The Five People You Meet in Heaven Study Guide

Chapter 8: The Third Lesson

The Captain tells Eddie his second lesson. Eddie begins to understand the Captain's meaning of "sacrifice" (93) and forgives the Captain for shooting him. After Eddie shakes the Captain's hand, the war grounds turn into lush green scenery; the Captain also appears cleaned up and in a neat, pressed uniform. Eddie asks the Captain if he saved the little girl at the pier but the Captain does not tell him.

The chapter then takes us back to Ruby Pier, the morning after the accident. Dominguez and Willie sit in the shop wondering when Ruby Pier will open again. They sit and sit. By habit, they are waiting for Eddie to arrive.


Ruby shows Eddie a horrifying scene involving Mickey Shea, his father, and mother. Eddie learns that his father died because of loyalty. Mickey Shea was drunk and hurting Eddie's mother. His father's initial reaction was to kill Mickey; however, when Mickey fell into the ocean Eddie's father jumped in after him and saved his life. It was because of this night that Eddie's father caught the pneumonia that later killed him. Although Mickey was a drunk and touching Eddie's mother, Eddie's father knew he had to save his friend and to preserve the loyalty in their friendship.

The night that Eddie's father died, he had tried to escape out the window of the hospital room. He was leaning out the window calling for his wife, Eddie and Joe. He was found dead by the window the next morning. Ruby saw all of this because her husband, Emile, was in the hospital bed right next to Eddie's father.

Eddie's third lesson is to let go of anger and forgive his father. He finds himself back in the diner where he saw his father. He tells him that he forgives him by saying "it's fixed" (144). If we recall in the last chapter, Eddie's father would always be proud of him after he fixed a maintenance problem, returned with dirty hands and said, "It's fixed". We can therefore assume that, although it appears that Eddie's father can't hear him, he has taken Eddie's forgiveness with approval.

Cite this page:

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