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TUESDAYS WITH MORRIE FREE ONLINE STUDY GUIDE
The Audiovisual, Part Two/ The Professor
The “Nightline” show did a follow-up story and Ted Koppel once again interviewed Morrie. He mainly asked him what he will do when he can no longer speak and move his hands.
Morrie then read a letter that he wrote back to one of the viewers and we find out that Morrie lost his mother when he was a child.
Albom then presents us with Morrie’s childhood background.
This is Ted Koppel’s second visit with Morrie and we can already see he is more comfortable around Morrie; he did not preinterview Morrie, he spoke with ease and did not wear his jacket during the interview.
We also see Morrie, for the first time, express his sadness about feeling lonely. We find out that his mother died when he was a child over seventy years ago. Morrie gets very upset and Ted Koppel seemed slightly surprised that his pain continued that much seventy years later.
Morrie’s mother died when he was eight years old. Morrie had to break the news to his father, who spoke minimal English. After her death Morrie severely lacked love and compassion from another. He also learned that his brother was terminally ill with polio. Thinking all of this was his fault, Morrie began going to the synagogue to pray for his mother and his sick brother.
The next year he gained a step-mother named Eva. She treated Morrie and his brother like her own children, feeding them, singing to them and kissing the two good night. Eva greatly valued education, for during this time was the Great Depression; education seemed like the only path to a job. Eva also took classes to improve her English; she served as a great educational inspiration to Morrie.
At the end of the chapter Eva asks Morrie what he wants to do for his career. It seems as though he became a professor by default; however, we can see, from this background information, that Eva served as a key factor in Morrie’s love for education. It only seems fitting that he chose a career in academia.
The Fourth Tuesday
Morrie is now becoming dependant on an oxygen machine but still meets Mitch on this fourth Tuesday. They discuss death and how most people do not believe that they are ever going to die. Morrie tells Mitch that once one learns how to die, they learn how to live.
With this said, Morrie asks Mitch that if he could accept the fact that he could die at any time, would he still work as much as he does. He suggests that Mitch find some sort of spiritual development.
Morrie explains to Mitch how he is able to see life differently now that he has accepted that he may die at any time. He says, “Everyone knows they’re going to die, but nobody believes it” (81). He feels that if people, in general, were able to believe that they could die at any moment, that they would live their lives differently. Morrie feels that we need to be prepared and learn how to die before we can learn how to live.
Morrie asks Mitch that if he could accept the fact that he could die at any time, if he would still be ambitious as he was. Mitch smiles and we can infer that he would answer that question by saying he would not live so quickly and busy.
The Fifth Tuesday
This Tuesday Morrie and Mitch discuss family and children. Morrie again emphasizes the importance of love, especially love from a family. He feels that if he did not have the love and support from his family, that he would have nothing at all.
Morrie then discusses the joy he had in raising a family and asks about Mitch’s own family.
Mitch has a younger brother who was always a family favorite. He moved to Europe after high school and caught pancreatic cancer just as their uncle had. His brother would not allow any of the family members to help him while he battled cancer, which made Mitch angry.
Mitch then recalls a memory of him and his brother sledding when they were children. The sled went in front of a car and the boys jumped off to safety. The two were filled with pride at having just skipped death.
As Mitch looks around Morrie’s study he notices the many pictures of his family. In on particular picture, one of Morrie’s sons is kissing him. Throughout the novel so far Morrie has emphasized continuously, humans’ need for affection and compassion. Morrie is very openly affectionate with those around him which seems to be contagious. We can see from the pictures that Morrie raised his family to also appreciate this importance of love and compassion.
Morrie also describes his experience from having children. He feels that having children is learning to love and bond in the deepest way. It is apparent that Mitch has a void in his life and that is because he has never experienced this ultimate type of love.
Mitch recalls and instance where he and his brother were near death when their sled skidded in front of a car. Their friends who saw thought it was “cool” that they “could have died” (99). Albom states at the end of the chapter, “that wasn’t so hard, we think, and we are ready to take on death again” (99). This causes us to reflect back on what Morrie said earlier about believing that we will die one day. Although Mitch and his brother could have died, they did not believe in the possibility of them dying. Mitch thus continued to never learn how to live his life. Had Mitch believed that he could have actually died, and he may at any time, we can assume that he would have lived his life entirely different from that day forward.