Saturday, January 25, 2014


In "The Five People you Meet in Heaven" by Mitch Albom, Eddie, a very elder man works at a boardwalk fair. It is where he has been his whole life. As a child, to play, and now to maintain the rides. Right away the story jumps to "the end" or so Albom calls it. Eddie dies while trying to save a young girl from getting pummeled by a falling ride. Then, the story changes from real life, to Eddie's after life. It takes readers on a journey as to what it is like. How it is in the story is Eddie meets five people from his life who have died already that either impacted his life or he impacted theirs. He meets The Blue Man, Captain, his father, Ruby, and Margerite. I think the narrative fulfills the author's purpose of writing the book well. The author knows that there is no way to know for sure what happens after you die, so he creates a fictional story of how his Uncle Eddie's life after death is.
The theme of this fiction novel I believe is that there are no random acts. In a sense everything does happen for a reason. If some things didn't happen, Eddie wouldn't have lived, for example Captain shooting his leg to save him from a fire. Or the fact that Eddie actually killed The Blue Man second handed. These things all happened for a reason and you see that as the story gets further and further in.
The authors main tone is gloomy. It makes sense since the main character has died and Albom is trying to capture the feeling of death and the whole process. For example, an excerpt from the book right after Eddie's death read "Eddie saw nothing of his final moments on Earth, nothing of the pier of the crowd or the shattered fiberglass. In the stories about life after death, the soul often flouts above the goodbye moment, hovering over police cars at highway accidents, or clinging like a spider to  hospital-room ceilings. These are the people who receive a second chance, who somehow, for some reason, resume their place in the world. Eddie, it appeared, was not getting a second chance." (pg. 20) It is clear that this is a sad passage talking of how Eddie doesn't get a second chance. "Now he began to drop, hurtling toward the surface. It was faster than anything he'd ever imagined, yet there wasn't as much as a breeze on his face, and he felt no fear. He saw the sands of a golden shore. Then he was under water." (pg. 22) This is also gloomy in that you are imagining a person falling out of the air and straight into the water. Lastly, an excerpt describing a moment in Eddie's life as a captured soldier in the Vietnam war. "The enemy soldiers screamed and poked them with bayonets. Eddie, Smitty, Morton, Rabozzo, and the Captain were herded down a steep hill, hands on their heads. Mortar shells exploded around them. Eddie saw a figure run through the trees, then fall in a clap of bullets." (pg. 66)
Setting: The setting of the Ruby Pier is where Eddie's whole life took place. By referring back to Ruby Pier events, or people he met at Ruby Pier, like the Blue Man, the setting tied into the theme. The majority of the setting was also in heaven which clearly played a huge role in the story as Eddie met the five people there which is what the story about. This is where the theme was presented.
Conflict: The conflict between his father and him played an important role in the solidification of the theme because it showed Eddie here that this was supposed to happen and it taught him why it did happen.
Dialogue: Dialogue played a big role in how the author presented characters. A lot of direct characterization was made largely this way. You can see how this is important in introducing vital characters. The theme was also presented through dialogue.
Tone: The tone is this book was gloomy. When speaking of death and trying to present an overall feeling and theme, the tone was very important to capture this.
Theme: The theme created a sense of organization for the story. It seemed that once the theme was presented, then the story was made around it. It created clarity and connections for many parts.
Characterization: As mentioned below, the author uses indirect and direct characterization to convey the characters a certain way.
Symbolism: symbolism is used in the relationship of Eddie and his family. The birthday cake in the story largely symbolizes his family. Anytime Eddie had a flashback to his family, it was at his birthday surrounding a birthday cake.
Point of View: When Eddie meets his father in heaven, we are introduced to him from Eddie's point of view. The author does this to create a lasting impression on the father.
Imagery: When Eddie had just died, the author paints a picture in our minds by telling us metaphorically how the sky looked. For example, "The sky was a misty pumpkin shade...". This clearly paints a picture in readers minds.
Metaphor: Metaphors were used sparingly to create a better sense of imagery. For example, " The sky around him changed again, to grapefruit yellow, then a forest green...". This shows readers exactly what Eddie is experiencing.

Direct characterization:
 Eddie: At the beginning of the story, our first approach to Eddie was direct characterization. We became aware of Eddie's attributes by direct text the author gave us. There was no underlying meaning we were left to uncover. We became aware of his job, an approach to his past, and how his past formed his present characteristics. Some of these characteristics are quietness, reminiscent, and rough on the outside, yet gentle.
The blue man: When Eddie meets the first person in heaven, it is the Blue Man. Because Eddie barely remembers him because he only saw him once briefly at a fair, the Blue Man introduces himself to Eddie which then introduces him to us readers as well. The author did this purposely because the Blue Man played a vital part in not only the story as a whole, but introducing the premise and theme of the story as well. After all this is where the theme is introduced as well.
Indirect characterization:
Eddie: Although Eddie was introduced directly at the beginning of the story, throughout the remainder, hints and clues were indirectly characterizing Eddie as we read. Some we very apparent like when others spoke of him. But, many were unapparent as the author wrote of experiences with his father and how it affected him emotionally, or how Eddie was always stronger then his older brother and how that affected the relationship with his brother. Little pieces of Eddie were indirectly characterized.
Eddie's father: When Eddie meets his father in heaven, readers are introduced to his father merely by the exchange of conversation between Eddie and his father and Eddie's thoughts. There is no initial introduction to him to give readers any background. Eddie's father is characterized by Eddie's perception of him which is about as indirect as it gets. Reader's have one viewpoint on him and that is all.
The author did use syntax and diction when he focused on a character. It really made the readers able to connect with a character easier. By his style of talk, we can get a better sense of who he is, where he's from, or what he likes. For example, "But, I gotta pay." (pg. 47) The word gotta is not a formal word. In this case, Eddie is concerned and throughout the passage, the diction is changed, like in the example listed, to show his concern.
The protagonist, Eddie is dynamic. At the beginning of the story, we are introduced to him as a old, grumpy man who can't really be bothered. As the story progresses, Eddie also progresses. He goes from the grouchy, bitter man, to the evolving Eddie. By evolving I mean that as the story goes on, his mind and views are changing. He is evolving before reader's minds. With each person he met in heaven, he started to really think about a lot of things. He began to retrogress through his whole life and wish he could go back and change many things. Eddie goes from a sore man, to a solemn man by the end of the story.
After reading this story, I did feel like I knew character's. Because Eddie is "meeting" these people in heaven, I felt like as he reanalyzed their role in his life, I was also learning and getting to know this character. For example there is the Captain. The Captain came from a long line of military family members. As the name implies, he was a Captain in the Army. While in war, he, along with Eddie and 3 other men were captured and held hostage by the enemy which was the Vietnam people at this time. The Captain always had a motto and it was to never leave anyone behind. He held true to this when Eddie wanted to save a person that actually wasn't there. Eddie was risking his life as flames engulfed him and would not leave until he found this person he claimed to see. To save his life the captain shot him in the leg and him and the other men got him in the car. While driving away, the Captain sacrificed his life while making sure the coast was clear. He had stepped on a land mine and was killed. Throughout this section of the book as the Captain explained the details even Eddie didn't know until then, I felt like I got to know him.

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