The Five People You Meet in Heaven Study Guide

Character Analysis

Ruby - When Eddie meets Ruby, in heaven, she is elderly; however when Ruby was younger, she worked as a waitress at a diner in Eddie’s town. Ruby met her husband, Emile, in the diner when he came in as a customer. When he proposed marriage to Ruby, they were sitting in the sand watching the ocean. Emile said that he wanted to build Ruby a seaside resort to capture the happiness of that moment and so they could stay eternally young. Emile later built the park and named it Ruby Pier, after Ruby.

One day the pier caught on fire and Emile went to the site to try and salvage his years of hard work. Emile was throwing buckets of water on the fire when a column collapsed, injuring him. The pier was ruined and they ended up losing all of their fortune. Because of Emile’s injury and depression, he was unable to walk for about three years. Ruby and Emile moved far away from the pier, partly so she could care for her husband, and partly to get away from the pier. In one night their lives changed and from then on Ruby wished that the pier had never been built.


Ruby also tells Eddie how his father died. She shows him the scene where he saves Mickey Shea from drowning in the ocean. She then explains to Eddie that Emile had been in the hospital bed next to his father; Ruby had seen Eddie before and she also saw his father calling out the window for Eddie and his family the night of his death. Eddie never knew exactly how his father died and he never suspected that he risked his life for the loyalty of his friendship. Ruby allowed Eddie to see this and she teaches him to let go of anger and forgive his father.

Marguerite - Marguerite was the love of Eddie’s life; when he was young he met her at the pier and she then continued to be the happiness in Eddie’s life. Marguerite was always there for Eddie and never stopped providing him with unconditional love. Before Eddie left for war Marguerite said she would wait for him to come back. When he returned injured and depressed, Marguerite still stayed with Eddie and married him.

During several flashbacks to Eddie’s earlier birthdays, we see that Marguerite always had a celebration for him. It seems that Eddie loved everything Marguerite would do for him, but he never told her how much he appreciated her. We see how sad Eddie is after Marguerite’s death, especially on his birthday.

In heaven Marguerite teaches Eddie about the power and endurance of love. Marguerite tells Eddie that even after she died, her love for him did not disappear; she had always loved him and would continue to forever. Eddie learned from Marguerite that although life ends, love does not; at the end of the story he is reunited with her.

Tala - When Eddie set the prisoner of war camp on fire, during the war, he was sure he saw an innocent child crawling around in the fire. For the rest of his life he had nightmares and that thought haunted him. It seemed as though he knew, in his heart, that he had killed a child, but his question was never answered.

When Eddie meets Tala, she tells him that he burned her. Eddie now realizes that there was a child in that fire and it was Tala. Most of Eddie’s doubts and questions that had put a strain on his life were answered by Tala: it was she who he killed in the fire during the war; he did save the little girl from the falling amusement at the pier, right before he died; and also that he was meant to work at Ruby Pier. She teaches Eddie that his life did have a purpose, which was to keep the children safe at the pier.

Cite this page:

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