1. “No story sits by itself. Sometimes stories meet at corners and sometimes they cover one another
completely, like stones beneath a river” (10) - Narrator
The narrator is referring to the major theme of the novel. He uses this quote to tell how the key became locked in the base of Freddy’s Free Fall which lead to Eddie’s death a few months later. The major theme of the novel is that there are no random acts in life and that all lives and stories intertwine in some way. Eddie then learns, in his first lesson, his actions ended up killing the Blue Man. We find it ironic that Eddie was killed in such a way as well.
2. “This is the greatest gift God can give you: to understand what happened in your life. To have it
explained. It is the peace you have been searching for” (35) - Blue Man
The Blue Man is the first person Eddie meets in heaven; he is thus introducing that Eddie will meet five people in heaven who will help give meaning and an understanding to his life on earth. We see through flashbacks, in the story, that Eddie suffered much pain and misconstrued events throughout his life on earth. As the events unfold we see that throughout his life Eddie was searching for some kind of peace within himself, which he never seemed to find. Eddie does not find this peace until he meets Tala, the fifth person in heaven. She is able to finally give Eddie the peace he has been searching for.
3. “Sometimes when you sacrifice something precious, you’re not really losing it. You’re just passing it on
to someone else” (94) - the Captain
In his second lesson, Eddie learns about the nature of sacrifice. Here the Captain explains that from his death, he passed life on to Eddie and the other soldiers that would have died, had they driven over the land mine. The Captain wants Eddie to see that by his death, both he and Eddie gained something: the Captain kept his promise of not leaving Eddie behind, and Eddie gained the remainder of his life. In a way the Captain passed his life on to Eddie.
4. “Life has to end. Love doesn’t” (173) - Marguerite
This quote summarizes the fourth lesson. Marguerite teaches Eddie that lost love does not end; it merely takes a different form. Eddie said he felt angry with Marguerite for leaving him so young; however he still felt in love with her after her death. Marguerite could feel Eddie’s love and her love for him did not end when her life did.
5. “Holding anger is a poison. It eats you from inside. … hatred is a curved blade. And the harm we do, we
do to ourselves.” (141) - Ruby
Here, Ruby is trying to teach Eddie that he must let go of the anger he harbors for his father. Ruby tells Eddie that no one is born with anger; then when we die the soul needs to free itself of it. This quote gives insight to one of the reasons why Eddie was so miserable on earth: he lived his life holding so much anger and hatred for his father that he, in turn, cast hatred upon himself and lived his life sad and frustrated (result of the “curved blade” (141)).
6. “It’s fixed.” (144) - Eddie
Eddie said this quote to make peace with his father. It is important to realize the significance of this quote which was referenced earlier in the story as well.
When Eddie was in junior high he worked with his father, doing maintenance. His father would always test him with maintenance problems and say, “Fix it” (107). After Eddie solved the maintenance problem he would tell his father, “It’s fixed” (107). Eddie only felt a slight sense of approval from his father after he fixed a
In heaven, once Eddie realizes that he has to let go of the anger he holds against his father, he tells his father, “It’s fixed” (144). Although, Eddie’s father cannot reply to him, we can assume that peace has finally been made between Eddie and his father. Since Eddie’s father was only happy with him after he had fixed something, as noted above, we can assume that Eddie’s father accepts Eddie’s apology.