Eddie's Capture in the Philippines (Dramatic Irony)
While Eddie is imprisoned by his Filipino captors, he does not know if he is going to survive. However, the reader is aware that Eddie will live until the age of 83. Albom uses the dramatic irony to build up tension in this moment - we are curious to know how Eddie escaped from captivity. Additionally, the reveal of the Captain's role in bringing Eddie home from war is crucial to the "lesson" in this chapter.
Eddie and Joe's lives (Situational Irony)
Although Eddie's older brother, Joe, is financially more successful than Eddie with a physically easier job, a large family, and better health plan, he dies at a much earlier age than Eddie does. Eddie, meanwhile, has many brushes with death, suffers from lifelong injuries, and loses all his zest for life after Marguerite's passing. However, he lives until the ripe age of 83 - bitter and alone.
Marguerite's accident (Situational Irony)
Eddie and Marguerite are saving money to adopt a child, which is why Marguerite is angry to hear that Eddie is gambling their savings away at the racetrack. After angrily hanging up on Eddie, Marguerite feels guilty and drives to the racetrack to apologize. A few drunk kids throw a whiskey bottle onto the road and Marguerite gets in an accident. The irony of this situation is that Marguerite and Eddie both desperately want a child, but it is two (badly behaved) children who throw the fateful bottle that prevents this from happening.
Tala's Hands (Situational Irony)
Eddie dies trying to save a little girl from a falling cart in a freak accident at the Ruby Pier amusement park. He feels a child's hands in his right before the end of his life and spends the rest of the novel wondering if he was able to save the girl or not. However, he discovers at the end of the novel that it was not "Amy or Annie's" hands that he felt - but Tala's. The irony here is that Eddie (and the reader) expect that these small hands belonged to the child whose life Eddie saved, however, the hands that bring him to Heaven belong to the child whose life Eddie ended.
Nicky's Key (Dramatic Irony)
In the opening chapter of the novel, the omniscient narrator introduces the reader to Nicky, a young man who has "just begun driving and [is] not comfortable carrying a key chain. So he remove[s] the single car key and put[s] it in his jacket pocket and tie[s] it around his waist" (10). The reader is aware of the fact that Nicky's missing key has fallen "through the opening at a most precise moment" and is therefore wedging the pulley on "Freddy's Free Fall." This key is the reason the cart falls, but Eddie does not realize what is happening in time. By employing dramatic irony here, Albom is able to maintain Eddie's meticulous attention to safety (there was no way he could have known about the key unless he "crawled inside the mechanism" (17)), as well as building up the tension for the reader about the outcome of this disaster. Additionally, Albom shares Nicky's complicity in Eddie's death with the reader (none of the characters in the novel know about this this connection) in order to underline his point that "no story sits by itself" (10). It later turns out that Nicky happens to be the great-grandson of Ruby, who is the third person Eddie meets in Heaven.
The Five People You Meet in Heaven Questions and Answers
The Question and Answer section for The Five People You Meet in Heaven is a great
resource to ask questions, find answers, and discuss the novel.
Some missing car key damages the machinery on a ride called “Freddy's Free Fall.” Screaming patrons are stranded, dangling in the air as the cart threatens to fall off the track. Moving as quickly as he can, Eddie tries to save a young girl from...
Eddie finds himself in a round building with many doors. Behind each door is a wedding reception from from a different culture; Each reception is full of merriment and festivity. Finally, Eddie spots a youthful Italian bridesmaid in a countryside...