The Five People You Meet in Heaven


Mitch Albom

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Themes and Colors
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
LitCharts assigns a color and icon to each theme in The Five People You Meet in Heaven, which you can use to track the themes throughout the work.

Redemption and Forgiveness

Throughout the novel, Eddie’s encounters with the five people he meets in heaven teach him about the surprising ways in which life and death offer opportunities for redemption. He learns about the full extent of his own and others’ transgressions, and consequently moves through anger, regret and forgiveness on his way to finding peace.

The harm Eddie causes others is often unintentional, as his actions are full of unintended consequences. As a child, he unknowingly…

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The Connection Between All Humans

All the characters within the novel are connected in unexpected ways, even when their lives are separate and they don’t ever meet on earth. Eddie barely remembers the Blue Man, and yet he caused his death and became a memorable part of the Blue Man’s understanding of his own life on Earth. Eddie’s time in the war was marked forever by his haunting memory of a shadow in the village fire he started, which…

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The Cycle of Life and Death

Life and death are a continuous cycle, making birth and death different ends of the same spectrum of existence. Eddie’s life story is told in intertwining vignettes, in which the beginning and end of his life melt together as if they were always happening at the same time. In heaven, the agelessness of characters like Marguerite, the Captain, Ruby, and Tala implies that birth and death are all happening at once from…

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The Value in Ordinary Life

Throughout the novel, Eddie struggles to see value in his life, which he sees as ordinary and filled with unmet dreams and plans. Having never left Ruby Pier to study engineering or make a life for himself elsewhere, he believes his life was devoid of accomplishment and therefore meaningless. But the novel, by describing the nuance and detail of every period of Eddie’s life, shows the beauty inherent in all of the moments and relationships…

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Time is used to mark significant moments and periods in Eddie’s life, as well as to show the fluidity between life and death. Time is always moving forward, and yet by telling the story in out-of-order episodes, Albom creates the sense that time is not necessarily linear—particularly from the point of view of eternity and heaven.

In between stories of Eddie’s encounters with the five people in heaven, there are short snapshots from Eddie’s life…

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Gender Roles

While gender roles are not directly discussed in the novel, strong differences exist between Albom’s depictions of female and male characters, to the point that gender roles become an important theme. The primary difference in the portrayal of men and women is that the novel’s female characters are nearly all defined by their relationships to male characters, while male characters are defined by their goals, occupations, and actions. Several male characters are mentioned as not…

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