Table of Contents | Message Board | Downloadable/Printable Version
QUOTES - IMPORTANT QUOTATIONS AND ANALYSIS
1.) "Once you learn how to die, you learn how to live." (82) - Morrie
Morrie says this during the fourth Tuesday when he and Mitch discuss death. Morrie feels that people refuse to believe that they will one day die, and therefore, do not live there lives as fully as they would have liked and also have many regrets as they become older and their death becomes closer. He feels that once we learn and accept that we are one day going to die, we learn to live our lives fully and without any regrets. Morrie repeats this quote frequently throughout the chapter to emphasize how important and helpful it is to accept death, and what a benefit it would be to living the remainder of our lives. Morrie also wants Mitch to see how he is able to appreciate the smaller, more genuine things in life, knowing that his death is approaching.
2.) "You closed your eyes. That was the difference. Sometimes you cannot believe what you see, you have to believe what you feel. And if you are ever going to have other people trust you, you must feel that you can trust them too-even when you are in the dark. Even when you're falling." (61) - Morrie
During one of the flashbacks to when Mitch was a student of Morrie's, he recalls this specific class in which Morrie had the students participate in "trust falls". The students stood with their backs to their classmates and tried to fall backwards relaying on the others to catch them. Most of the students were unable to fall backwards and trust that the student would catch them. One girl closed her eyes and fell backward as her partner caught her. Morrie explains that she was able to trust her partner because she closed her eyes. Morrie stated that we cannot always believe what we see but we can believe what we feel. Many of the other students who were looking around the room were unable to trust their partners because of what they saw. Morrie feels that if we ever want others to trust us, we must show that we trust them in return. The trust that is shared between two people can sometimes be risky, but it is a risk we must take if we ever want to be trusted or we ever want to trust others; this risk is to be taken by an instinctive feeling and not by rational thinking as the other students had done who could not complete the fall.
3.) "As you grow old, you learn more. If you stayed at twenty-two, you'd always be as ignorant as you were at twenty-two. Aging is not just decay, you know. It's growth. It's more than the negative that you're going to die, its also the positive that you understand you're going to die, and that you live a better life because of it." (118) - Morrie
Morrie says this during the seventh Tuesday where he and Mitch talk about the fear of aging. Morrie does not accept today’s culture and emphasis on youth. He is aware that being young can be quite a misery. Especially being a teacher, he saw many young people and their struggles, their feelings of inadequacy and the lack of purpose they felt in life. He feels that the young are also not very wise because they have little understanding about life. This is why he enjoys aging. Morrie embraces aging because he sees it as an opportunity to learn more. He explained that contrary to many peoples' fear, he does not want to remain young because he would always be as ignorant as he once was at a young age. He feels that once people have found meaning in their lives, they never want to go back and be young again. He feels that if your life has meaning you will want to progress forward with age by doing more things, seeing more and learning more.
4.) "So many people walk around with a meaningless life. They seem half-asleep, even when they're busy doing things they think are important. This is because they're chasing the wrong things. The way you get meaning into your life is to devote yourself to loving others, devote yourself to your community around you, and devote yourself to creating something that gives you purpose and meaning." (43) --Morrie
Mitch recalls this quote, that Morrie had once told him, at the beginning of the novel when he was describing his job and his lifestyle. Mitch was a very busy, career and success oriented sports reporter. He chased money, success, and materialistic things. He recalled that Morrie had once told him how so many people get caught leading a meaningless life; they become too involved in their job, money, and fall under the popular culture dictatorship. Morrie feels that so many people are mislead thinking all of these things are important and they are too busy chasing these things that their life passes right by them. Morrie says that to create meaning in our life, we must love and show compassion for others. This way we create our own meaning of life and do not waste our life chasing false and superficial dreams. Ironically, Mitch lives this exact life of "chasing the wrong things" (43).
5.) "The culture we have does not make people feel good about themselves. And you have to be strong enough to say if the culture doesn't work, don't buy it." (42) - Morrie
This quote illustrates one of the themes in the novel: popular culture vs. self-created values. Morrie feels that we should reject pop-culture values and develop our own sense of values and culture. Morrie feels that the media creates a culture of greed, violence, and lacking satisfaction. Morrie developed his own culture long before he got sick. He appreciated such things like holding discussion groups, walks with friends and dancing. He read books, founded community projects and kept in touch with old colleagues and students. He never wasted time watching TV; instead he took more time enjoying nature, food, and human activities. Morrie also feels that if we are successful at rejecting pop-culture we will lead more meaningful lives, embrace aging, and live without regret.
6.) "The most important thing in life is to learn how to give out love, and to let it come in." (52) - Morrie
Morrie tells this to Mitch during the first Tuesday. Throughout the novel, Morrie emphasizes the importance of giving out love and showing affection. He thinks that a lot of people feel that they do not deserve love and if they let love in, they become too soft. He quotes Levine in saying, "love is the only rational act" (52). They way Morrie emphasizes this quote on the first Tuesday, foreshadows that this will be on of the recurring themes throughout the novel. We later see that Morrie derived this theory due to the lack of love present throughout his childhood. Morrie's mother died when he was very young and his father was often working and not interested in showing affection toward Morrie and his brother. When Eva came into their house she provided them with all the motherly love of which they had been deprived. Morrie realized just how important it is to be compassionate towards others and emphasized that for the remainder of his life.
7.) "If you don't have the support and love and caring and concern that you get from a family, you don't have much at all. Love is so supremely important." (91) - Morrie
As one of the major themes in the novel, Morrie discusses that if we do not have love, we do not have anything at all. He then quotes Auden in saying, "Love each other or perish" (91). Morrie feels that if he did not have his family around him, during his sickness, it would be much harder for him. He feels safe knowing his family will never leave and always be watching out for him. He feels that the love between family members goes hand and hand with letting someone know that there will always be someone there for them, someone always watching over them. This is also one of the things Morrie missed after his mother died. He refers to this as "spiritual security" (92)- knowing that your family will constantly be watching over you.
8.) "The truth is, you don't get satisfaction from those things. You know what really gives you satisfaction? ...Offering others what you have to give." (126) - Morrie
Morrie says this during the eighth Tuesday when he and Mitch discuss money. "...those things", to which Morrie is referring, are money and materialistic possessions. He feels that living a full life and being satisfied means offering other people what we each have to give. By this Morrie means giving your time and concern to others. He several examples such as playing cards with an elderly person in a hospital and donating some time to teach a skill at the senior center. Morrie feels that there are so many people who are in need of some compassion and if we all offer some time to give it, we will find a new respect for ourselves. He states that devoting ourselves to loving others, and to the community gives us purpose and meaning.
9.) "Forgive yourself before you die. Then forgive others." (166) - Morrie
On the twelfth Tuesday Morrie and Mitch discuss forgiveness. Morrie sees no point in holding any kind of vengeance or stubbornness; he then admits that he has had some pride in his life and regrets it. He recalled a story about his old friend Norman with who he used to spend much time. After Norman and his wife moved to Chicago, Morrie's wife, Charlotte, had to undergo a serious operation. Norman never contacted Morrie or Charlotte even though they knew about the operation. This hurt Morrie and Charlotte so much that they decided to drop their relationship with Norman. Norman tried to apologize and reconcile but Morrie never accepted his apology. After Norman died, Morrie regretted how he never forgave him. Morrie therefore, feels that we need to also forgive ourselves for the things we should have done. He explains that we can't get stuck on regrets of what should have happened. He advises to make peace with yourself and those around you.
10. "Death ends a life, not a relationship." (174) - Morrie
Morrie states that as long as we can love each other and remember this feeling of love, we can die without ever going away because all of the love we have created will still remain. He states that after we die, we live on in the hearts of everyone we have touched and nurtured while we were on earth. This also emphasizes and expands on Morrie's concept of always giving love and compassion; if we are able to form these loving relationships while we are on earth, not only will we live more fulfilled and substantial lives, but when we die our love and relationship will remain in the hearts of those who we love. At the end of the novel, during Morrie's funeral, Mitch has an internal conversation with Morrie. He feels very comfortable and serine in the conversation; this is because he and Morrie had expressed their love and compassion for one another during Morrie's life, and now their relationship is in each others hearts.