The Five People You Meet in Heaven

The Five People You Meet in Heaven

Eddie’s Father Character Analysis

Eddie’s father (whose name is never given) is the darkest character in the novel. A violent, misogynistic alcoholic who works a low-paying job as the head of maintenance at Ruby Pier, he neglects and physically abuses Eddie and his brother Joe throughout their childhoods. As a child, Eddie tries to win over his love, but his attempts are never met with anything but a total lack of affection from his father. The only times Eddie’s father shows any interest in his son is when Eddie wins fights, baseball games, or fixes equipment at the maintenance shop. Eddie’s father dies from pneumonia, which he caught while saving his friend Mickey Shea during an ocean storm. He represents extreme male aggression and toughness.

Eddie’s Father Quotes in The Five People You Meet in Heaven

The The Five People You Meet in Heaven quotes below are all either spoken by Eddie’s Father or refer to Eddie’s Father. 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 20 Quotes

All parents damage their children. 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.

Related Characters: Narrator (speaker), Eddie, Eddie’s Father
Page Number: 110
Explanation and Analysis:

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Eddie privately adored his father, because sons will adore their fathers through even the worst behavior. It is how they learn devotion. Before he can devote himself to God, or a woman, a boy will devote himself to his father, even foolishly, even beyond explanation.

Related Characters: Narrator (speaker), Eddie, Eddie’s Father
Page Number: 106
Explanation and Analysis:

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Chapter 24 Quotes

Religion? Government? Are we not loyal to such things, sometimes to the death? (…) Better to be loyal to one another.

Related Characters: Ruby (speaker), Eddie, Eddie’s Father, Mickey Shea
Page Number: 138
Explanation and Analysis:

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Eddie’s Father Character Timeline in The Five People You Meet in Heaven

The timeline below shows where the character Eddie’s Father appears in The Five People You Meet in Heaven. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 2
The Cycle of Life and Death Theme Icon
Time Theme Icon
The novel flashes back to Eddie’s birth in a poor hospital in the 1920s. Eddie’s father is smoking cigarettes in a waiting room when a nurse comes out and calls his... (full context)
Chapter 4
The Connection Between All Humans Theme Icon
The Cycle of Life and Death Theme Icon
The Value in Ordinary Life Theme Icon
Gender Roles Theme Icon
...narrative flashes back again. It is Eddie’s fifth birthday, and he is playing at his father’s feet while his father plays a game of cards. In what he describes as an... (full context)
Chapter 12
The Connection Between All Humans Theme Icon
The Value in Ordinary Life Theme Icon
Gender Roles Theme Icon
...plans to marry. Eddie tells Joe to shut up, and the two fight until their father breaks them up. Later on during the party, Eddie’s mother asks him to dance with... (full context)
Chapter 18
The Connection Between All Humans Theme Icon
The Value in Ordinary Life Theme Icon
...outfits from different decades, and many are badly wounded. To his shock, he notices his father among them. Eddie calls to him, but his father doesn’t hear. (full context)
Chapter 19
Redemption and Forgiveness Theme Icon
The Connection Between All Humans Theme Icon
The Value in Ordinary Life Theme Icon
Gender Roles Theme Icon
...is recovering in a Veteran Affairs hospital, after being returned home from war. His mother, father, brother, Marguerite, and Mickey Shea come into his room with a cake, singing “Happy Birthday.”... (full context)
Chapter 20
Redemption and Forgiveness Theme Icon
The Connection Between All Humans Theme Icon
Gender Roles Theme Icon
...summarizes Eddie’s memories of his parents. As a young child, Eddie tried to get his father’s attention, but his father would either yell or ignore him. When he took Eddie out... (full context)
Redemption and Forgiveness Theme Icon
The Connection Between All Humans Theme Icon
Gender Roles Theme Icon
At rare times, however, Eddie’s father would give out small gestures of approval, and Eddie hungered for these moments, and eagerly... (full context)
Redemption and Forgiveness Theme Icon
The Connection Between All Humans Theme Icon
Time Theme Icon
Gender Roles Theme Icon
...depressed state, and spends most of his time on his parents’ couch. One night his father come home drunk, and yells repeatedly at Eddie to “Get up and get a job!”... (full context)
The Connection Between All Humans Theme Icon
The Value in Ordinary Life Theme Icon
...outside of the diner, and introduces herself as his “third person.” She tells him his father isn’t really there in the diner, because they are in her heaven. Eddie is frustrated... (full context)
Chapter 21
The Connection Between All Humans Theme Icon
The Value in Ordinary Life Theme Icon
Gender Roles Theme Icon
...knock at the door—a neighbor has come to tell them “something has happened” to Eddie’s father. (full context)
Chapter 22
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
Gender Roles Theme Icon
...Ruby then announces to Eddie that her purpose now is to tell Eddie how his father died. (full context)
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
Gender Roles Theme Icon
The story flashes back to the night of Eddie’s thirty-third birthday. Eddie’s father is in the hospital with pneumonia, which started a week before with a bad cough... (full context)
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
When Eddie’s father finally dies from the pneumonia, Eddie only feels the “emptiest kind of anger.” He had... (full context)
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
...life, he has tried to avoid the fate of working at Ruby Pier like his father. When Eddie was young and planned to go to engineering school, and later when he... (full context)
Chapter 24
Redemption and Forgiveness Theme Icon
The Connection Between All Humans Theme Icon
Gender Roles Theme Icon
Ruby tells Eddie that his father wasn’t as bad as he seemed. Ruby brings Eddie to a scene from the past.... (full context)
Redemption and Forgiveness Theme Icon
The Connection Between All Humans Theme Icon
Gender Roles Theme Icon
Ruby explains that Eddie’s father died from the pneumonia he caught on the beach the night he saved Mickey Shea.... (full context)
Redemption and Forgiveness Theme Icon
The Connection Between All Humans Theme Icon
The Cycle of Life and Death Theme Icon
Gender Roles Theme Icon
Ruby reminds Eddie of how weak his father was in the hospital, and how he was unable to speak. She tells Eddie that... (full context)
Redemption and Forgiveness Theme Icon
The Connection Between All Humans Theme Icon
The Cycle of Life and Death Theme Icon
Gender Roles Theme Icon
Ruby tells Eddie she cares about him and his father because Eddie’s father was sharing a hospital room with her husband, Emile. When Ruby learned... (full context)
Redemption and Forgiveness Theme Icon
The Connection Between All Humans Theme Icon
Reflecting on the new details about his father’s death, Eddie reminds Ruby again of how abusive his father was to him. Ruby tells... (full context)
Redemption and Forgiveness Theme Icon
The Connection Between All Humans Theme Icon
The Cycle of Life and Death Theme Icon
Left alone now, Eddie walks up to the diner window, and again watches his father sitting inside. Eddie’s father still can’t hear him, but Eddie speaks to him anyway. Eddie... (full context)
Chapter 34
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
...a taxi to the cemetery and visits the graves of his mother, brother, briefly his father, and finally Marguerite. He thinks of her, and of how even though it’s bad for... (full context)