Tuesdays with Morrie, written by Mitch Albom, is a true story of the love between a man and his college professor, Morrie Schwartz. This true story captures the compassion and wisdom of a very unselfish man who had a superior heart and who lived his life to the fullest, up until the very last breath of his happily fulfilled life. It is a story of an extraordinary bond of friendship that was lost for many years, but never forgotten and simply picked up again at a crucial time of both Morrie and Mitchs lives. Its the story of a young man infatuated with materialistic and unimportant things in life who comes to realize that death will come when you least expect it and theres no turning back. Morrie shows that wisdom comes with experience. Its never too late to rebuild a friendship that was once lost.
Morrie, to whom the title of the novel refers, spent most of his life as a sociology professor at Brandeis University. One of Morries signature characteristics is his ability to bring human spirit and genuine emotion out of everyone he befriends; even Ted Koppel after they are done filming the last interview for the Nightline show. Morrie also accepts and does not become ashamed of his disabilities. When he becomes so sick and can no longer do his daily tasks without help from others, he embraces this and enjoys feeling like an infant or a child. Since he was so deprived of love in his childhood, he now thrives on the affection and love of others, which is usually the case when we are all infants who are solely dependent on our family. Its as if he has returned to his childhood and is finally getting the love and compassion he so longed for. Morrie believes that love and compassion are crucial methods of communication. He is determined to see Mitch return to the caring and compassionate person he was in his younger years.
Mitch, also known as the student and the narrator of this novel, is a sports writer who gave up his dream of becoming a musician for a life of money, success and materialism. Since his college graduation, he became disillusioned with devoting his life to money and success. He works most days and nights dedicating little time to himself or his wife. When the union for the Detroit newspaper goes on strike, he finds himself for the first time, without steady work or income; basically without a job. Morrie says, What happened to me? a number of times, but since his visits with Morrie, he has learned how much of his life he has wasted consumed in his work, and after listening to Morries philosophies, Mitch finds his life quite meaningless. As he watches Morrie inch closer to his death each week, Mitch sees what he must change in his life: he wishes to die knowing that he has lived his life to the fullest, that he has loved and forgiven himself as well as others and to have no regrets. Morrie helps him see the man who he wishes to become. He wants another chance to reassess his values and priorities so that he can create a fulfilling life for himself and Morrie was successful at penetrating Mitchs ignorance and allowing Mitch to see life in a whole new perspective.
During their meetings, Morrie tells Mitch stories about his life and about his personal beliefs. He also teaches him to reject pop-culture beliefs and to create his own values based on compassion and what he can offer others. Throughout their weeks together, Morrie is successfully bringing the emotion out of Mitch. During their last lesson, as they are hugging goodbye, Morrie sees Mitch begin to cry. Morrie is adamant about rejecting pop-culture norms and values and maintaining his own. He has learned to accept his death and manages to continue offering love and compassion until he dies. Morrie also accepts and does not become ashamed of his disabilities. When he becomes so sick and can no longer do his daily tasks without help from others, he embraces this and enjoys feeling like an infant or a child. Since he was so deprived of love in his childhood, he now thrives on the affection and love of others, which is usually the case when we are all infants who are solely dependent on our family.
But my old professor had made a profound decision, one he began to construct the day he came out of the doctors office with a sword hanging over his head. Do I wither up and disappear, or do I make the best of my time left? he asked himself. He would not wither. He would not be ashamed of dying. Instead, he would make death his final project, the center point of his days. Since everyone was going to die, he could be of great value, right? He could be research. A human textbook. Study me in my slow and patient demise. Watch what happens to me. Learn with me. Morrie would walk that final bridge between life and death, and narrate the trip. Based on his decision to not wither up and die, but use his dying experience to teach others what truly matters in life, illustrates how unselfish and positive he was. Morrie didnt see his ill spent time as a waste, instead he said, I mourn my dwindling time, but I cherish the chance it gives me to make things right. Not only do we see Morries character, we also see Mitch and his values change. Mitch stated, I looked forward to these visits more than one would think, considering I was flying seven hundred miles to sit alongside a dying manI no longer rented a cellular phone for the rides from the airport. Let them wait, I told myself, mimicking Morrie. This shows that Morrie is starting to learn whats important in life, not only materialistic things. As a way to carry out Morries wish to be useful, he and Mitch met every Tuesday to discuss lifes greatest lessons.
Morries approach was exactly the opposite. Turn on the faucet. Wash yourself with the emotion. It won't hurt you. It will only help. If you let the fear inside, if you pull it on like a familiar shirt, then you can say to yourself, "All right, it's just fear, I don't have to let it control me. I see it for what it is." "Same for loneliness: you let go, let the tears flow, feel it completely-but eventually be able to say, "All right, that was my moment with loneliness. I'm not afraid of feeling lonely, but now I'm going to put that loneliness aside and know that there are other emotions in the world, and I'm going to experience them as well." When Morrie detaches himself from his emotions, he is not ignoring and blocking them out, but experiencing them fully as well as separating himself from them so that they will not control him. If he didnt have this detachment logic, he would be afraid of death just as the unaware human beings on earth. Morrie did not want to leave the world through a violent coughing spell, instead he wanted to understand what was happening to him, find acceptance in it, and be able to let go in a peaceful manner.
Morries death wasnt a mournful death to Mitch because he finally learned the true meaning of life and death. He learned to make peace with the reality of living and also dying as Morrie had told him and simply held Morries hands as his life slowly dwindled away. The simplest words that were uttered by Morrie the last Tuesday they met, could affect a person in more ways than one could explain. Such a bond between people is difficult to achieve. The lessons that Morrie loved to teach were of his own experience with life. From Morrie, we learn that life is most happily experienced when enjoyed and fulfilled to its highest ability.