Tuesdays with Morrie Brief Summary
‘Tuesdays with Morrie’ by Mitch Albom is the story of the and his rekindled relationship with his former college Morrie Schwartz, in the final months of Morrie’s life. Morrie, who taught Mitch at Brandies University, became a mentor to the author before he was to become an ambitious award-winning and acclaimed sportswriter. Nearly two decades later, the two came together again as Mitch learned from an episode of “Nightline” that Morrie was critically ill from ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis), commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, a condition which cripples the individual’s ability to control their own muscles until they waste away. Because Mitch was still relatively young and in good health, he felt an obligation to visit his sick mentor before the time would arise where he could no longer reach out to his elder. The title of this book arises from the former student’s weekly visits to his former teacher’s home, which occur on Tuesdays. Mitch refers to these visits as the “last class”, a reference to their college relationship. These meetings are similar to their classes of decades earlier, in which Morrie plays the role of the older, wiser, patient elder who speaks of profound aspects of living daily life in his attempt to deliver universal life lessons, and Mitch plays the role of the younger, eager, studious pupil who deciphers the teachers message in an attempt to make it applicable to his daily life. However, the inevitable day arrives when Morrie passes away from his ailment. Mitch, while saddened from the loss of his mentor, appreciates the time the spent with each other during the twilight of his former professor’s life and leaves with a new perspective on life, as well as a best-selling and award-winning novel as his personal tribute to the life of Morrie.
Mitch’s and Morrie’s relationship flourished because they each had numerous similar sociological characteristics. They are both white males. As a college student and a college professor at a prominent university, they came from similar economic classes. And since their relationship was sparked at a young age for Mitch and once again at an elderly age for Morrie, it is likely that possessed similar interests and views towards love, relationships, commitments, money, society and what is most important in the world. Therefore, the only significant difference between them is their age.
Similar to their college experience and how their connection initially began, the relationship between Mitch and Morrie evolves into one of the pupils and the tutor later in their lives. Mitch approaches his weekly visits with Morrie with an open and eager mind to study everything which Morrie attempts to teach him. On the other end, Morrie is just as eager to spend quality time with a young and eager listener and learner who would take his advice to heart and utilize it long after Morrie’s illness takes him away from the world.
In Western society, age comes with numerous negative connotations, particularly towards one’s physical appearance and mental capabilities. The aspect of physical appearance is displayed in the multi-million dollar industries of cosmetics, plastic surgery, and clothing which appear to turn back the clock for the consumer. The mental capabilities of the elderly often portrayed in the media as a negative, particularly focusing on motor vehicle accidents and elderly individuals’ inability to drive a car once they reach a certain age. However, Tuesdays with Morrie displays the positives to aging, including the acquiring of wisdom and respect through many years and the building of relationships between individuals, even if they are forced through limited time left to create or recreate the relationship.
While many Eastern societies revere the elderly as the leaders of the immediate family due to their wisdom, Western societies sometimes view their elderly family members as a burden, placing them in retirement communities or employing home hospice nurses to watch over them on a daily basis. Mitch’s relationship with Morrie defies this stereotype, although only on a once a week basis, as he respects his elder, particularly due to the wisdom he has accumulated over a long life. Instead of viewing his Tuesday visits as an obligation like some immediate family members may have felt, Mitch was not obligated by familial bonds to visit with Morrie but instead felt the necessity to visit him simply because he was such an important figure to the development of his young life which helped him to become the success he would later grow into.
Tuesdays with Morrie are the interesting, thought-provoking and emotional portrayal of the unique relationship between the youth and the elderly in Western society. The youth latches on to his elder as a source of invaluable wisdom which he possesses pertaining to many of the most important aspects of the human experience, and the elder finds comfort in the companionship from spending quality time with the youth who is eager to learn. This book shows that despite the differences in age between two individuals, the commonalities between them can overcome this gap and cause their relationship to flourish until the end of life.