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A Critique of Tuesdays with Mo

Oct 08, 1999 759 Words
When my parents first told me that it would be a good idea for me to read Tuesdays With Morrie, my perception of the memoir was that it was an account of an old man dying. This did not seem, to me, to be the most interesting topic to read about. I reluctantly began the book and soon became quite involved with the novel’s insightful progression. I initially thought I would construct a typical review of the novel and hand it in for a good grade. I then asked myself if I would learn anything by writing a summary. Two answers became evident. The first was that, of course, I would learn how to write yet another book report. The second was that I would not benefit at all from simply summarizing the memoir. I came to the conclusion that by focusing my paper on that which Morrie so eloquently taught the reader, both me and my teacher would gain insight and understanding about living life to it’s fullest. Morrie’s message was, in short, not to become preoccupied with death and dying, but to live the life that you still have left in a meaningful and rewarding way. He believed that although death would soon take him, he wanted to teach others and share his ideas so that they could be passed on to future generations. Mitch Albom is an alumnus of Brandeis University, where Morrie Schwartz taught for many years. Morrie left a lasting impression on Mitch and that impression is what eventually motivated Mitch to return to his wise professor. Mitch rediscovered Morrie in the last months of the older man’s life. Knowing he was dying, Morrie visited with Mitch every Tuesday in his study, just as they had done in college days. Morrie taught Mitch his final lesson: how to live. Morrie and Mitch’s relationship went far beyond that of a teacher and student. It turned into a friendship between two men. Morrie taught Mitch innumerable lessons about the world, feeling sorry for oneself, regrets, death, family, emotions, fear of aging, money, how love goes on, marriage, culture, forgiveness, and saying good-bye. Morrie never wanted sympathy from Mitch; only an open mind and heart. Morrie discussed his philosophies on life with Mitch and encouraged him to do the same. Morrie shared his strengths and his weaknesses with his student, allowing him to open up to his old professor in a way that would help him to recharge his existing life. Mitch’s life was greatly impacted by the wisdom that Morrie shared with him. As a result, he knew where his life was headed and he said good-bye to his old friend believing that the future held great opportunities for a meaningful life. “The last class of my old professor’s life took place once a week, in his home, by a window in his study where he could watch a small hibiscus plant shed its pink flowers. The class met on Tuesdays. No books were required. The subject was the meaning of life. It was taught from experience.” Morrie Schwartz saw life as a reason to learn, to teach, and to experience. He reveled in the excitement of being able to share his ideas with someone. He did not think of death as an end, as a final farewell. He viewed the end of his life as a new beginning and an opportunity for reflection. The last line of this memoir reads “the teaching goes on.” Morrie wanted people to continue learning from him even after he was gone. After reading this account I can truly say that Morrie’s dream was accomplished. Morrie’s lessons were not only aimed at his student; they were aimed at a broad spectrum of people. Morrie was able to speak to the masses as easily as he was able to speak to one person. This novel touches each person who reads it in a new and interesting way. At times I felt as though it was I sitting in Morrie’s messy study, intently listening to his every word, learning from his every move. As I look back on my remarks, I realize that my parents were right in their assumption that this was a book I should read. In the seemingly brief 192 page memoir, I was able to extract a plethora of lessons that I will forever hold in the highest regard and reverence.

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