Tension of Opposites

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Scott Buchanan
Mrs. Poma
English Honors / Block H
28 May 2009
Tension of Opposites
One of the greatest aspects of humanity is that no two people are identical; rather, every individual has his own perspective, beliefs, and ideas. This discrepancy among opinions is the basis for all conflicts and arguments. However, these conflicts can be beneficial, as two opposing sides may negotiate with each other to reach a verdict that is more acceptable than either of the sides’ views alone. In Tuesdays with Morrie, written by Mitch Albom, this universal concept is described by Morrie as the “tension of opposites,” and it frequently occurs in society as well as within the novel itself.

Mitch experiences this theme firsthand in the novel as his personality before reuniting with Morrie severely contrasts with his personality thereafter. Before his vital realization with Morrie, Mitch was obsessed with work. He was “cranked to a fifth gear,” as he “buried [himself] in accomplishments, because with accomplishments… [he] could squeeze in every last piece of happiness before [he] got sick and died,” (p16-17). However, Mitch arrogantly believed that wealth and success would lead to his happiness, while friends and relations were merely obstacles. Through these ideologies, Mitch became conceited and snobbish. Once he encountered Morrie, however, he saw the errors of his ways and decided to turn over a new leaf. No longer did he strive to achieve immense accomplishments, but rather be thankful for what he already had. He learned that money is not nearly as important as friendship and family. This sharp contrast between his two personalities represents two sides of society: those who are greedy and strive for “synthetic” happiness, and those who truly understand what is important and achieve genuine happiness. Thus, the “tension of opposites” that existed between Mitch’s initial personality and Morrie’s personality allowed Mitch to straighten out his priorities and improve...
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