The Five People You Meet in Heaven Study Guide

Theme Analysis

Each of the themes in the novel, Eddie learns as lessons in heaven; however, we also see these themes exemplified during Eddie’s life on earth.

There are no random acts in life - The first lesson Eddie learns in heaven is that there are no random acts in life; this is also the main theme of the novel. Eddie did not know the Blue Man when he was younger; however, a seemingly insignificant act (Eddie running in the street after his ball), turned out to be the cause of the Blue Man’s death. If Eddie’s ball had not bounced into the street, he would not have chased after it, running in front of the Blue Man’s car. The Blue Man then would have not become so anxious about nearly hitting Eddie, gotten into an accident and killed.

It is important to note that this theme is prefaced at the start of the novel during Eddie’s last act on earth. A few months prior to Eddie’s death, a young man named Nicky arrived at Ruby Pier with his friends. Nicky had just begun driving and was not comfortable carrying a key chain. He removed his single car key, put it in his jacket pocket and tied the jacket around his waist. That night he and his friends rode the amusements, including Freddy’s Free Fall. When he and his friends returned to the parking lot, he noticed that his key was missing. They key had fallen inside the base of Freddy’s Free fall and locked one of the pulleys. Because of this, the pulley had gradually ripped the cable’s wires; this caused the cart to fall and kill Eddie.

In the epilogue, we see that when Nicky returned home from the pier that night, he made a new key to replace the one he had lost and ended up selling his car a few months later. According to Nicky, he had merely lost his car key that evening it fell into Freddy’s Free Fall; however, this simple action of his caused a chain of events which brought Eddie to his death. Nicky does not even know Eddie; however, we can assume that when Nicky dies, Eddie will be one of the five people he meets in heaven.

Lives are sacrificed to save others - While in heaven Eddie learns that the Captain sacrificed his life, during the war, for the sake of Eddie and two other soldiers. As they were escaping in a vehicle, they came across a suspicious area. The Captain got out of the vehicle to inspect the land and ended up getting killed by stepping on a land mine. Had the Captain not been willing to get out and survey the land himself, all four would have driven over the land mine and been killed.

This theme is also touched on at the start of the story, during Eddie’s last act on earth. As the cart is falling, Eddie drops his cane and lunges toward a little girl, to get her out of the way of the falling cart. During his journey through heaven, he wonders if he was successful in saving the little girl. At the end of the novel Tala tells Eddie that he did end up saving her life; Eddie sacrificed his life to save the life of the young girl.

Forgiveness and Letting go of Anger & The Power of Love - Although these are two different themes, they coincided during a specific incident in Eddie’s life. During WWII Eddie harbored a lot of anger and frustration, especially since he was taken captive as a prisoner of war. He despised his captors and ended up killing them, along with the other soldiers, to escape the camp. When Eddie and the other soldiers were leaving, they decided to set fire to the camp as a way of revenge to their captors. When Eddie thought he saw a small child crawling in the fire, he could not stand the thought of another innocent life being taken as a consequence of war. Whatever love and compassion Eddie had left inside him drove him into the burning hut after the child. Because of the power of love, Eddie suddenly let go of all the anger and hatred he held toward his captors and ran into the burning hut after the innocent child. He voluntarily searched the hut he had once risked his life to escape, now risking his own life to try and save another.

Cite this page:

Radisch, Sharon. "TheBestNotes on The Five People You Meet in Heaven". . 20 February 2015