Learning Fragments: The Five People You Meet in Heaven
Oct 6, While “The Next Person You Meet in Heaven” has potential to do big business, the best-selling author says his reason for writing it is personal. This quote comes from the opening chapter of The Five People You Meet in Heaven, during which the narrator is counting down the remaining. quotes from The Five People You Meet in Heaven: 'All endings are also beginnings. We just don't know it at the time.'.
No truism undergoes examination; instead, Albom engineers a simulacrum of reality in which each tragedy has an equal and opposite silver lining, and in which life is lived in heroic gestures.
Accordingly, The Next Person offers a world of jarring extremes, sketched out in workmanlike, thudding prose. They evoke a real sensation, or at least they did the first time. The only creativity he indulges in, otherwise, are the baroque ways in which his insipid characters end up meeting five people in heaven. He entered the field because he underwent the first successful limb reattachment himself when, as a boy, his arm was ripped off by a train.
What a convenient moral lesson it would be, though, if the young boy who benefited from that first surgery had paid it forward in such a literal fashion! She reconnects with someone who proves once and for all that dogs do go to heaven. And of course, she meets with Eddie. Albom seems sincere in hammering home that each life matters, that earning potential, and race and class do not.
His books argue, again and again, that each life is interconnected and that we must help and be open to each other. And yet, his People You Meet in Heaven books suggest that some victims are necessary props for the moral betterment of others. The most stomach-churning chapter of The Five People You Meet in Heaven features Eddie meeting Tala, a little Filipino girl who died when he, escaping from military captors, set a hut on fire. She offers him absolution, telling him that he died saving Annie and that his maintenance work kept many other children safe through the years.
Her suffering made him better. It's something to aspire to. Eddie wasn't aware that their captain died during the war. While they were trying to escape the mine and Eddie was unconscious due to the bullet shot in his leg, the captain accidentally stepped on a landmine.
When Eddie was released from the hospital, he just wanted to forget about what happened and didn't get in touch with his fellow war veterans. The captain taught Eddie that sacrifice is a part of life and that the beauty of sacrifice is the act itself.
You're just passing it on to someone else. It cannot be helped. Youth, like pristine glass, absorbs the prints of its handlers. Some parents smudge, others crack, a few shatter childhoods completely into jagged little pieces, beyond repair. They've never met on Earth but Ruby witnessed the last moments of Eddie's father in the hospital because her husband and Eddie's father were in the same room.
The lesson that Ruby shared is my personal favorite. It was about forgiveness. It eats you from inside. We think that by hating someone we hurt them but hatred is a curved blade and the harm we do to others, we also do to ourselves. He was mad at his father because of the way he treated Eddie when he was a child. Eddie wanted attention and affection but his father has another way of expressing them, not the form that Eddie wanted.
The hatred he feels for his father is also making his heart feel heavier and so he was unhappy. Realizing this, Eddie allowed himself to be freed from hatred and finally forgave his father for all the hurt he caused him. Forgiveness doesn't come easy. It should be a conscious decision to let go of the hurt and accept the person who wronged us.
Although forgiveness takes time, the ability to give it is a precious gift. When we forgive others, we free ourselves from the burden brought by grudges and allow love to lead our lives. But love takes many forms and it is never the same for any man and woman. She died of brain tumor.
Eddie never completely accepted her death and even after she died, Eddie loved no other woman but her. Marguerite taught Eddie that love is eternal and even if people dear to you died, you continuously love them.
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It takes a different form, that's all. You can't see their smile or bring them food or tousle their hair or move them around a dance floor. But when those sense weaken, another heightens. He replies that all he would've changed is to have had even more time together with her, for it not to have been cut short like it was by her early death. Marguerite's love for weddings comes from the look in all the brides and grooms' eyes right before the ceremony; the shared feeling that their love will without a doubt break all the records.
Marguerite asks Eddie at one point if he believed they had that; he simply replied, "We had an accordion player", to which they both laugh.
Eddie and Marguerite's wedding was on the rented top floor of a Chinese restaurant and was very low-budget, but the couple holds nothing but fond memories of the occasion - in Eddie's house, Dominguez finds a case of sentimental objects, including a restaurant menu from their wedding night.
When Eddie awakens to a new scene, his fifth and last, he sees children playing along with a riverbed and a young Filipina girl named Tala waves and comes up to him. They attempt to understand each other, but finally, Tala manages to communicate and reveal that she was the little girl from the hut that Eddie set on fire.
And Eddie finally realizes that shadow he had seen all those years ago in the burning hut, and in his nightmares for most of his life afterward, was indeed not imagined - the little girl had been that shadow attempting to flee the flames.
The girl shows Eddie the burns that she suffered when dying from the fire, as her previously clear skin turns to burnt flesh and scars.
Eddie is absolutely distraught and breaks down both cursing and asking God "why? The little girl walks into the river and hands him a stone and asks him to "wash" her like the other children in the river are doing to one another.
Eddie is puzzled, tells her he doesn't know how, but then slowly attempts to do as she asks. He dips the stone in the water and starts to scrape off the injuries he had inflicted on her; and soon to his surprise, Tala's wounds begin to clear until she is freed of all the scars. Eddie then asks Tala if she knows if he was able to save the little girl he attempted to save before his death. He tells her he fears that he failed to save her and he remembers feeling the little girl's hands in his just before his death.
But Tala tells him he did indeed manage to save her, he had actually pushed her out of the way and then reveals that it was her Tala's hands that Eddie had felt instead as she pulled him safely up to Heaven. So in reality, Eddie did manage to save the girl at Ruby Pier. Tala teaches Eddie that his life was not for nothing and that its purpose was to protect all the many children at Ruby Pier through his care for the safety of the rides.
In this way, Tala explains, he also managed to atone every day for her unnecessary death. He is shown a vision of all the many people he saved along the years by his maintenance work, and consequently all their children's children down the generations.
Five People You Meet in Heaven Movie Quotes
For he wants everyone to be free of accidents, everyone safe. He is once again told that every life touches another and that everything is connected, it is all one big life.
He is also one of the five people to be met by the girl whose life he saved when she dies Characters and their characterizations[ edit ] Eddie: The protagonist and main character around who the story centers; at the start of the story, he is killed on his 83rd birthday.
When he awakes in heaven, he is taken on a journey to meet five people whose lives intertwined with his in many ways which he never expected. As an adult he wanted to work as an engineer. Eddie would always remember "her waving over her shoulder, her dark hair falling over one eye. Joseph's skin had been turned blue when he was a boy because of repeated ingestion of silver nitratethought to be an effective medication at the time.
He had been given this medication to cure his "nervousness" and bed-wetting at a late age, and Joseph simply attributed all the side effects to not ingesting enough.
The Next Person You Meet in Heaven Quotes
Handicapped by this disfigurement, Joseph eventually made a life for himself at Ruby Pier. Joseph is a "middle-aged man with narrow, stooped shoulders, naked from the waist up.
His belly sagged over his belt.
His hair was closely cropped. His lips were thin and his face was long and drawn. Eddie's commanding officer at war. He has a "full head of dark hair" and looked to be "only in his 30s. A woman for whom Ruby Pier is named by her fiance Emile.
Ruby's face was "gaunt, with sagging cheeks, rose-colored lipstick, and tightly pulled-back white hair. Ruby's husband, who also created the original Ruby Pier. He wore "a chalk-stripe suit and a derby hat. Eddie's mother was known for her tenderness" towards Eddie and his brother Joe. He abused Eddie his entire life. He smoked cigars  and was a card player. He is a family friend.