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.
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.
...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)
...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 36 (Epilogue)
...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)