Tuesdays With Morrie
What Makes a Real Hero: Ideas by Bolt, Douglas, and Albom Essay
The theme of heroism is one of the most frequent issues, discussed in numerous literary works. Each author tries to present his/her own vision of hero, endow this hero with the best qualities, and make him/her useful to other people. A Man for All Seasons by Robert Bolt, Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglas, an American Slave, and Tuesdays with Morrie by Mitch Albom are the three works from different times, which help me create my own understanding of the word “hero” and realize that this hero can be found inside of any human being and may be significant to many other people around.
Nowadays, people hear such word as “hero” very often. “You are my hero!” – a girl says to her boyfriend, who’s just saved her from a huge dog. “He is a real hero” – a wife thinks about his husband, who’s just repaired the roof. “This boy will be a real hero” – a grandmother demonstrates her admiration of the boy, who’s just helped her cross the road. To my mind, people just do not pay much attention to a real meaning of this word, fling and use it in accordance with their emotions and feelings.
This is why, in order to remember and understand a true meaning of heroism, it is better to address to literature and find out how professional writers describe real heroes. On the one hand, it is impossible to believe that works by Robert Bolt, Frederick Douglas, and Mitch Albom have something in common. One of them lived in the middle of the 19th century, another is from the 1900s, and the last one is still alive and work in Detroit.
However, on the other hand, all these stories are based on real events, the authors introduce real heroes, who take really important and courageous steps in their lives, and these stories are not about some unbelievable human qualities or world disasters – each of these stories presents ordinary people within ordinary conditions, and explains how their attitudes to life and the desire to be better made them real heroes for many people around.
The main hero from Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglas , an American Slave got a wonderful chance to comprehend “the pathway from slavery to freedom” at the time, he did not really expected it (Douglas, 39). A real hero should understand the sense of freedom, and it is possible only in case of being enslaved and then getting the cherished freedom.
And in order to achieve this freedom, it is crucially important to control own desires and evaluate the situations from different perspectives, like another hero of selfhood from A Man for All Seasons, Sir Thomas More. The main purpose of More was “do prepare myself for, higher things” (Bolt, 22).
To my mind, these heroes are connected by one purpose – to be ready to do great things and help the others. As for helping other people, this very quality is also inherent Morrie Schwartz from Mitch Albom’s Tuesdays with Morrie. The teacher demonstrates his unbelievable courage in spite of the fact that he is already aware of his death, and this painful and frustrating process reminds the hero about soon end. He cares about his students, tries to teach them the best qualities, in order to provide them with a chance to improve their own lives and their attitude to this world.
“Once you learn how to die, you learn how to live” (Albom, 104). In this case, the meaning of the word dying may be interpreted in different ways and compared to the ideas of other heroes under consideration: if you were not enslaved, you could not appreciate freedom; if you could not comprehend own desires, you could not explain them to the others; if you did not die, you could not enjoy this life and live.
In general, these three characters have one feature in common – they want to be ready to take great steps in order to help other people to achieve success, and, at the same time, not to forget about personal self-improvement even being bound by unfair realities of this world.
Albom, Mitch. Tuesdays with Morrie: An Old Man, a Young Man, and Life’s Greatest Lesson. Broadway, 2002.
Bolt, Robert. A Man for All Seasons: A Play of Sir Thomas More. Oxford: Heinemann Educational Publishers, 1996.
Douglas, Frederick. Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglas, an American Slave. United Kingdom: Oxford University Press.
Tuesdays with Morrie by Mitch Albom Essay
The generation gap is a persistent problem that prevents the younger generation from learning and finding their way in life. Tuesdays with Morrie by Albom is an explicit example of how accepting the authority of an older person can help the younger generation to deal with their emotional issues and set their priorities. Before spending fourteen weeks with his professor, Mitch was unable to engage in his life and relationships due to the inability to deal with his emotions. At the same, communication between generations is also vital for the elderly, since it brings peace and a sense of purpose to their lives. The analysis of the plot, characters, and themes of Tuesdays with Morrie leads to the understanding that today’s society prevents younger adults from learning from the elderly.
Tuesdays with Morrie is a novel written in the form of memoirs about the meetings of Mitch Albom and his college professor, Morrie Schwartz, who has amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). The action takes place in the nineties, during the O. J. Simpson trial, when Mitch accidentally finds out that his college professor, who was once very dear to him, is terminally ill. Mitch recalls that he once promised to keep in touch with his professor, but failed to do so. Albom decides to visit Morrie and finds him slowly losing control of his body due to the illness. After the first meeting, during which the professor and his student discuss the importance of love, Mitch decides to visit Morrie every Tuesday and talk about life.
During the following fourteen weeks, the narrator witnesses the gradual decline of Morrie’s life while taking essential lessons from him. Every week the two characters focus on a specific topic, and Mitch records the conversation. The novel describes how Morrie teaches to deal with regrets, self-pity, and the fear of aging. The professor preaches the importance of love and family while criticizing American culture and greed. Throughout the meetings, Morrie tries to accept his fate and find a piece with his illness slowly moving to identify himself with his spirit rather than the body. Shortly after the fourteenth meeting, Morrie passes away, and Albom writes the memoir to help pay for his professor’s extensive medical bills and passing the wisdom to further generations.
The has two main characters, Mitch Albom, the narrator, and Morrie Schwartz, the interviewee. Mitch is a middle-aged man who has given up his dream of becoming a pianist to afford a living. He is a successful journalist who is financially prosperous but unhappy. According to Michau and Louw, Albom seeks assistance in personal life to become a successful person, since he was already successful professionally (140). He struggles from being emotionally handicapped since he does not know how to express his feelings in front of others. Even though in his articles, Albom writes about the misfortunes and hardships of others, he does not feel sympathetic and remains emotionally detached from the problems of others. The fourteen weeks spent with his mentor help Mitch learn life’s true values, one of which is learning to love and deal with emotions. In short, the narrator accepts the authority of the older generation, which helps him to learn vital life lessons and become a more successful man.
Morrie Schwartz is a sociology professor in his seventies battling ALS with his friends and family. He enjoys the company of his student and admits that it brings the meaning to his final days since he can share his knowledge. He is grateful to his fate for having the time to reflect upon what is important to him. Morrie believes that “the most important thing in life is to learn how to give out love, and to let it come in” (Albom 16). He points out that most people are confused about their priorities since they seek money and material comfort. According to Verhaeghen and Hertzog, Morrie is a wise man since he knows how to deal with uncertainty and has a clear set of values (257). In brief, Morrie finds his purpose in being able to spread the knowledge and communicate with people dear to him.
The central theme of the novel is death and how it affects the individual and the environment. Morrie is given time to prepare for his death, which is crucial for the majority of people, according to Meier et al. (262). Morrie’s death is juxtaposed with the death of O. J. Simpson’s family, an abrupt, violent end of life with no possibility to make peace with dying. The novel shows the irony of death, since “everyone knows they’re going to die, but nobody believes it” (Albom 23). At the same time, Morrie treats death as a part of life and claims that when people learn how to die, they also learn how to live. The thought of death is shown as a purifier to a person’s mind since it helps people to focus on the true values and discard all the unnecessary things in life.
Another theme developed in the novel is mentorship and the importance of passing the knowledge between generations. According to Michau and Louw, the book is a vivid example of how a relationship between a mentor and a mentee should develop (134). Indeed, both Morrie and Mitch find comfort in the conversations, and the student is helped to find his way in life. Even though the book touches upon various motives, the two themes mentioned above are the basis for the development of characters.
In my opinion, Tuesdays with Morrie is a reflection of how modern society treats the elderly. In the majority of mass media, the older generation is shown negatively. Most young people, similar to Mitch, believe that they know better about how to deal with their lives. However, after several trials and failures, they turn to the wisdom of the older generation to help them find life’s meaning. Albom was lucky enough to get the knowledge from the older generation before it was too late. However, the majority of people realize that they need help when their parents and loved ones are already dead, and the relationships with them are broken. Therefore, the novel describes the need to change the priorities and start respecting the older generation to become valuable members of society.
The book reveals the problems of younger and older adults and how communication between generations can help to address these issues. For the younger generation, it is crucial to get the knowledge to become more successful in their lives. The older generation may find comfort and purpose of being in being able to share their wisdom and receive gratitude. However, the values of modern society abstract such communication, and most of the time, it is possible only accompanied by extraordinary events, such as a terminal disease.
Albom, Mitch. Tuesdays with Morrie: An Old Man, a Young Man, and Life’s Greatest Lesson. Doubleday, 1997.
Michau, Abrie, and Willa Louw. “Tuesdays with an Open and Distance Learning Mentor.” Africa Education Review, vol. 11, no. 2, 2014, pp. 133-145.
Meier, Emily A., et al. “Defining a Good Death (Successful Dying): Literature Review and a Call for Research and Public Dialogue.” The American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry, vol. 24, no. 4, 2016, pp. 261-271.
Verhaeghen, Paul, and Christopher K. Hertzog. The Oxford Handbook of Emotion, Social Cognition, and Problem Solving in Adulthood. Oxford University Press, 2014.
Lessons on Death and Life in “Tuesdays With Morrie” by Mitch Albom Report
The book “Tuesdays with Morrie” is about the lessons the author (Mitch Albom) learnt from a former College teacher, coach and friend-Morrie Schwartz on death and life. Essentially, the book starts with a brief history on Morrie’s life before the illness and his reaction after the diagnosis. Readers learn that Morrie opted not to throw in the towel but continued with these classroom activities until his body could not allow him to do so. Mitch Albom then gives a brief summary of his interactions with Morrie in College.
Eventually, we learn about the first time Mitch sees Morrie on TV after decades of loosing touching and this is the ice breaker that brings these two individuals together. The rest of the book essential delves into the lessons on life that Morrie gets from his dying mentor. It is called Tuesdays with Morrie because that is the day when they meet every week. In these lessons, Morrie clarifies the most important aspects of life and affirms that one needs to be bold enough to focus on these things.
To the protagonist, living life in the moment and then detaching oneself from those moments is a sure way to get the most out of it. Furthermore, he asserts that when one focuses on giving rather than taking then one can find purpose. To him, it is the little things that matters the more as seen through his description of what a perfect day is. He also stresses the importance of family and love as these are essential foundations that can get one through the hardest and most difficult times.
When I started this remarkable book, I expected to get insights on death and the end of life (although I was able get these) the most profound aspect about the book was its teaching on life and living. It has lessons for almost every single aspect of life that one faces i.e. school, marriage, careers, money, society and most importantly life’s misfortunes. It taught me how to get the best out of life rather than focus on a frantic rat race.
The book was so profound to me because it was not a work of fiction; these were all assertions made by a real human being. Morrie Schwartz did indeed fall victim to the unforgiving illness – Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) and all the advice he gave was personal and genuine. I could connect with every emotion, every struggle and every loss. To me, the author did a splendid job by capturing all of Morrie’s assertions in a book that has been distributed to the rest of world.
There is no doubt that what Morrie shared with the author is relevant in any person’s life and it can therefore make another’s life richer and better. This book has definitely changed my life. I keep referring to it from time to time and will read little bits of it just so that I can be reminded about the richness and wealth of living. I never take things for granted now.
List of Quotes and My Reactions
“..the idea of quitting did not occur to Morrie.” (Albom, 9)
This quote comes at a time in the novel when Professor Morrie has been diagnosed with the illness and is slowly losing some of the most treasured aspects of his existence such as privacy, the ability walk and independence. At this point, any person would have decided to just go home and retire. However, Morrie’s tenacity is quite amazing because he chooses to continue teaching even in this painful and difficult circumstance. To me, this illustrates that even though life may seem harder than usual, one must not throw in the towel so easily.
“After the funeral, my life changed, I felt as if time were suddenly precious..”(Albom, 15)
Here, the author is talking about one of the earliest experiences he had with death. His most favorite relative i.e. his uncle lost his life to pancreatic cancer. He watched as the latter struggled with the ailment. What hurt him the most was that this uncle was the one who he looked up to as a young life. He was also the same person who taught him the little things in life like football, driving and women. It was therefore understandable if the death of such an important person took a heavy toll on Mitch.
He reacted to this by changing his behavior and chasing after accomplishments. I felt that this reaction is something common to anyone who goes through a sudden negative occurrence in one’s life. Because the shock and the pain are often too much, many people will avoid that pain by looking for outlets. Conversely, some may believe that by doing things differently, they can shield or somehow stop a similar shocking experiences in the future. I believe Mitch experienced a change in attitude because he was engaging in this frantic endeavor.
“ Am I going to withdraw from life.. or am I going to live?” (Albom, 21)
Here, Morrie is in a TV interview when he was talking about the end of life. I was really struck by this statement because I realized that one must make a conscious decision to engage in life. It is this conscious decision that can assist an individual to make the most of one’s circumstances as Morrie did.
“There’s a big confusion in this country over what we want and what we need” (Albom, 126)
This was another profound statement uttered by Morrie when discussing the American culture with this former student. I was moved by this sentence because it occurred to me that whenever things appear to be going wrong; this is always a sign of a deeper problem underneath. People often error in terms of first principles because they misunderstand something. In this case, individuals in the US have forgotten the importance of needs and are now merely focusing on wants.
“Yes, after all, I get to be a baby one more time” (Albom, 49)
Here, Morrie was talking about becoming so sick that he cannot carry out normal toilet hygiene on his own and he would have to rely on another person to assist him in that task. This seemed like a very disturbing thought but what struck me was the immense positivity that Morrie had. Instead of throwing his hands up, he chooses to look at one of the most embarrassing situations in his life positively. This just showed me that if one tries hard enough, one can always find something good about a situation.
“Am on the last great journey here and people want me to tell them what to pack” (Albom, 33)
As I read the book, I realized how interdependent humans are towards each other and this quote captures that essence quite well. Man is essentially uncertain about various elements about his life and is always on the lookout for some guidance. In other words, members of the society need each other.
However, when one looks at this keenly, one can also see an element of self interest here. Individuals often shower praises upon others calling them courageous and outstanding as they did with Morrie. But underneath those praises is a self seeking agenda from the concerned parties because they just want to get something that will help them.
“People were so hungry for love they were accepting substitutes” (Albom, 125)
The author has managed to put a serious context on the material culture that has taken over this society through this quote. It is often difficult to associate the frantic chase for material things with emotional matters. It is not that people who chase after material wealth do not need emotional satisfaction or love; it is simply that they are actually so desperate for it. Furthermore, one can see that a profound misunderstanding has occurred in terms of how to fill this void.
“This is how you get respect; by offering something you have.” (Albom, 127)
Society is always trying to demystify life’s purpose and they do this by trying to unlock the secret of happiness. Morrie is able to throw some light on this matter by asserting that this is all about give and take. When one can make a change in someone else’s life, then that automatically adds meaning. Essentially, the book shows why looking for money cannot add meaning to life. Instead of giving to one’s community, the search for money only takes it away; no wonder so many people are still miserable in their wealth.
“… Then I’d like to go for a walk in a garden with some trees..” (Albom, 176)
Morrie was describing his perfect day if he was able to recover all his senses and all the other things that made him normal. Instead of making these insane wishes about visiting the Bahamas, Morrie’s idea of a perfect day was a walk in the park, visiting friends and the like. Although these might appear like very simple things, yet it is those things that actually add meaning to life. Through the book, one can learn that treasuring those moments and finding perfection in every single thing one does is the key to contentment.
“Here’s what I mean by building your subculture…but these things; those you ,must choose for yourself” (Albom, 155)
This book illustrates how we need not accept everything our society presents to us as acceptable. Although society advocates for a material culture, one has the right to reject this because it clearly has a lot of flaws. This is book is therefore empowering because it shows people the freedom they have to curve out their own identities by choosing the right values.
Albom, M. Tuesdays with Morrie. NY: Random house publishers
Reflection of Tuesday with Morrie
Through the movie and book, I asked myself–if I had ever been through what Morrie’s had, could I stay in peace like him or teach others about life lesson? He, not only suffered from ALS, but also lost dearest mother then his younger brother had polio. If I were he, how will I deal with that unfortunes? I think I’ll feel timid, negative, and have a gloomy personality. But, Morrie didn’t. He later on became a successful professor and a good husband and father, who always gave his love to people generously.
Sometimes I doubted. How can he take everything so easy? Doesn’t he think god is unfair to him or why I am the one who deserve this? Why didn’t he become angry or complained all the time?
I finally got my answer when I realized that he didn’t pretend that he did not care what hurt him. He accepted all the bad things, and also embraces the negative emotion .
He experiences these feelings and said, “Yes, it is sadness” Or “Yes, it is depression.” and let them go. I really envy how optimistic he was. Every time I had in great depression, I just didn’t know what to do except take it or release by shouting or crying to my family and friends. I rarely think of any way out. Morrie’s strongest support came from his strong faith in love. When Mitch was a college student, one day Morrie mentioned “the tension of opposites”. The old professor said,“ A tension of opposites, like a pull on a rubber band. And most of us live in the middle in the society.” Sounds like a wrestling match, Mitch says. “A wrestling match.” He laughs, “Yes, you could describe life that way.” So which side wins, Mitch asks” Morrie smiles at Mitch, the crinkled eyes, the crooked teeth. “Love wins. Love always wins.” Love, a word people nowadays hear over thousands time everyday.
In nowadays, instead of love, the world is still flooded by money, power, and fear. To those people, it is meaningless word. In order to solve this problem, Morrie has a great idea: creating your own culture, investing in people. He means finding your true meaning of life, don’t just believe what the society tells you, and always care about people you love. He is absolutely right! People want to figure out what they are pursuing. In other words, life is an eternity course, but only some succeed. We might get lost in life, so we need somebody by our side, and it must be someone we trust or love. Sadly, most of time we took them for granted, we never think they might leave us some day—some die, or disappear, then we lose them with regrets. It is an awful repetition.
Think about it, how many people who ever played important roles in your life? After watching the movie, I thought of some friends of mime, we had great time before, but I never heard any news of them after high school or college. World is like a big garden without gravity and human beings are flowers there. If roots are not deep and strong enough, then the plants will gradually lose the grab of earth and float in the air. Most of flowers have no determination to root in fertile soil, so they lost their directions and live without nourishment, withering soon. The soil is actually love, what Morrie never let go of in his days. No wonder he was always in blossom. Though he passed away, he never disappeared. Just like his words, if people remember him, then he’ll always by their sides. His body withered but his spirit transformed into the rich soil, spread his belief and love to us.
“Tuesday’s with Morrie” by Mitch Albom
Tuesday’s with Morrie book has changed my perspective of looking, thinking, and understand the concept of life. This book has inspired many people, and now it has educated me with the lessons of life. In the book, the author Mitch talks about how he would keep in touch with the professor Morrie, and how he lost contact (Albom, 2007, p.14).
Sometimes, I do wonder that I have different professor for my classes in college. I get attached to the professor, and suddenly another semester I have a new professor. I wish I could keep in touch with all, life goes on and everyone gets busy. When I moved to United States two and half years ago, I have lost contact now of my high school teachers, friends, and also some of my family members. This event made me realize that how busy I have become in my daily routine that I do not contact my family members often. I am raised by my parents, I only meet my grandparents during festivals. My cousins share a good bond with my grandparents. I remember when my grandfather was in his last stage, he was in hospital for about twenty days and I use to go see him every day during his time there.
As Morrie said, There are some mornings when I cry and cry and mourn for myself (Albom, 2007, p.21). However, in a similar way I remember how I use to cry when my grandfather was in hospital and just praying god to let him live more. It was a tough situation for the family. I may be dying, but I am surrounded by loving, caring souls. How many people can say that? (Albom, 2007, p.36). I have learned from this book and I am unhappy in many ways. I have realized from Morrie, that how patience is important, and living each day as if it was your last. When Morrie was diagnosed with ALS, doctor showed him to count numbers when inhaled air (Albom, 2007, p.37). When Morrie knew he was dying, he focused more on people around him instead of the fact dying (Albom, 2007). Because of Morrie, it reminded me how living every day and waking up in the morning with a new opportunity is a blessing for us. We as humans tend to forget about the little things that are important. When my grandfather was in the hospital, he was diagnosed with kidney disease. He was happy being surrounded by whole family, and everyone taking care of him. Morrie was meeting Mitch every Tuesday, and all the lessons they shared were deeply connected to life (Albom, 2007, p.45). I feel like keeping this book forever and find solutions when I am in a tough situation. I believe that Morrie had knowledge of every event that occurs in one’s life. Morrie’s health was getting worse every day, the point came where he could only speak. But all he wanted was to educate people about life. Morrie talked about the death during fourth Tuesday with Mitch (Albom, 2007, p.81). He talked a lot about death, and how we look at death from that place.
My grandfather death was shocking for us because he has been healthy all his life, he was walking, talking, and he was 70yrs when he died. After reading this book, I contact my grandmother very often, she is sick, and I am hoping to see her in summer 2019. According to Morrie, once you learn how to die, you learn how to live. (Albom, 2007, p.82). For eleventh Tuesday Morrie talked about our culture, (Albom, 2007, p.152). He said that people get threatened when they are mean, and this is what our culture does to people. Even though you have a job, or money you still think about losing it and you become selfish. Morrie explained Mitch that you can build your own subculture by not breaking rules of community but changing the way of thinking. We have to appreciate things around us. I am from a culture where there are so many rules and values we have to follow. I learned from this book, that I can choose myself what we value (Albom, 2007, p.155).
Moreover, I believe most of them does not think about dying and death until they have experienced an event that is close to death. I am one of them, but this book has changed my vision. Growing up, I knew that death is sudden, you never know if you will wake up tomorrow or not. I am going to suggest all the people whom I know is close to death, to read this book. It motivates a person that every stage is a lesson to learn from life. To conclude, Tuesday’s with Morrie has changed my view about the life. It showed me how to value little things and love each other. I am planning to contact my friends, family, and teachers to ask them about their health and try to be in touch. This book has given me so much information, that I am happy to share with others. I will look at my shoulder and as if there is a little bird sitting, I will ask myself if I am satisfied with what I am doing or not. I believe Morrie’s wish came true, when he wanted people to listen his lessons on life.
The Theme and Message of “Tuesday’s with Morrie”
This passage in the memoir Tuesdays with Morrie displays Morries thoughts on a subject he is passionate on. The subject that later develops into a theme is that everyone should believe in their own values rather than popular morals. Morrie has a dislike for social networking due to it being an absence of reassurance.
Morrie states And you have to be strong enough to say if the culture doesn’t work, don’t buy it. Create Your own. Most people can’t do it.'(Albom 42). This is shown through Morrie because before he was sick , he had his own values such as dancing, and reading. Morrie also feels that if we live off of our own values we can live better lives.Another important belief that Morrie posses is the importance of giving and receiving appreciation. The theme and or message this passage is giving is that it’s better to be arranged to die because it helps you to take full advantage of every moment. In the memoir it states that way you can actually be more involved in your life while you’re living'(Albom 81). If we are prepared to die, we live our lives with no regret. Knowing that at a certain point in your life you are going to die, helps us to seize every moment we can.
This is supported by the passage by showing what Buddhist do everyday. They ask themselves Am I ready? Am I doing all I need to do? Am I being the person I want to be?'(Albom 82). This shows it is important to live every day like it is your last because you don’t know when death is approaching. This is learned through Morrie and seeing what happened to him can happen to anyone.Morrie believes that certain people believe love makes them too affectionate. Love is the only rational act”(Albom 52) is what Morrie recites in saying. Following in the memoir we see that Morrie believes this because of the absence of affection that was in his life as he grew up. His mother passed away when he was very young and his father usually busy with work not being able to appreciate him more. Eva showed Morrie the necessity in love when she appeared in the memoir. Due to this Morrie realized how important giving and receiving love truly is and emphasized as a theme throughout the novel.
The theme and or message this passage is giving is that it’s better to be arranged to die because it helps you to take full advantage of every moment. In the memoir it states that way you can actually be more involved in your life while you’re living'(Albom 81). If we are prepared to die , we live our lives with no regret. Knowing that at a certain point in your life you are going to die, helps us to seize every moment we can. This is supported by the passage by showing what Buddhist do everyday. They ask themselves Am I ready? Am I doing all I need to do? Am I being the person I want to be?'(Albom 82). This shows it is important to live every day like it is your last because you don’t know when death is approaching. This is learned through Morrie and seeing what happened to him can happen to anyone.
Tuesdays With Morrie Paragraphs
- 1 Materialism
- 2 New Friendship
- 3 Old Friendships
- 4 Aging
- 5 Trust
“I can tell you, as I’m sitting here dying, when you most need it, neither money nor power will give you the feeling you’re looking for, no matter how much of them you have.” (Pg. 125)
But giving to other people is what makes me feel alive. Not my car or my house.” (Pg. 128)
Morrie Schwartz provides numerous amounts of wisdom regarding materialism in Tuesdays with Morrie. Two of his quotes –– “I can tell you, as I’m sitting here dying, when you most need it, neither money nor power will give you the feeling you’re looking for, no matter how much of them you have,” (Pg. 125) and “But giving to other people is what makes me feel alive. Not my car or my house,” (Pg. 128) –– discuss his theories on this topic significantly. Both of these quotes give off the obvious idea that loathing over material objects and or replacing them with love will never give you a satisfying life. The first quote from Morrie relates the end of his life. He states that as he is dying, he knows in his mind that neither the amount of money he has nor the level of power he holds in the economy are the most important things to think about. Morrie fills the final moments of his life with his loved ones, giving to others, and just investing in people’s lives. Morrie’s second quote talks about what you should replace the want for material items with. He tells Mitch that giving to others is what gives him satisfaction and happiness. Morrie gave advice, wisdom, company, and most importantly, love to everyone he talked to. The joy that it gave others filled Morrie with more joy than any new car or nice suit could have given him. To continue on, the topic of materialism takes place in the sport of cheerleading. On the Norwin high school sideline cheerleading team, pins in the shape of a megaphone are given out during practices and games to the cheerleader(s) that did the best that day. Whoever ends up with the most pins by the end of the season is rewarded with a $50 Visa gift card. This might seem very appealing to most people, but this should never be anyone’s main focus during cheerleading. If you are constantly focused on trying to be better than everyone else just to get a pin, then you will take all of the fun out of cheerleading. You have to remember to have fun with all of your friends while doing the sport that you love. This will give you so much more happiness than the $50 gift card would. The gift card only lasts for a limited time, but memories made when doing all of the aspects of cheerleading that you love with your best friends on the team will stay joyful in your mind forever.
“You live on––in the hearts of everyone you have touched and nurtured while you were here.” (Pg. 174)
“”In the beginning of life, when we were infants, we need others to survive, right? And at the end of life, when you get like me, you need others to survive, right? But here’s the secret: in between, we need others as well.” (Pg. 157)
In the book Tuesdays With Morrie, Morrie talks to Mitch about the concept of new friendships that are created in our lives. He makes two quotes in the story that tie along well with this concept as well. First, Morrie says to Mitch, “You live on––in the hearts of everyone you have touched and nurtured while you were here,” (Pg. 174). Morrie’s message clearly goes with remembrance after death. He knows that no one will truly be forgotten if they are involved in other’s lives, even in the smallest way. Morrie was only Mitch’s college professor, but now Mitch will never forget Morrie even after he is long gone. This makes sense with creating new friendships. You can live your entire life alone with no one to talk to, but then make a close friend near the end of your life that you talk to. Even though you may think that your life would not be remembered by anyone, that close friend toward the end will always remember and cherish your moments together. Anyone that you have given advice to, cared for, or even just spent time with for a little bit will remember you because you earned a place in their heart. Even if these people were introduced to you very late and were new. Next, Morrie explains, “In the beginning of life, when we were infants, we need others to survive, right? And at the end of life, when you get like me, you need others to survive, right? But here’s the secret: in between, we need others as well,” (Pg. 157). This also goes along substantially with new friendships because it explains how important it is to have people you love at every moment in your life. Everyone needs to be cared for as an infant, everyone needs help from others when moving from the teenage years to adulthood, and everyone needs a buddy that they can count on when going through family issues, money problems, career and home life discrepancies, or anything else. However, some people that you have known for your entire life might not be available or fit to help you in these situations. You have to be able to make new friends along the way that you know will always be there for you. The most important thing is not how long you have known the person, but rather how much they are willing to care for you. The concept of new friendships relates well to new teams that you join throughout the sport of cheerleading. I have been on at least 8 different teams of cheerleaders throughout my 7 years of cheerleading. Each one I have loved and enjoyed even more than the last. However, the friends that I made (or that anyone else made) on my very first team have either not continued to cheer or have drifted apart from me. Even though I made very close memories with these people, I have had to create new friendships for every new team that I joined. All of these new friendships are extremely important because they help bring all of the fun into this sport. During this 9th grade year alone, I have made an entirely new group of cheer friends from the high school team that I love spending time with. Without making new friends, you will never remember how much fun you had on the team, just like in real life. You will never remember how much fun you had in life without making new friends to help you along the way.
“Ted, we’ve had thirty-five years of friendship. You don’t need speech or hearing to feel that.”” (Pg. 71) “Don’t let go too soon, but don’t hold on too long.” (Pg. 162)
Throughout the novel Tuesdays With Morrie, Morrie Schwartz discusses the meaning of old friendships. Two quotes that he made shine light on both the importance and downfall of these friendships. First off, the quote, “Ted, we’ve had thirty-five years of friendship. You don’t need speech or hearing to feel that,”” (Pg. 71) talks about the benefits of these old friendships. Anytime you are friends with someone for a long time, you form a unique connection with them. You can tell when they are truly happy or sad, and exactly what to do in those situations. When you are friends with someone for many years, you always know that you can count on that person to talk to, and this gives you all the comfort that you need in tough situations. Next, the quote, “Don’t let go too soon, but don’t hold on too long,” (Pg. 162) talks about both the importance and the negative aspects of old friendships. Morrie stated that you should not let go too soon for the obvious reasons. Your friends will always be there to care for you and they will give you happiness when you need it in life. However, you have to be able to let go in case they are holding you back. Sometimes the people that you have been with for a long time can make you think that a decision will ruin either your life or your friendship. You have to be able to realize this and know that you can move on from that friend if they are holding you back from a better life. You cannot hold onto someone too long if they are causing you any type of pain. Otherwise, your life and possibly others in it will suffer. To continue, old coaches and old teams in cheerleading relate significantly to old friendships in life. Coaches and teams that you have in prior years of cheerleading are extremely important and special. They teach you the basics whenever you do not know anything so that you can grow and do so many more skills in stunting, tumbling, etc. Although they help you progress, you have to know when to move on. Moving up from easier teams in order to learn more is just like moving on from old friends who are holding you back from large opportunities in life. You have to know when you are ready to advance your learning, even if it means moving on from people that are important to you.
“As you grow you learn more. If you stayed at twenty-two, you’d always be as ignorant as you were at twenty-two.” (Pg. 118) “If you’re always battling against getting older, you’re always going to be unhappy, because it will happen anyhow.” (Pg. 119)
The topic of aging was discussed numerous times by Morrie Schwartz in Tuesdays With Morrie. Morrie says two important quotes that discuss this topic profoundly. To start, Morrie says to Mitch, “As you grow you learn more. If you stayed at twenty-two, you’d always be as ignorant as you were at twenty-two,” (Pg. 118). To explain, with age brings knowledge. Everyone looks back at when they were younger and laughs at how much more they have learned over the years, whether it was through experience or other teachers. Staying at one age will never benefit you, even if you think it is the greatest year of your life. Next up, Morrie explains, “If you’re always battling against getting older, you’re always going to be unhappy, because it will happen anyhow,” (Pg. 119). Morrie’s message through this quote is about positivity throughout life. Everyone grows older, it’s a part of nature. The key to accepting this is knowing the beneficial outcomes of growing older. You obviously gain more knowledge and experience, but you also gain new relationships with people. All of these aspects create happiness, so you will not achieve happiness if you are constantly sad about aging. Finally, in cheerleading, the tumbling relates to aging for several reasons. Just like how aging in life gives you more knowledge over time, aging in tumbling gives you more skills and better technique. With more time and practice, everyone has better tumbling than they did when they first started cheerleading. It is all about getting better over time. Similar to Morrie’s second quote, if you are not willing to try to progress with your tumbling by practicing over time, then you will never gain happiness from earning more skills or perfecting your current ones. As they say, practice makes perfect, but practice takes time and patience is key. It will benefit you in the end.
“But the poor kids today, either they’re too selfish to take part in a real loving relationship, or they rush into marriage and then six months later, they get divorced.” (Pg. 148)
“If you can’t talk openly about what goes on between you, you’re gonna have a lot of trouble.” (Pg. 149)
In the novel Tuesdays With Morrie, trust between others in life is talked about in various ways, especially in two quotes that Morrie Schwartz makes about marriage. First up, when Morrie talks about Mitch’s generation, he says, “But the poor kids today, either they’re too selfish to take part in a real loving relationship, or they rush into marriage and then six months later, they get divorced,” (Pg. 148). When talking about making relationships with other people, you always have to consider your trust with them. Morrie made this clear with the topic of marriage. The people in Mitch’s generation were so forced to get married to another person that they never took the time to stop and make sure that they trusted the other person in every good or bad situation. Thus, ending in a divorce. Next, the quote “If you can’t talk openly about what goes on between you, you’re gonna have a lot of trouble,” (Pg. 149) discusses some specifics about trust. When you talk to someone about personal topics or issues, you obviously have to trust them in some way. Otherwise, you would not want that person to know your weak point or think of you poorly. The fact that Morrie stated marks a clear sign of trust. You would automatically know if you trusted someone if you knew you could talk to them about your relationship together. If you feared that they would blame you or even broke off the relationship instead of hearing your opinion and trying to work together to solve it, then you obviously do not trust that person. Finally, the trust in real life relationships goes along with stunting in cheerleading, especially between the flyers and the people underneath. You don’t have to know all of the terminology and skills in stunting to know that there has to be a trust between the person in the air and the people putting the girl in the air. If the flyer does not trust the people underneath her, then she will not be willing to try new and harder stunts because of the fear that they will either not do it right or not catch her if she falls. If the bases and back do not trust the flyer, then they will not want to put her in the air based on the fear that she will purposefully fall and possibly hurt the people underneath. You have to make a bond between everyone in the stunt to make sure that everyone knows their part. Everyone has to know what to do and what not to do to make sure nobody physically gets hurt. In real life, you have to trust others in a relationship to make sure nobody gets mentally hurt.
Tuesdays with Morrie: Symbolism
“In the novel, Tuesdays with morrie, there are many important things that symbolize Morries life. Some of these are waves, his bed, food and the hibiscus plant outside his window. The waves represent his fear and understading of death, his bed represents the acceptance of his death, the food represents the time when he was not sick, and the hibiscus plant represents Morrie’s body.
Each of these things have a very powerful meaning to Morrie after he was diagnosed wih ALS because they represent his feelings and his journey through death. These symbols are important to Morries life and to his death.
In the novel, Morrie tells Mitch a story about a wave that saw other waves infront of him crash on the shore. The wave feared hitting the shore and dying; the wave felt better after another wave told him that he will not crash and die on the shore, but he will hit the shore and comeback to become part of something bigger. This wave represents Morries fear of dying, but he is also comforted by something else, his belief of him returning to something larger in the afterlife.The second wave says, ‘No, you don’t understand. You’re not a wave, you’re part of the ocean.’ I smile. Morrie closes his eyes again. Part of the ocean, he says, part of the ocean. I watch him breathe, in and out, in and out. (180) Morrie believes that just like the wave, when he dies he will make part of something bigger than himself. Morrie’s bed is also a very important detail in the story, it represents his acceptance of death.Morrie refuses to stay in bed, so most of the time he is on his chair in his study. He wants to live the days he has left to their fullest and be as happy as he can.””When you’re in bed, you’re dead”” (131).
Morrie beliefs that if he is to stay in bed, he is basically renouncing himself to death by giving up the pleasure he gets from being in his study, where he has memories that remind him of loved ones. He can see the outer world from his study but he cant go out, but he still feels alive in someway, because he is not giving himself up to the bed or death. That is until he gives up and accepts that its time to go to bed and give himself to death.
Tuesdays with Morrie: Themes
- 1 Themes
Life through death
After Mitch learned about Morrie’s situation, he began to visit him every day on Tuesday. Each visit was like a class and focused on learning about life while facing death. Morrie emphasizes that life is delicate and everyone should spend his life while doing important things like having close friends while loving life and family. He also says that being so close to death is what made him live to the fullest. Morrie says that a better method is to live every moment to its fullest and as if you could die at any time. Morrie also says that he will still be living partially even when he is dead, as the love and memories he gives are what will live on.
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The rejection of culture in favor of self-created values
Morrie contributes in a message of rejecting cultural values and instead develop his own. He says that popular culture is authoritarian in which the human community must suffer. Morrie encourages Mitch to free himself from cultural dictatorship which makes people lack happiness in favor of creating his own culture laid on acceptance, love and open communication. The author also creates his own subculture, believing that dependency and physical appearance is nothing to be ashamed of as everyone is the same and thus we should love each other equally although the culture lacked love and made one to feel threatened.
Acceptance through detachment
Morrie is able to step out of his physical surroundings into his own state of consciousness for the sake of gaining perspective in a stressful situation. He detaches himself from the experience when he suffers coughing spells and does not intend to stop feeling so. He wants to experience the situation entirely. He practices this often during life-threatening situations because he does not want to die upset or scared. He detaches himself so that he can be able to embrace his death easier since it is approaching and accept the situations in his life. He understands his memories will forever live on in others.
- 2 Self-Reflection
Tuesdays With Morrie Summary
Mitch Albom’s Tuesdays with Morrie captures the connection between a man and his college professor, Morrie Schwartz. Schwartz”a retired professor of sociology at Brandeis University”was once one of Mitch’s most respected educators. Furthermore, Tuesdays with Morrie was very effective in enlightening me that there are some really amazing people in this world.
I was very moved by the way Mitch presented Morrie. Also, I was inspired by the way that Mitch and Morrie were so quick to rekindle their relationship after sixteen years of no communication. I think that this is a very well written book. I was fascinated by the way the book jumped from past to present, showing how Mitch and Morrie connected when they were younger and how they connected while Morrie lay on his deathbed. I will inform you of the three life lessons that Morrie taught Mitch that spoke to me personally.
Albom takes a unique approach to his narrative” sometimes, he is focused on himself and the weight of Morrie’s lessons and how they changed his existence and path; in other chapters, Albom shifts his tone so that the given lesson strikes the heart of the reader, jumping from the pages and becoming deeply personal to a wider audience. On the Fourth Tuesday, he talks about Death. Both Mitch and Morrie defined death in their own opinions. Morrie states, “”Once you learn how to die, you learn how to live (Albom 82). Morrie repeats this a few times in the chapter speaking directly to Mitch. I think Morrie was speaking with the intention to get Mitch to understand how important this phrase is. I believe this because Mitch says, He was making sure I absorbed this point, without embarrassing me by asking (Albom 82). Morrie wanted Mitch to fully understand his statement. Mitch, on the other hand, states that we kid ourselves about death (Albom 81). He also asks Morrie, How can you ever be prepared to die (Albom 81)? This leads me to believe that Morrie was not afraid of death and Mitch is still frightened at the thought of what’s next in his life after a loved one dies. I know that Mitch loved Morrie so I can only imagine that Mitch had a tidal wave of emotions crashing inside his mind. Because Mitch does not portray his emotions very efficiently he seemed to be quite calm throughout Morrie’s illness. It was only toward the end of the book that Mitch cracked and shed tears for his beloved professor. I felt the same after my grandmother died. I had very mixed emotions when I found out she had passed on. I was distraught, angry, and frightened but I had this eerie sense of clarity. Like Mitch, I was calm when I found out and I think that is because I also do not portray my emotions efficiently. I believe that this connection to the audience’s lives was on purpose.
Additionally, on the Seventh Tuesday, he focuses on the fear of aging. Mitch reflected: “”At seventy-eight, he was giving as an adult and taking as a child”” (Albom 116). Morrie says this to Mitch describing how he went from being able to do everyday chores himself”such as taking out the trash, or checking the mail”to depending on other people. Most of humanity is afraid of dying, so we fill our lives with material items to try and mend the void in our hearts that fear gnaws at. Because we fear aging and withering into nothing we try to put our lives at the edge by doing dangerous acts while in our youth. Based on what I have read in the book, Morrie doesn’t try to fill his life with material objects such as fancy cars, a big house, or the newest clothes. I, too, am pulled into the modern life of envying the people with fancy cars, a big house, and the newest clothes but as Morrie says, Forget what culture says (Albom 116). I believe I should not be afraid of aging because I am only as old as I feel.
Finally, on the Eighth Tuesday, they discussed the limitations of money. Morrie stresses, “”We put our values in the wrong things. And it leads to very disillusioned lives”” (Albom 123-124). He refers to how money cannot buy the character traits that people value in others, such as humility, integrity, honesty, loyalty, and respect. Similarly, Morrie teaches that it is better to do something you love and make less money than it is to make more money and not enjoy what you are doing. Morrie weighs at the thought that our country thinks that more is good. In a deep conversation with Mitch, Morrie says Do you know how they brainwash people? They repeat something over and over. And that’s what we do in this country. Owning things is good. More money is good. More property is good. More commercialism is good. More is good. More is good (Albom 124). It is a sad truth that humanity thinks more is better or as Morrie states more is good. I think that people do not need money to be happy. I believe that happiness can be anywhere, happiness is where home is the limitations of money. I believe that I chose these lessons because I have encountered dilemmas with them in my life. As I mentioned earlier, I have encountered death first hand when my grandmother passed on. Just as Mitch felt mournful when Morrie died I, felt sad but calm when my grandmother died. The fear of aging is common in the lives of my peers. I also used to be afraid of aging, but when Mitch asked Morrie how he kept from envying the young, Morrie explained that he is not envious because he has already been there and done that. I agree with Morrie and so I that age is just a number and I am only as old as I feel. My final lesson is the importance of money. I think that it is important to have money but I do not think that it is wise to dedicate an entire life to making money and never spending time with your family. I believe that happiness can be found anywhere happiness is where home is.
Albom, Mitch. Tuesdays with Morrie: Twentieth Anniversary Edition. Broadway Books, 2017.