The Five People You Meet in Heaven

The Five People You Meet in Heaven

Maintenance Symbol Icon

Eddie’s job in maintenance represents the ordinary routines, relationships, and efforts to “keep going” that add shape and momentum to everyday life. Eddie’s job, like his life, is about maintaining the status quo—he doesn’t create, build, or change anything, but just keeps the rides going safely. For most of his life, Eddie feels like he is invisible or doesn’t matter, because he hasn’t accomplished anything great. But maintenance work, like the most ordinary aspects of life, is deeply important even when its importance isn’t visible to others. Tala flips Eddie’s perspective by showing him that his job was actually heroic, affording him the chance to save people’s lives.

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Maintenance Symbol Timeline in The Five People You Meet in Heaven

The timeline below shows where the symbol Maintenance appears in The Five People You Meet in Heaven. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 1
The Value in Ordinary Life Theme Icon
Time Theme Icon
...Ruby Pier, an amusement park on the ocean where the elderly Eddie has worked in maintenance for all of his life. Eddie knows Ruby Pier inside and out, and everyone greets... (full context)
The Connection Between All Humans Theme Icon
The Value in Ordinary Life Theme Icon
Time Theme Icon
...left to live, Eddie encounters Dominguez, a cheerful young man who works with him in maintenance at Ruby Pier. Eddie gives a very appreciative Dominguez 40 dollars as a gift for... (full context)
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
...thinks of as “Amy or Annie,” comes up and addresses him by name as “Eddie Maint’nance.” She eagerly asks him to make her a pipe cleaner rabbit—a trick Eddie has been... (full context)
Chapter 17
The Connection Between All Humans Theme Icon
The Cycle of Life and Death Theme Icon
The Value in Ordinary Life Theme Icon
...Monday morning at Ruby Pier. Dominguez has skipped breakfast and shows up at work in Maintenance. He and Willie stare at a newspaper on the desk with a front headline that... (full context)
Chapter 20
Redemption and Forgiveness Theme Icon
The Connection Between All Humans Theme Icon
Gender Roles Theme Icon
...fixed,” Eddie would say, and his father would nod. Eddie’s father spoke proudly of his maintenance work, and would say that Eddie’s greasy mechanic’s fingernails showed an “honest day’s work.” Eddie... (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
...of his mother, while Eddie tries to help out financially by taking over his father’s maintenance work each night after driving his taxi. In the hospital, Eddie’s only communication with his... (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 job as a salesman, making good... (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
...tidy Eddie kept his apartment, and thinks of how he misses Eddie. Back at the maintenance shop, nobody has even touched Eddie’s things, as if they are all waiting for him... (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
Time Theme Icon
...children safe, “You make good for me.” Then she pokes him gently, and says “Eddie Main-ten-ance.” (full context)
Chapter 36 (Epilogue)
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
Gender Roles Theme Icon
...was given Eddie’s job, and eventually put Eddie’s things away into a trunk in the maintenance shop. Nicky, the boy whose car key had, unbeknownst to him, caused the accident, came... (full context)