The Five People You Meet in Heaven Study Guide

Chapter 1: The End

This chapter describes the last hour of Eddie’s life. Eddie walks around Ruby Pier, where he works, and goes about his normal day-today business: he rode the Ghoster Coaster to assure that its brakes and steering were solid, talked with Dominguez in the shop, chased teenagers off the railing, and made an animal for a little girl out of pipe cleaners.

Eddie was daydreaming when an unfamiliar voice alerted him; a woman had brought to his attention that one of the carts was tilted on Freddy’s Free Fall and people were clinging on to keep from falling out. Eddie tells Dominguez to go up the ladder and tell the ride operator, Willy, to release the safety restraint so he can get the passengers out.


As Dominguez was getting the passengers out, Eddie noticed that the cart’s cable was unraveling. Eddie yelled for Willy not to release the cart but no one heard him. The carts began falling and one killed Eddie.

The end of the chapter recalls the day Eddie was born; it is the 1920’s and his father was in the hospital waiting room with the other fathers-to-be. The nurse leads Eddie's father to the nursery to see Eddie.

Notes

The first chapter is entitled “The End”; this is because the book is beginning with the end of Eddie’s life. In the first chapter we learn a little bit about Eddie: his job, personality, and his past.

Eddie is a maintenance man at Ruby Pier, which is an amusement park; his main job is to keep the rides safe. He checks every attraction, test rides the amusements, and looks for broken boards, loose bolts and worn-out steel.

We also learn that Ruby Pier is where Eddie met his love, Marguerite. It can be inferred that this took place in the late 1940’s. Eddie remembers how he and Marguerite danced and how he bought her a lemon fizz.

The narrator recalls a story that happened a few months before Eddie’s death, about a man named Nicky and his three friends. Nicky had just begun driving and was uncomfortable carrying a key chain; therefore he removed his car key and stuck it in his coat pocket. Nicky and his friends went on the rides and drank beer from brown paper bags. At the end of the night Nicky’s key was missing. At the end of the chapter we learn that this key was the cause of the accident in Freddy’s Free Fall, which killed Eddie.

It is also ironic, that the day of his death, was his 83rd birthday. As the story progresses we see that many important events took place on Eddie’s birthdays.

It should also be noted that right before Eddie died, he felt himself holding the hands of the little girl, for who he had made the pipe cleaner animal. At the end of this chapter we are not sure if Eddie had saved the little girl, or if she too, was killed from the falling cart.

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Radisch, Sharon. "TheBestNotes on The Five People You Meet in Heaven". TheBestNotes.com. . 09 May 2017
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