Albom connects with his Brandeis sociology professor 16 years after graduating from college. Morrie, recently diagnosed with ALS and quickly slipping away, has one last class to teach Mitch – how to have a meaningful life, from the perspective of a dying man with nothing left to lose. He teaches Mitch important lessons about forgiveness, giving to others, letting love in, and rejecting the importance society puts on wealth, fame, and beauty. Throughout these Tuesday lessons, Mitch comes to understand important truths about living and dying, and he finds himself letting go of his pride and vanity. Tuesdays with Morrie is one of the most important books to read in the classroom today, because it encompasses exactly what English teachers are trying to do: to teach our students how to become good people, using lessons from literature and life.
Morrie as an Everyman Hero in Tuesdays with Morrie - heroes journey
SCARED, BUT DETERMINED
Even though Morrie is diagnosed with a devastating disease, he faces it with purpose, and finds a way to share his experiences beyond his death by working with Mitch on their “final thesis” together. He is afraid sometimes, but he acknowledges the fear, detaches, and doesn’t let it take over.
While Morrie has coughing fits that leave him gasping for air, and even as he becomes more weak, he still makes sure he is ready for Mitch every Tuesday to get his message and lessons onto the tape recorder. It is this sense of purpose that gives Morrie strength.
Morrie is a well-loved teacher, husband, and father to all who know him. He puts his family first. Even though his own father was a silent man, he made sure to shower his own sons with affection. He is honest and trustworthy, and he follows his heart, even if it means rejecting society’s standards about what is important.
STANDS UP FOR BELIEFS
Everyone gets an A!
Make love, not war!
MORRIE AS AN EVERYMAN HERO
During the Vietnam War, Morrie was so fiercely opposed to the war that he and other members of the sociology department at Brandeis gave their male students As so that they could keep their deferments. It may not have been ethical, but it was something that Morrie believed in strongly.
Morrie wants to delve into Mitch’s life and what is bothering him. He knows Mitch is unhappy because he is unfulfilled by only focusing on his work. Morrie knows that Mitch's brother in Spain is battling cancer, and Mitch doesn’t know how to reach out to him. Morrie cares as much about Mitch’s struggles as he does about his own.