The Five People You Meet in Heaven

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God Character Analysis

God is only mentioned in four instances in the book. The first is when the Blue Man tells Eddie that the Five People in heaven are a gift from God to understand one’s life on earth. The second is in reference to Eddie praying during the war, and ceasing to pray after Rabozzo is killed. The third when Eddie asks Marguerite if God knows he is in heaven, and Marguerite tells him, “of course.” Finally, at the end of the novel, when Eddie travels peacefully through the sky to a Ferris wheel where Marguerite awaits him, he hears God saying, “Home.” Though not directly mentioned through most of the novel, God’s existence is implied in the design of heaven’s colors and various rules. Tala’s lesson that Eddie was “supposed to be there” at Ruby Pier also implies that God takes an active role in giving people opportunities for redemption.

God Quotes in The Five People You Meet in Heaven

The The Five People You Meet in Heaven quotes below are all either spoken by God or refer to God. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Redemption and Forgiveness Theme Icon
). Note: all page and citation info for the quotes below refers to the Hachette Books edition of The Five People You Meet in Heaven published in 2006.
Chapter 6 Quotes

People think of heaven as a paradise garden, a place where they can float on clouds and laze in rivers and mountains. But scenery without solace is meaningless. This is the greatest gift God can give you: to understand what happened in your life.

Related Characters: The Blue Man (speaker), Eddie, God
Page Number: 35
Explanation and Analysis:

In this passage, Eddie has arrived in Heaven, but he's surprised to find that Heaven looks more or less like Ruby Pier, the place Eddie's just come from. Furthermore, Eddie finds himself talking to a figure he knew well when he (Eddie) was just a kid--the Blue Man, a carnival "freak." The Blue Man is the first person Eddie will meet in Heaven; as such, he gives Eddie some of the most basic lessons about Heaven. Here, he essentially explains what Heaven is "for."

The Blue Man suggests that the purpose of Eddie's time in Heaven is at first to do work, not just savor everlasting pleasure. Eddie must come to terms with his own life, understanding what he's accomplished during his time on the Earth. The notion that people who enter Heaven have to think on their lives--i.e., do some mental and emotional work--is surprising. And yet, the very fact that Eddie is in Heaven as he thinks back on his existence suggests that his contemplation will eventually bring him joy.


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Chapter 16 Quotes

Adam’s first night on earth? (…) He doesn’t know what sleep is. His eyes are closing and he thinks he’s leaving this world, right? Only he isn’t. He wakes up the next morning and he has a fresh new world to work with. But he has something else, too. He has his yesterday (…) That’s what heaven is. You get to make sense of your yesterdays.

Related Characters: The Captain (speaker), Eddie, God
Page Number: 92
Explanation and Analysis:

In this passage, Eddie continues talking to the Captain, with whom Eddie served in World War II. The Captain gives Eddie an interesting parable to illustrate a point: when Adam (the first human, according to the Bible) went to sleep after the first day of his life, he must have thought the world was ending forever. And yet the world didn't end--he woke up again and got to live longer. By the same token, human beings like to believe that life ends with death; instead, life continues in a different form. The beauty of Heaven, we've come to see, is that it gives people the benefit of hindsight: it allows people to look back on their lives and learn from their mistakes and experiences.

Chapter 30 Quotes

…Eddie admitted that some of his life he’d spent hiding from God, and the rest of the time he thought he went unnoticed.

Related Characters: Narrator (speaker), Eddie, God
Page Number: 171
Explanation and Analysis:

In this passage, the novel becomes overtly religious (God) without ever mentioning a specific religion. Eddie and Marguerite stroll through Heaven, savoring each other's company. Eddie asks Marguerite if God is watching him, and Marguerite says that he is. Eddie comes to realize that he's spent his life denying God or trying to avoid God.

The passage suggests that Eddie is coming around to the religious point of view that the novel puts forth--a point of view that revolves around the connections between all human beings. The fact that Eddie feels comfortable accepting the absence of God during his life on the Earth suggests that he's finally ready to embrace God in his life in Heaven.

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God Character Timeline in The Five People You Meet in Heaven

The timeline below shows where the character God appears in The Five People You Meet in Heaven. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 30
The Connection Between All Humans Theme Icon
The Cycle of Life and Death Theme Icon
The Value in Ordinary Life Theme Icon
Time Theme Icon
...himself to talk about it. They lay together, not sleeping, and Eddie asks Marguerite if God knows he is there. She tells him he does, and Eddie realizes how much of... (full context)
Chapter 35
Redemption and Forgiveness Theme Icon
The Connection Between All Humans Theme Icon
The Cycle of Life and Death Theme Icon
The Value in Ordinary Life Theme Icon
...Ferris wheel, where Marguerite is sitting and waiting for him. Eddie hears the voice of God say: “Home.” (full context)