The Five People You Meet in Heaven

The Five People You Meet in Heaven

Birthdays and Celebrations Symbol Analysis

Birthdays and Celebrations Symbol Icon

The novel flashes back and forth between Eddie’s passage through heaven and the retelling of his life story, using birthdays to mark each episode of Eddie’s life. Birthdays and other celebrations thus represent the passage of time, and they add importance to each milestone in Eddie’s life. When Marguerite is alive, Eddie feels enough joy and meaning to celebrate with her—they celebrate their wedding, birthdays, and they hold a farewell party before she dies. Celebrations highlight relationships and connections, and add meaning to the ordinary routine of life. After Marguerite’s death, Eddie no longer feels like life is worth celebrating.

Birthdays and Celebrations Quotes in The Five People You Meet in Heaven

The The Five People You Meet in Heaven quotes below all refer to the symbol of Birthdays and Celebrations. 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 9 Quotes

Sometimes you have to do things when sad things happen.

Related Characters: Eddie’s Mother (speaker), Eddie
Related Symbols: Birthdays and Celebrations
Page Number: 45
Explanation and Analysis:

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Chapter 28 Quotes

That was my choice (…) A world of weddings, behind every door. Oh, Eddie, it never changes, when the groom lifts the veil, when the bride accepts the ring (…) They truly believe their love and their marriage is going to break all the records…

Related Characters: Marguerite (speaker), Eddie
Related Symbols: Birthdays and Celebrations
Page Number: 156-157
Explanation and Analysis:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

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Birthdays and Celebrations Symbol Timeline in The Five People You Meet in Heaven

The timeline below shows where the symbol Birthdays and Celebrations appears in The Five People You Meet in Heaven. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
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
The 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... (full context)
Chapter 8
Redemption and Forgiveness Theme Icon
The Connection Between All Humans Theme Icon
...novel returns to Eddie’s childhood. Eddie has again lost the ball he received for his birthday the year before (which rolled away in the previous flashback). He runs after it, darts... (full context)
Chapter 9
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
Time Theme Icon
It is Eddie’s eighth birthday, and he is complaining that he doesn’t want to attend the funeral that his mother... (full context)
Chapter 10
Redemption and Forgiveness Theme Icon
The Connection Between All Humans Theme Icon
The Cycle of Life and Death Theme Icon
...realizes he was there as a child—and it becomes clear that this was Eddie’s eighth birthday (as mentioned in the previous chapter). Eddie marvels that back then, he couldn’t have known... (full context)
Chapter 12
The Connection Between All Humans Theme Icon
The Value in Ordinary Life Theme Icon
Gender Roles Theme Icon
It is Eddie’s seventeenth birthday, and he is sitting on his bed reading comic books when his mother calls him... (full context)
Chapter 14
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
...off to war, and his family and friends are sending him off with an emotional birthday celebration. Throughout the night Eddie thinks of asking Marguerite to wait for him, but he... (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
...father, brother, Marguerite, and Mickey Shea come into his room with a cake, singing “Happy Birthday.” Eddie wakes up to the sight and sound of his family coming in, and he... (full context)
Chapter 21
The Connection Between All Humans Theme Icon
The Value in Ordinary Life Theme Icon
Gender Roles Theme Icon
...has set out taffy with a white colored ribbon and cake, and she sings “Happy Birthday” and kisses Eddie. Eddie tries to fight his detachment so he can enjoy this moment... (full context)
Chapter 22
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... (full context)
Chapter 23
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
Is it Eddie’s thirty-seventh birthday, and he is having breakfast with his friend Noel, who works for the park dry-cleaning... (full context)
Chapter 27
The Connection Between All Humans Theme Icon
The Value in Ordinary Life Theme Icon
Gender Roles Theme Icon
It is Eddie’s thirty-eighth birthday, and he is in the maintenance shop with his brother, Joe, who has a new... (full context)
Chapter 29
Redemption and Forgiveness Theme Icon
The Connection Between All Humans Theme Icon
Gender Roles Theme Icon
Eddie is at the horseracing track with Noel on his thirty-ninth birthday. Eddie bets again after every time he wins, trying to double his money. He calls... (full context)
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
...trying to make everything pleasant for her. Everyone acts as if it weren’t a “farewell” celebration. A few days later, Marguerite wakes screaming, and Eddie drives her to the hospital. All... (full context)
Chapter 32
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
...restaurant menu, an army metal, and a polaroid of a man with children, blowing out birthday candles. The estate attorney finds Eddie’s bank information. As they walk out, the attorney thinks... (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
It is Eddie’s fifty-first birthday, his first birthday since Marguerite died. He remembers how much he hated his birthdays in... (full context)