The Five People You Meet in Heaven

By Mitch Albom

Character Analysis of Eddie

The protagonist of The Five People You Meet in Heaven, by Mitch Albom, is a "squat, white-haired old man, with a short neck, a barrel chest, thick forearms, and a faded army tattoo on his right shoulder. His legs were thin and veined now, and his left knee, wounded in the war, was ruined by arthritis" (pg.2) and his name is Eddie. Eddie works at an amusement park called Ruby Pier and his job is to maintain the rides by checking them to make sure they were safe.


Eddie is faced with various conflicts throughout his life, one of his conflicts his struggle between him and his injured leg. During the war his leg was injured by his Captain because Eddie would've died in the fire while trying to save the child. "My...leggggg! Eddie seethed. My life! I took your leg, the Captain said, quietly, 'to save your life." (pg.88) His injured leg changed his life forever, he will need to walk with a cane and work as a amusement park maintenance worker for his entire life, this was made worse when Eddie's father died and he had to take care of his mother. "All Eddie knew was that he'd awoken in a medical unit and his life was never the same. His running was over. His dancing was over. Worse, for some reason, the way he used to feel about things was over, too. He withdrew. Things seemed silly or pointless. War had crawled inside of Eddie, in his leg and in his soul. He learned many new things as a soldier. He came home as a different man." (pg.85) "When the news came that his father had died -'slipped away', a nurse told him, as if he had gone out for milk- Eddie felt the emptiest of anger, the kind that circles in its cage. Like most workingmen's sons, Eddie had envisioned for his father a heroic death to counter the commonness of his life." (pg.126-127)

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Plot Development With Literary Elements

The setting is very important in The Five People You Meet in Heaven because whenever Eddie is about to learn his next lesson from a different person the setting changes. For example when Eddie meets the Blue Man "he was still on Ruby Pier. But it was a different Ruby Pier now. There were canvas tents and vacant grassy sections and so few obstructions you could see the mossy breakwater." (pg.27) When Eddie was about to meet his Captain he had when he was in the Philippines "Eddie was surrounded now by fallen trees and blackened rubble." (pg.56) The choice of setting and the reason behind it is always different. "Because I died in battle. I was killed in these hills. I left the world having known almost nothing but war - war talk, war plans, a war family."


Eddie's characterization advanced the plot in The Five People You Meet in Heaven because Eddie changed and learned new lessons from the people he met. Eddie's whole life was ruined by his trip to the Philippines to serve for the war and his injured leg. "He withdrew. Things seemed silly or pointless. War had crawled inside of Eddie, in his leg and in his soul." (pg.85) When Eddie approached Heaven when he died he learned some important lessons. For example, the third lesson Eddie learned is forgiveness, and this lesson is important to him because Eddie must release his anger targeted to his father by forgiving him about the times we was rejected by him and kicked aside. "Learn this from me. Holding anger is a poison. It eats you from inside. We think that hating is a weapon that attacks the person who harmed us. But hatred is a curved blade. And the harm we do, we do to ourselves. Forgive, Edward. Forgive." (pg.142) Another important lesson Eddie learns is that memory keeps your loved ones close, even when they're gone. This lesson is important to Eddie because, Eddie had to live the majority of his life without Marguerite, the one person in the world he loved the most, and thinking he lost her forever when in reality she felt his love for her even in Heaven because he remembered her. "Lost love is still love, Eddie. It takes a different form, that's all. You can't see their smile or bring them food or tousle their hair or move them around a dance floor. But when those senses weaken, another heightens. Memory. Memory becomes your partner. You nurture it. You hold it. You dance with it."

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Review

The Five People You Meet in Heaven, by Mitch Albom, is a wonderful book with a few issues. The strong points of this book are the vast environments, the explanation of Eddie's past, and the lessons that were given. The book describes such beautiful and interesting settings such as Ruby Pier and the various places were the "five people" were waiting. The book's flashbacks of Eddie's past were executed thoroughly and were important to the plot and not boring to read. The lessons that were given to Eddie were also very important, insightful and should be thought of on a daily basis. the only issue with this book is that it is somewhat short and could have been a bit more longer. Overall this book is wonderful and should be read at any chance possible.
The Five People You Meet In Heaven - Trailer