The Five People You Meet in Heaven

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The Five People You Meet in Heaven Chapter 27 Summary & Analysis

It is Eddie’s thirty-eighth birthday, and he is in the maintenance shop with his brother, Joe, who has a new job as a salesman, making good money. Eddie is rife with jealousy. Marguerite is working at the ticket booth now, and she comes in looking for Eddie. As always, he notices how beautiful she is. But he also feels embarrassed for Joe to see her working at the park. Marguerite insists Eddie come out, and when he does, a group of children are ready with cake and candles, shouting “Happy Birthday.” Eddie is saddened to see how happy Marguerite is with children, given that she is infertile. He thinks of how she is researching adoption options, and of how optimistic she remains. As he blows out the candles with the kids, Marguerite takes a polaroid. The whole time, Eddie thinks only about her.
Eddie’s shame that Marguerite has to work in the park betrays a gender norm of the era—a woman working is a sign of her husband’s failure, rather than her own independence. Eddie and Marguerite look at the same situations with a completely opposite perspective: while Eddie feels heavy with sadness about Marguerite’s work, his work, and their failure to have children, Marguerite stays light in her demeanor and outlook. Eddie’s love for her is the only thing that brings him joy, and yet even love feels heavy because it reminds Eddie of all the unfulfilled wishes he has for Marguerite.
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