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Morrie, to whom the title of the novel refers, spent most of his life as a sociology professor at Brandeis University. He continues to teach as long as he can even after being diagnosed with ALS. He realizes that he is dying and learned to accept his death; he wanted to share his philosophies, on the meaning of life, with the world. He is successful in two ways, through the “Nightline” show with Ted Koppel and through Mitch Albom and this novel. He and Mitch met every Tuesday to do their “final thesis” together, which was published into Tuesdays With Morrie.
One of Morrie’s signature characteristics is his ability to draw human sprit and genuine emotion from everyone he befriends. He even draws tears out of Ted Koppel after they are done filming the last interview for the “Nightline” show. Morrie believes that love and compassion are crucial methods of communication. He is determined to see Mitch return to his caring self that he was in college when in Morrie’s class. During their meetings, he tells Mitch stories about his life and about his personal beliefs; he teaches him to reject pop-culture beliefs and to create his own values based on compassion and what he can offer others. Through their weeks together Morrie is also successful at drawing 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. It’s as if he has returned to his childhood and is finally getting the love and compassion he so longed for as a young boy.
Mitch 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 has become very disillusioned and has since devoted 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 paycheck. Since his visits with Morrie and the strike, he becomes very frustrated with his career decisions, materialistic mentality and the way he treats his relationships. Through his meetings with Morrie, he realizes that he must change this life in which he thought he was happy. He wants another chance to reassess his values and priorities so that he can create a fulfilling life for himself before it is too late.
Through his meetings with Morrie, he has learned how much of his life he has wasted consumed in his work. After listening to Morrie’s 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 would like to value love instead of money and accept people over pop-culture and media gossip. Morrie was successful at penetrating Mitch’s ignorance and allows Mitch to see life in a whole new perspective.
PLOT STRUCTURE ANALYSIS
Albom wrote the plot very straightforward with little ambiguity and complicated historical references. He has a tendency to include flashbacks to his college years from when he was a student of Morrie’s; he does this to give background on his once, slightly naïve and less materialistic self, so the readers have a clear conception of the person he has become in the following sixteen years. He also does this to emphasize Morrie’s loving and compassionate values that he has always tried to express through his teachings.
Mitch feels so thankful to have had Morrie in his life; for he has helped bring value and purpose into Mitch’s life. Through the plot Mitch wishes to express how Morrie has changed his life, through these Tuesday lessons; also, Morrie wishes to express his teachings and values to the world and he was able to do that through Mitch and this novel.