After his death, Eddie travels through endlessly changing colors in between the phases of heaven. As stated directly during the final pages of the novel, Eddie discovers that these colors represent the ever-changing “emotions of his life.” No one color is more prominent than another, and they are all described in beautiful, specific language. Likewise, Eddie’s emotions are all equally important and add beauty and detail to his experiences in life. Colors also bring Eddie’s memories to life: he remembers the dark brown of Marguerite’s hair, the whiteness of the ribbons she wrapped around bags of taffy on his birthdays, and the blackness of the coal mines where he was held captive during the war. Eddie’s depression and struggle to feel emotion after the war is described as the “darkness.”
The Five People You Meet in Heaven
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The timeline below shows where the symbol Color and Darkness appears in The Five People You Meet in Heaven. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
...and Four—also seem desperate and malnourished. One day, the “Crazies” force the unit into a dark coalmine. At night, Eddie holds a photo of Marguerite that he keeps crumpled up in... (full context)
...the flaming village in the Philippines, he hears a loud, constant scream. The sense of “darkness” stays with Eddie as he wakes, making him feel detached and unmotivated. He fears explaining... (full context)
...that Eddie isn’t very much fun, even on his birthday. The narrator comments that the darkness from the war still hangs over Eddie. Eddie continues thinking about the accident at Brighton.... (full context)