Tuesdays With Morrie by Mitch Albom
Length: 1053 words (3 double-spaced pages)
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What's on your mind right now? Are you satisfied with your surroundings? Do you wish for a better life? These are questions that we wish to answer but just can't seem to grasp. This criticism paper attempts to find answers to these questions.
This paper seeks to clarify what makes the novel Tuesdays With Morrie by Mitch Albom such a success amongst its readers. This paper is not a pamphlet wherein you may find frequently asked questions and their answers but this paper serves as a guide to discovering the thoughts of Morrie Schwartz and what the readers of the novel have to say about him and his precepts.
The paper may not affect you much after reading it but I'm hoping that It will make you understand things a bit more as this question is discussed: "What feature of the novel essentially makes it compelling for readers?"
While searching for answers I shall be using the reader response approach to literary criticism since this paper requires thoughts and opinions of others. With this method I shall come up with surveys that answer several questions that were discussed in the novel and also opinions on certain topics that I wish to emphasize in this paper. This approach allows me to go beyond the barriers and get the outlook of others about the novel.
Experience is what connects us with others
The very personal tone of the novel Tuesdays With Morrie by Mitch Albom is essentially influenced by the author's purpose for readers to establish a direct connection with its main characters.
The book is subtitled "An old man, a young man, and life's greatest lesson". The book is about a young man who loses his way (Albom), and the old man who makes him realize this (Schwartz). How did Albom lose his way? After college graduation (1976, Brandeis University, Massachusetts) he promised to keep in touch with his professor but never did. Then his favorite uncle, 44, died of pancreatic cancer and Albom suddenly felt time was precious. "No more playing music at half-empty nightclubs," he writes. "No more writing songs in my apartment, songs that no one would hear. I returned to school. I earned a master's degree in journalism and took the first job offered... (16)" In other words he became focused and successful.
The novel also discusses various topics that we all experience and in this paper I would like to focus mainly on life, work, community, relationships, aging and death. Discussing these usual topics make the novel something that everyone can relate therefore people enjoy getting information from here and they learn a few things that they didn't know before reading the novel.
The novel is a clear expression of the unseen aspects of common themes that influence the understanding of human life.
"You have to find what's good and true and beautiful in your life as it is now (120)." This quote basically represents the whole of this claim. Our lives are always filled with questions and regrets that we try on making our lives perfect and we end up not enjoying our existence. The novel is simply about life and death since that is a consequence of living. The novel covers insights about the world, pity, regret, death, family, emotions, the fear of aging, money, love, marriage, culture, forgiveness, the perfect day and saying goodbye. These topics help us understand more about ourselves and others.
The big villain for Morrie would have to be our culture. "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)." For Morrie our culture would be like the air, much of which is polluted. Since you can't live without breathing, you end up breathing pollution.
A Deeper Look
The discussion of the novel as a clear expression should rest primarily on a thematic analysis of its content and composition.
As a result of my surveys I have discovered that most of the readers of this novel are glad that they read it and definitely recommend it to others. Their thoughts on the themes that I requested them to give opinions on still varied mainly because we all don't think on the same level. But as a result of reading the novel most replies had a connection and a few comparable ideas as of those presented by Morrie.
The novels success is also based on how well it has sold. As of the year 2000 the book has remained on the New York Times best0seller list for two consecutive years. The novel has also been translated into 22 different languages. And a bit after the release of Tuesdays With Morrie a collection of Morrie Schwartz's aphorisms was republished this book was entitled "Morrie: In His Own Words" (Walker and Co., 1999)
An Overall Review: The Conclusion
So why the enormous interest in what this retired college professor had to say? Simple, Morrie Schwartz offered us simple and truthful advice. Not all answers need to be complicated; the best answers are usually the simple truthful ones. His insights were outspoken and unstructured. The opinions he gave were very complex and were easy to comprehend. He answered questions that we usually ask or should be asking ourselves. Much of the advice given seems to be common sense. We tend to overlook this common sense of ours and Morrie says this is mainly because "most of us walk around as if we're sleepwalking (83)." The novel may seem sappy at first but that was Morrie. Morrie Schwartz used to say that he wanted to be remembered as a "teacher to the last." Well, as you can see he got his wish. Four years after dieing from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, Morrie still teaches more students millions around the world, with his realistic and fascinating concepts that make us go back for more. And as of now his class is still growing.
"A teacher affects eternity; he can never tell where his influence stops (79)."
- Henry Adams
Albom, M. (1997). Tuesdays With Morrie
Lasley, D.M. (1999). What's life all about Morrie?
American Wasteland: A Commentary. Ocotober 1999
Salter, C. (2000). Work and Life Morrie Schwartz
Fast Company issue 30 page 198