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SYMBOLISM / IMAGERY / MOTIFS / SYMBOLS
Aside from dancing, one of Morrie's favorite things to do is eat. Each Tuesday Mitch stops at the grocery store and brings Morrie a bag of food. Shortly after Mitch starts this tradition, Morrie is no longer able to eat solid food. Mitch does not find this out until a few weeks later when Morrie's wife, Charlotte, shows Mitch all his food she had stored away in the freezer and refrigerator. Each week Mitch continues to bring the bag of food and presents it to Morrie who acts excited to see it. Although Mitch knows Morrie can no longer eat the food he continues to bring it because it reminds him of when Morrie was not sick, especially when he and Mitch used to have lunch together in the cafeteria at Brandeis. Mitch feels comfort in bringing the food each week, to cushion the reality that Morrie's death is actually approaching.
The media is referenced a lot throughout the book as an inherently evil dictator under which our society suffers. The media has caused Mitch to become a materialistic workaholic, and has drained him of compassion and appreciation of life and love. Mitch's career forces him to be only concerned about stories of crime and hatred, which so negatively impacts our society. The O.J Simpson trial is also referenced a lot throughout the novel; this emphasizes Mitch's claim that society has become obsessed and depended on pop-culture and media stories which contribute nothing to life or compassion of other human beings.
Morrie's hibiscus plant
The pink hibiscus plant is used as a metaphor for Morrie's life throughout the time of his sickness. As we see Morrie's body gradually give way to death, we see his hibiscus plant deteriorate as well. The plants petals slowly wither and die as Morrie becomes more dependant on other people. The plant is also a metaphor for life itself; we all experience the natural life cycle which ultimately results in death. Throughout the novel Morrie also stresses how important the realization of death is to leading a fulfilling life.
Throughout Morrie's sickness he always preferred to stay in his chair, in his study, where he was surrounded by pictures of his family, friends and could look out his window and appreciate the seasons and sunlight. Morrie states that, "when you're in bed, you're dead" (131). Morrie is determined to live the last days of his life as much as possible because he feels that if he decided to stay in bed, he would be surrendering himself to death. We only see Morrie in his bed on the last Tuesday which happens to be one of the final days of his life. He had been successful at not staying in his bed until these last few days which was when he fully accepted and surrendered himself to death.
IMPORTANT / KEY FACTS SUMMARY
Title: Tuesdays With Morrie
Author: Mitch Albom
Date Published: September 1997
Meaning of the Title: The title, Tuesdays With Morrie, refers to Mitch and Morrie's weekly Tuesday meetings, in Morrie's home, in which they discussed the meaning of life.
Setting: Morrie's home in West Newton, Massachusetts.
Protagonist: Morrie Schwartz
Mood: Sentimental, thoughtful
Point of View: First person limited
Exposition: First four chapters, “The Curriculum”, “The Syllabus”, “The Student” and “The Audiovisual”. In this first part of the novel the major characters and conflicts are introduced which provides as the background information for the remainder of the novel.
Climax: The last Tuesday Mitch visits Morrie, when he is very close to his death. They hug each other and Morrie is finally successful at making Mitch cry.
Outcome: Mitch finds comfort in talking with Morrie’s spirit, after his death. Mitch also contacts his brother in Spain.
Themes: Love or perish, acceptance through detachment, rejection of pop-culture for self-created values