Tuesdays with Morrie Plot Summary
The Occupational Therapy Practice Framework was designed to cater and affirm occupational therapy’s sole focus on the daily life activities and occupation in addition to the application of an intervention process that aids in engagement in occupation to boost participation in life. People with a life limiting-life threatening illness often find it difficult to participate in daily occupations (Kielhofner, 2002). This is a result of a decline in their sensory, motor, communication, emotional or cognitive skills. Morrie suffers from a life-threatening illness in Tuesdays with Morrie. Tuesdays with Morrie is a non-fiction book by Mitch Alborn in 1997. It is based on Mitch’s experiences and interaction with an old man (Morrie Schwartz). Morrie was Mitch’s college sociology professor. This chronicle speaks about Mitch’s interaction with Morrie as the professor was about to die. Therefore, this paper will analyze three areas of occupation that Morrie is engaged in. Subsequently, the paper will identify how the areas of occupation change throughout the story. Moreover, the paper will give a little background on Tuesdays with Morrie.
Morrie retires from teaching only after he commences suffering from Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS). This is a life-threatening illness that will hinder him from participating normally in his daily occupations. Morrie is the main character in this book and he has been a sociology professor for most of his life at Brandeis University. He landed this position by “default”. Morrie is a good and exceptional teacher. Morrie’s mind and the brain are as clear as ever despite the disease ravaging his whole body (Alborn, 1997). According to Morrie’s doctor, the disease would commence from Morrie’s legs upwards. Also, it was incurable. Morrie decides to share his knowledge and wisdom about the meaning of life before he dies. This is because he realizes that he is running out of time. The role of occupational therapy is to aid clients suffering from life-threatening illnesses like Morrie to find relief from pain and suffering. Moreover, occupational therapy attempts to improve the patient’s quality of life by giving them support in their daily life occupations that patients find purposeful and meaningful.
Morrie engages in the following three areas of occupation: Activities of daily living (ADL), education, and social participation. The activities of daily living are the specific activities that are aimed towards taking care of one’s own body. They can be also referred to as basic activities of daily living. Morrie engages in various basic activities of daily living. According to Albom (1997), Morrie’s functional mobility is limited as a result of the disease starting from his legs upwards. He moves from one position to another in a wheelchair during the performance of his daily activities. However, he is able to eat without any help. Furthermore, Morrie can bring food from the cup or plate to his mouth (feeding). However, this ability seems to deteriorate as time progresses. As time goes by, he finds it hard to depend on other people for the provision of his basic necessities since he has always been an independent man. However, he refuses to be ashamed of his physical disabilities and attempts to enjoy life as a baby again. He lacked love and attention in his childhood. Once again, he finds himself relying on others as he did during his infancy. Morrie thrives on physical affection and love which is given by friends or family.
Another area of occupation in which Morrie involved himself in before his condition worsened is formal educational participation before his condition worsened. He continued to teach whilst being sick. Nevertheless, he decided to retire after his condition worsened. After retirement from formal teaching, Morrie immersed himself in informal personal education participation. He commenced personally teaching Mitch about life and airing his opinions openly. For example, Morrie chose to oppose and speak out against cultural norms that are popular. This shows that Morrie is accepting his imminent death and debilitating disease. He has loved and lived to his fullest in his life and he vows to continue to do so until he dies. Inconsequent Tuesdays Morrie and Mitch discuss various issues about life. They talk about the world’s problems and how they tend to influence one’s thinking and development of a positive view of the world. Morrie discusses possessing remorseful feelings in oneself on the second Tuesday. Mitch realizes that he is unhappy and stressed because of the Detroit strike. Additionally, he realizes that there are other things going wrong in his life. For example, the plane arrives late for him. On the other hand, Morrie sometimes feels unhappy when he ponders on the state of his life. He cries when he reflects on the good things in life and the people who love him. In addition to this, he reflects on the parts of his body which he is still able to move. Morrie tends to teach people to be compassionate about themselves even when faced with daunting difficulties and challenges. He continues meeting with Mitch on Tuesdays until the time he bid him goodbye. Morrie was a good teacher since he left behind a different, changed and happier Mitch.
The third occupational activity Morrie engages himself in is social participation. These are activities that encompass social interaction with others (Kielhofner, 2002). Morrie interacts with his audience via ABC’s Nightline program. He engages himself in community participation through this television program. Morrie has an uncanny way of reaching out to the essence of each and every person he befriends. Consequently, he is able to deconstruct the journalist (Koppel) who is a national celebrity. He accomplishes this by questioning Koppel on what he thinks is close and dear to his heart. Morrie utilizes the concept of love as his primary communication method. While in college, Mitch had often interacted with Morrie. However, upon graduation, they parted ways with Mitch promising to always keep in touch. He did not honor this promise. Moreover, Morrie aims to pass his wisdom to a larger audience in the form of the book itself upon his death. This is community participation. During Morrie’s dying days, he and Mitch plan on the book. They refer to it as their final thesis together. Morrie continued to do so until his last times when he bids Mitch goodbye.
Morrie is diagnosed with a life-threatening incurable disease that hinders him from participating in daily occupations. However, despite being ill, Morrie engages himself in activities of daily living (ADL), education, and social participation. Morrie derives a lot of joy and satisfaction from engaging in these activities. The sense of self-worth he derives from teaching Mitch and the world at large is immeasurable. The value lies not so much in the activities he engages himself in, but in having control over a part of his life.
Alborn, M. (1997). Tuesdays with Morrie.
Kielhofner, G. (2002). A model of human occupation: Theory and application. Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.