A Critical Lens Essay About the Novel Tuesdays With Morrie by Mitch Albom

Last Updated: 28 Feb 2023
Essay type: Critical Lens
Pages: 4 Views: 156

Johann Wolfgang van Goethe once said "Life teaches us to be less harsh with ourselves and with others." This quote is saying that the experiences we face during our lives can lighten our hearts and help us develop more sympathy. Struggles and misfortunes let us appreciate the good times in our life and we can realize that we don't have to be so critical of ourselves or the people around us. This quote can be proven true through the poignant novel Tuesdays with Morrie by Mitch Albom. The author employs the literary devices of man vs. self conflict, characterization, and aphorism to express the meaning of this quote.

Tuesdays with Morrie is the true story that reviews the author's lessons fro meetings with his favorite professor, Morrie Schwartz. After years of separation, Mitch is reunited with his beloved professor when he finds out that Morrie is afflicted by the degenerative disease known as Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis. This disease has been gradually ravaging Morrie's body and preventing him from doing the things he loves the most.

The divergence between Morrie's preserved mental awareness and declining physical ability results in an internal conflict that he must confront. His mind wants to act, but his body can not. Morrie deals with this issue by coming to terms with his situation and accepting it. He doesn't let the disease thrust him into depression; rather, he utilizes the time he has to teach others to be happy through his life experiences. Towards the end of the novel, Morrie states to Mitch, "Forgive yourself. Forgive others. Don't wait, Mitch. Not everyone gets the time I'm getting" (167). This quote describes the lesson Morrie has learned through his internal conflict. By stating he is "lucky", he shows that he is viewing his eventual fate as a blessing, proving his resolution to the conflict.

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Morrie expresses this belief of being easy on yourself and others throughout the book, which indicates that the hardships and turmoil he has faced in his life have taught him compassion. Clearly, the quote by Wolfgang van Goethe and the internal conflict faced by Morrie convey the same message of consideration through life ordeals.

The author, Mitch Albom, spends a lot of time describing Morrie's physical and personality traits throughout the novel. His use of direct characterization through statements and indirect characterization through Morrie's actions allows us to feel as if we knew Morrie personally. Morrie is characterized as a short, tiny man who has a huge heart. He is a ball of energy and wisdom who taught his students at a personal level, touching their souls individually. Morrie was aging when the author first met him, but in the setting of the book fifteen years later, he is even older.

This emphasis on Morrie's age and long life demonstrates how much experience he has under his belt. Because of his age, he has gained wisdom and understands that most people take life too seriously, focusing on the small things and not seeing the big picture. By recapping stories of Morrie's life, the author indirectly characterizes Morrie as an optimist who saw the bright side of his sorrows growing up. An example of indirect characterization would be when Mitch states that his friends call him "Mitch" instead of "Mitchell" and Morrie replies with "I hope that one day you will think of me as your friend." Mitch had been thrown off guard by being asked what name he preferred, showing that he typically saw teachers as people who were too formal and indifferent about the personal matters of students. Through this action, Morrie shows that he is being less harsh with other people and trying to be friendly instead. Throughout his life, Morrie turned his misfortunes into advantages, the same way he treats his degenerative disease. Since Morrie is characterized as a kind, empathetic person, it can be seen how the quote from Mr. Wolfgang van Goethe relates to Morrie's life as it is described in the novel.

Throughout the novel, Morrie is shown to spend his time coming up with aphorisms. These aphorisms, or short sayings that have deep meanings, help Morrie get through difficult times. For example, Morrie likes to repeat his aphorism "Once you're in bed, you're dead" to express his belief that once you lose your mobility, you are giving up on life. Of all the aphorisms Morrie creates, the most applicable one has to be "Learn to forgive yourself and to forgive others" (18). This aphorism is Morrie's way of saying that forgiveness is essential if you want your life to be truly fulfilled. If we don't hold onto harsh grudges with ourselves or others, we will be able to attain happiness in the last moments of our life, the same way Morrie has. Morrie has realized this over his long life, further proving the truth in Wolfgang van Goethe's quote. The connection between Morrie's aphorism and the aforementioned quote is a vital tie in this novel. The aphorism and the quote are plainly communicating the same point to the reader.

All in all, the quote by Johann Wolfgang van Goethe explains how our journey through life gives us the wisdom to understand compassion and kindness towards others. This relationship between life experience and treatment of ourselves or others is portrayed through the novel Tuesdays with Morrie by Mitch Albom. The subject character of the novel, Morrie Schwartz, exemplifies the meaning of this quote through his everlasting empathy and consideration, even through his suffering. The author's use of the literary devices man vs. self conflict, characterization, and aphorism prove the message if Wolfgang van Goethe's quote.

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A Critical Lens Essay About the Novel Tuesdays With Morrie by Mitch Albom. (2023, Feb 16). Retrieved from https://phdessay.com/a-critical-lens-essay-about-the-novel-tuesdays-with-morrie-by-mitch-albom/

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