The Five People You Meet in Heaven

The Five People You Meet in Heaven Metaphors and Similes

Fire (Simile)

The many children at Ruby Pier are drawn to Eddie: "they drew in like cold hands to a fire" (3). This indicates that Eddie emitted warmth, whether or not he realized it.  

Fire (Metaphor)

Fire acts as a force of destruction and a catalyst for rebirth in The Five People You Meet in Heaven. The fire at Ruby Pierushered in a new era for the park many years before Eddie worked there. Once it was rebuilt, Ruby Pier evolved to become more modern (without a "freak show," for example). After Eddie's release from captivity in the Philippines, Eddie and his fellow soldiers burn down the village as a way of letting out the rage they felt after being trapped for so long - it marks Eddie's transition to a new and more complicated phase of his life. 

The Ocean (Metaphor)

The roiling ocean is a recurring metaphor for mortality in The Five People You Meet in Heaven. It is vast and impossible to ignore, especially because it surrounds Ruby Pier on all sides. Hours before the end of his life, Eddie tries to lose himself in memories of his first movie date with Marguerite but the "cacophony of the crashing waves" (11) keeps mixing with the Judy Garland song from the film and bringing him back to reality. Later, Eddie finds out that his father died after diving into the ocean to save his friend. In both of these examples, the ocean serves to remind the characters of their mortality. The ocean - like the mystery of life - is an inescapable force that can override the will of man.