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.
Tuesdays with Morrie Themes Symbols Motifs lesson plan
THE HIBISCUS PLANT
The Final Thesis
THE O.J. SIMPSON TRIAL
The hibiscus plant in Morrie’s study is small, but durable, and while Morrie withers, the plant holds on. Morrie uses the plant to demonstrate that people are connected with nature, and people and plants both die. The thing that separates humans from the plants is that humans have a chance to be remembered because of the love we create and share.
Every Tuesday, Mitch brings food from the local supermarket with him when he visits Morrie. It reminds them of their lunches they used to have back when Mitch was a student, and Mitch enjoys the fact that Morrie is not particularly careful while he eats.
Morrie’s story is told to Mitch as a “final thesis”. Albom structures the memoir as a final class, where each Tuesday meeting covers a different topic. Morrie wants to be remembered as a “Teacher to the Last,” and he values his time with Mitch as an opportunity to share lessons from his “experiment” with dying.
As Mitch is visiting Morrie in his final months, it is right in the middle of the O.J. Simpson murder trial. Mitch often sees coverage of the trial on different TVs during his travels. Mitch uses the trial to juxtapose the fact that the entire country is concerned with a murder trial, but no one is really focusing on living for what matters, like Morrie.