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Literature / Tuesdays with Morrie

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An old man, a young man, and life's greatest lesson.
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Tuesdays with Morrie was written by Mitch Albom. It is the true story of the author's relationship with his favorite professor from college, Morrie Schwartz.

When Morrie was diagnosed with ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig's disease, he did not despair over it. "Instead, he would make death his final project, the center point of his days...Morrie would walk that final bridge between life and death, and narrate the trip."

For years Mitch Albom had nearly forgotten his college days and his favorite college professor. Then one night, while he was flipping through the channels on TV, he saw Morrie being interviewed on "Nightline." Mitch Albom decided to visit his old professor, and he and Morrie began meeting regularly, on Tuesdays, to talk about many topics, including:

  • Regrets
  • Death
  • Family
  • Emotions
  • The Fear of Aging
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  • Money
  • Love
  • Marriage
  • Forgiveness

Throughout the book are flashbacks to Mitch and Morrie's relationship while Mitch was a college student. There are also autobiographical elements as Mitch talks about his life, and biographical elements as Morrie's life and past are talked about.

Tropes used in this book include:

  • An Aesop: A hallmark of Albom's books.
  • And I Must Scream: How ALS is (rather accurately) described; the affected can still feel pain and think just as well as a healthy person, but yet can't move at all as their body deteriorates and rots away around them.
  • Broken Pedestal: An athlete that Mitch reports on is seen as a great football prospect. A little while later it's revealed that the guy got drunk and crashed his car into a tree and got arrested. The kid remarks on his way into court that if the college takes away the scholarship he got, his life is over. Mitch is very candid in remarking on how badly the kid screwed up.
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  • But for Me, It Was Tuesday: Discussed somewhat. When Morrie walks out of the office of the doctor who diagnoses him with ALS, he ponders about how while he received this tragic news the world just keeps going about business as usual.
  • Cool Old Guy: Morrie.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Morrie, at some points. When interviewed on TV and asked about his biggest worry about his disease, for example, he rather bluntly states that it's that someday "somebody is going to have to wipe my ass."
  • Jerkass: Mitch seems like this in the movie version. He's a reporter and is very candid in his coverage of such stories as a promising football recruit getting drunk and crashing his car, then being taken to court. He is also part of a media storm surrounding a foreign athlete having an affair with another woman, insults him during the press conference, then joins in on the rest of the journalists running after him when the athlete tries to leave inconspicuously with his girlfriend.
  • Joke and Receive: Morrie makes an offhand joke about needing someone to "wipe his ass" someday. Weeks later, his condition ends up worsening to the point where that is indeed true, and he knows it.
    Morrie Schwartz: "I passed a landmark. Remember what I said about someday somebody havin' to wipe my ass? I'm there."
  • Manly Tears: In the back part of the book.
  • Meaningful Name: Morrie comes from the Hebrew for "my teacher".
  • Politically Motivated Teacher: Morrie was said to have been very much an activist, even giving his students all A grades during The Vietnam War to prevent them from being drafted.

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