Tuesdays with Morrie is a short narrative dealing with the last few months of an amazing man's life, Morrie Schwartz. Mitch Ablom, the author, has written this novel documenting his experience of spending every Tuesday, of Morrie's last months, with him. It is a sad, yet inspiring chronicle concerning the great relationship built between the two men, an everlasting one that will last forever. In Tuesdays with Morrie, Mitch learns from his college professor, Morrie, that he needs to reassess his life, to value love over money and happiness over success. Essentially, the Tuesdays represent the days that Mitch used to visit his ailing professor after being diagnosed by the terminal ASL. Hence, the days were full of lessons about life. The book epitomizes the final days of Morrie Schwartz and how the days transformed the life of Mitch through the lessons. Mitch learnt a lot from the professor.
Morrie Schwartz was a smart professor who was struck with ALS. He believed in many things and his aphorisms are what kept him on his feet. He taught Mitch about love, death, and life and how to live it to the fullest. He also taught him how to appreciate life and everything that comes with it. In the novel, Morrie's aphorisms are his everyday life lessons. The meetings included discussions on everything from the world when you enter it to the world when you say goodbye. From the relationship that these men had with each other, a love is revealed like no other love resembles. This is the love of friendship and of respect. Such a bond between people is difficult to achieve. Their relationship consists of an "unembarrassed love" that is constantly present. Morrie Schwartz was a man of great wisdom who loved and enjoyed to see and experience a simplicity of life, something beyond life's most challenging and unanswered mysteries.
"The most important thing in life is to learn how to give out love, and to let it come in." (Morrie 52) Morrie tells this to Mitch during the first Tuesday. Throughout the novel, Morrie emphasizes the importance of giving out love and showing affection. He thinks that a lot of people feel that they do not deserve love and if they let love in, they become too soft. He quotes Levine in saying, "love is the only rational act." (52) Morrie's mother died when he was very young and his father was often working and not interested in showing affection toward Morrie and his brother. When Eva came into their house she provided them with all the motherly love of which they had been deprived. Morrie realized just how important it is to be compassionate towards others and emphasized that for the remainder of his life.
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In order to epitomize the inherent lessons that he leant from Morrie, Mitch invokes the past through the use of flashbacks. "...we've had thirty-five years of friendship. You don't need speech or hearing to feel that," (Mitch 71). The flashbacks used not only take the reader back to the background of the story but also exposes the true connotation of Mitch's experience. At a certain point he states that "I've learned this much about marriage. You get tested. You find out who you are, who the other person is, and how you accommodate or don't," (Mitch 149). Perhaps this was a very significant lesson for Albom who was struggling with the issue of family. At a certain age the author had ignored his family for work thinking that his final happiness will come from work.
The professor further consolidates his lesson by stating that, "So many people walk around with a meaningless life. They seem half-asleep, even when they're busy doing things they think are important. This is because they're chasing the wrong things. The way you get meaning into your life is to devote yourself to loving others, devote yourself to your community around you, and devote yourself to creating something that gives you purpose and meaning," (Mitch 43).
As one of the major themes in the novel, Morrie discusses that if we do not have love, we do not have anything at all. "If you don't have the support and love and caring and concern that you get from a family, you don't have much at all. Love is so supremely important." (Morrie 91) He then quotes Auden in saying, "Love each other or perish" (91). Morrie feels that if he did not have his family around him, during his sickness, it would be much harder for him. He feels safe knowing his family will never leave and always be watching out for him. He feels that the love between family members goes hand and hand with letting someone know that there will always be someone there for them, someone always watching over them. This is also one of the things Morrie missed after his mother died. He refers to this as "spiritual security" (92) knowing that your family will constantly be watching over you.
"The truth is, you don't get satisfaction from those things. You know what really gives you satisfaction? ... Offering others what you have to give." (Morrie 126) Morrie says this during the eighth Tuesday when he and Mitch discuss money. "...those things", to which Morrie is referring, are money and materialistic possessions. He feels that living a full life and being satisfied means offering other people what we each have to give. By this Morrie means giving your time and concern to others. He several examples such as playing cards with an elderly person in a hospital and donating some time to teach a skill at the senior center. Morrie feels that there are so many people who are in need of some compassion and if we all offer some time to give it, we will find a new respect for ourselves. He states that devoting ourselves to loving others, and to the community gives us purpose and meaning.
"Forgive yourself before you die. Then forgive others." (Morrie 166) On the twelfth Tuesday Morrie and Mitch discuss forgiveness. Morrie sees no point in holding any kind of vengeance or stubbornness. He then admits that he has had some pride in his life and regrets it. He recalled a story about his old friend Norman with who he used to spend much time. After Norman and his wife moved to Chicago, Morrie's wife, Charlotte, had to undergo a serious operation. Norman never contacted Morrie or Charlotte even though they knew about the operation. This hurt Morrie and Charlotte so much that they decided to drop their relationship with Norman. Norman tried to apologize and reconcile but Morrie never accepted his apology. After Norman died, Morrie regretted how he never forgave him. Morrie therefore, feels that we need to also forgive ourselves for the things we should have done. He explains that we can't get stuck on regrets of what should have happened. He advises to make peace with yourself and those around you.
"Death ends a life, not a relationship." (Morrie 174) Morrie states that as long as we can love each other and remember this feeling of love, we can die without ever going away because all of the love we have created will still remain. He states that after we die, we live on in the hearts of everyone we have touched and nurtured while we were on earth. This also emphasizes and expands on Morrie's concept of always giving love and compassion; if we are able to form these loving relationships while we are on earth, not only will we live more fulfilled and substantial lives, but when we die our love and relationship will remain in the hearts of those who we love. At the end of the novel, during Morrie's funeral, Mitch has an internal conversation with Morrie. He feels very comfortable and serine in the conversation. This is because he and Morrie had expressed their love and compassion for one another during Morrie's life, and now their relationship is in each others hearts.
Morrie believed that love meant immortality. Even if your physical body is gone, if people can remember the love you gave them, they will feel it, and you'll still be here in the form of that love. You will live on in their hearts and memories. So give as much love as you can when you are here. You will feel good at the time, and people will remember it long after you are gone.
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