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Tuesdays with Morrie

Mitch Albom

The Eighth Tuesday - The Ninth Tuesday

The Seventh Tuesday: We Talk about the Fear of Aging

The Tenth Tuesday - The Eleventh Tuesday

Summary

The Eight Tuesday: We Talk about Money

Mitch shows Morrie a quote by billionaire Ted Turner that he has found in the newspaper which reads, "I don't want my tombstone to read, 'I never owned a network.'" The men laugh, and Mitch notices the pink hibiscus plant on Morrie's window sill. Morrie repeats his lesson that we should not put value on material things, as it will lead to disillusionment and unfulfillment.

Today is a good day for Morrie, as a local a capella group has come by the night before to give a private performance for him. Morrie had always loved music, but since his illness, it has had an even more profound effect on him. He is usually moved to tears when listening to music he finds especially beautiful. It is simple pleasures such as the a capella group's visit that Morrie revels in, not money and material wealth as is the accepted cultural norm. In a sense, he says, the culture has brainwashed us into believing that we can replace love with money, and we try, only to be left unsatisfied and hungry. Mitch notes that after Morrie had learned of his illness, he had lost all interest in material goods, and had bought nothing new since. Despite his dwindling funds, Mitch thinks that Morrie's house is filled with enormous wealth, as it is beautified by objects, but by love.

Morrie urges Mitch to give of himself, which is more meaningful than giving money. He advises him to devote himself to loving and giving generously to his community, possibly by volunteering at a local senior center. Mitch is now realizing that, after all of his years spent driven by financial success, he cannot find happiness in money and professional power.

The Ninth Tuesday: We Talk about How Love Goes On

The newspaper strikes at Mitch's former workplace continue. The O.J. Simpson murder trial is winding to a close and has created a frenzied media circus. Mitch reveals that he has been thinking of his younger brother often, and has tried to call him at home in Spain. He had left messages letting him know that he wanted to talk to him, and had received a brief message in reply a few weeks later in which his brother assured him that everything was okay, but that he did not want to talk about his cancer.

Morrie's condition has deteriorated considerably. He now must urinate through a catheter, and can barely move his own head. He has the ability to feel pain in his limbs, but cannot move them. Morrie spends his days resting on the chair in his study, and relays his latest aphorism, "When you're in bed, you're dead." "Nightline" has called to schedule a third follow-up interview with Morrie, though they would like to wait until Morrie's condition has worsened a bit more, which bothers Mitch.

Analysis

With the onset of his eighth Tuesday with Morrie, Mitch is beginning to truly understand that love is of greater value than material goods. Morrie has continually told Mitch that love for family and friends is more important than career and money, and that greed for material wealth will exacerbate a void that only love and relationships can fill. Mitch has listened intently to Morrie's lessons on love versus money, but it is not until this particular conversation that Mitch sees the wealth that surrounds Morrie. Despite his modest home, Mitch suddenly realizes Morrie's immense wealth, as he is surrounded by those who love and care for him during his most desperate time of need.

When Mitch reads the quote by billionaire media mogul Ted Turner, he sees a bit of Turner's greediness in himself, and is frightened by it. When Turner says that he does not want his "tombstone to read, 'I never owned a network," he gives the dual impression that he does not want to be remembered purely for his professional shortcomings. This idea of how one is remembered after death one of the books main concerns. Morrie gives less thought to his professional career than Turner, of course, and focuses on how he has touched people personally, including his students. In a later chapter, Mitch asks Morrie if he fears being forgotten after he dies. Morrie replies that he has no fear of being forgotten, as he is alive in the memory of those who love him. The Turner quote is used to reveal Morrie's connection between love and staying alive in the memory of others.

Turner's appearance in the book also contributes to the array of media-related images that appear throughout Tuesdays With Morrie. The media is unmistakably portrayed as a dual purveyor of evil and meaninglessness, exemplified by the many newspaper articles Mitch reads about recent murders and hatred crimes, and by the O.J. Simpson murder trial, which has created a frenzied circus media and public debate, with journalists feeding on it like vultures would a meaty carcass.

Also vital to the portrayal of the media in the book is Mitch's occupation as a long-time journalist. Throughout his time with Morrie, his employer continues to strike, and he remains out of a job. While he had been working, Mitch had been miserable, and had dedicated his life to his "meaningless" work, reporting on sporting events and chasing down celebrities. Now, however, Mitch has had the time to restore meaning to his life, rekindling loving relationships and create his own culture, as Morrie has instructed him to do. The media is also a major influence on the values system dictated by popular culture, which Morrie rejects. Even the famous interviewer Ted Koppel, who Morrie befriends, is portrayed as somewhat heartless in The Ninth Tuesday, when his corporation calls Morrie to ask him for another interview to be scheduled only when Morrie's health is noticeably deteriorated.

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