needs to forgive his father and tells him that hatred was a deadly weapon, "We think it attacks the person we hate, but hatred has a curved blade, it also attacks us". Then Eddie moves on to another heaven. Eddie now awakens in a room with several doors. Behind each of the doors there is a wedding from a different culture and Eddie meets his late wife, Marguerite, in one of the weddings.
They spend an extended period together, moving from one wedding to the next and catching up on all the things they had not been able to share since Marguerite's death. They remember their own wedding, and in the end, Marguerite teaches Eddie that love is never lost in death, it just moves on and takes a different form.War Stays With a Person - The Five People You Meet in Heaven
He begs her forgiveness for never making more of his life, never leaving his job at the pier, and for not giving her a better life she so richly deserved. However she answers that she loved the fairground and their life on the pier, and the only thing she regretted was them not being able to have any children.
He replies that all he would've changed is to have had even more time together with her, for it not to have been cut short like it was by her early death. Marguerite's love for weddings comes from the look in all the brides and grooms' eyes right before the ceremony; the shared feeling that their love will without a doubt break all the records. Marguerite asks Eddie at one point if he believed they had that; he simply replied, "We had an accordion player", to which they both laugh.
Eddie and Marguerite's wedding was on the rented top floor of a Chinese restaurant and was very low-budget, but the couple hold nothing but fond memories of the occasion - in Eddie's house, Dominguez finds a case of sentimental objects, including a restaurant menu from their wedding night. When Eddie awakens to a new scene, his fifth and last, he sees children playing along a riverbed and a young Filipina girl named Tala waves and comes up to him.
They attempt to understand each other, but finally Tala manages to communicate and reveal that she was the little girl from the hut that Eddie set on fire. And Eddie finally realizes that shadow he had seen all those years ago in the burning hut, and in his nightmares for most of his life afterwards, was indeed not imagined - the little girl had been that shadow attempting to flee the flames. The girl shows Eddie the burns that she suffered when dying from the fire, as her previously clear skin turns to burnt flesh and scars.
Eddie is absolutely distraught and breaks down, both cursing and asking God "why?
The little girl walks into the river and hands him a stone and asks him to "wash" her like the other children in the river are doing to one another. Eddie is puzzled, tells her he doesn't know how, but then slowly attempts to do as she asks. He dips the stone in the water and starts to scrape off the injuries he had inflicted on her; and soon to his surprise Tala's wounds begin to clear until she is freed of all the scars.
Eddie then asks Tala if she knows if he was able to save the little girl he attempted to save before his death. He tells her he fears that he failed to save her and he remembers feeling the little girl's hands in his just before his death.
But Tala tells him he did indeed manage to save her, he had actually pushed her out of the way, and then reveals that it was her Tala's hands that Eddie had felt instead as she pulled him safely up to Heaven. So in reality, Eddie did manage to save the girl at Ruby Pier. Tala teaches Eddie that his life was not for nothing and that its purpose was to protect all the many children at Ruby Pier through his care for the safety of the rides.
In this way, Tala explains, he also managed to atone every day for her unnecessary death. He is shown a vision of all the many people he saved along the years by his maintenance work, and consequently all their children's children down the generations.
For he wants everyone to be free of accidents, everyone safe. He is once again told that every life touches another and that everything is connected, it is all one big life. He is also one of the five people to be met by the girl whose life he saved when she dies Characters and their characterizations[ edit ] Eddie: The protagonist and main character around who the story centers; at the start of the story, he is killed on his 83rd birthday.
When he awakes in heaven, he is taken on a journey to meet five people whose lives intertwined with his in many ways which he never expected. As an adult he wanted to work as an engineer. Eddie would always remember "her waving over her shoulder, her dark hair falling over one eye. Joseph's skin had been turned blue when he was a boy because of repeated ingestion of silver nitratethought to be an effective medication at the time. He had been given this medication to cure his "nervousness" and bed-wetting at a late age, and Joseph simply attributed all the side effects to not ingesting enough.
Handicapped by this disfigurement, Joseph eventually made a life for himself at Ruby Pier. Joseph is a "middle-aged man with narrow, stooped shoulders, naked from the waist up. His belly sagged over his belt. His hair was closely cropped.
His lips were thin and his face was long and drawn. Eddie's commanding officer at war. He has a "full head of dark hair" and looked to be "only in his 30s.
A woman for whom Ruby Pier is named by her fiance Emile. Ruby's face was "gaunt, with sagging cheeks, rose-colored lipstick, and tightly pulled-back white hair.
Learning Fragments: The Five People You Meet in Heaven
Ruby's husband, who also created the original Ruby Pier. He wore "a chalk-stripe suit and a derby hat. Eddie's mother was known for her tenderness" towards Eddie and his brother Joe. He abused Eddie his entire life. He smoked cigars  and was a card player. He is a family friend.
He worked with Eddie's father "fixing rides at Ruby Pier.