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Tuesdays with Morrie

  • Study Guide
Main Ideas

Key Facts

Main Ideas Key Facts

full title Tuesdays With Morrie: An Old Man, A young Man, and Life's Greatest Lesson

author  Mitch Albom

type of work  non-fiction

genre  Autobiographical documentary

language  English

time and place written  Detroit, Michigan, mid-1990's

date of first publication  1997

publisher  Doubleday

narrator  Mitch Albom

point of view  The narrator speaks in the first person for the majority of the novel, with the exception of a few passages in which he had not been present. With the exception of these passages, the narrator provides a subjective view of all other characters introduced.

tone  Mitch's narration uses very basic language, as most of the book is composed of dialogue between him and Morrie, word-for word conversations he has transcribed after having tape recorded them prior to Morrie's death. Mitch's attitude towards Morrie is nothing less than sweet and adoring.

tense  Frequently shifts in tense from present to past; description of past events is relayed through a series of flash backs interspersed throughout present tense narrations.

setting (time)  Early-mid 1990&Otidle;s

setting (place)  West Newton, Massachusetts

protagonist  Mitch Albom (and/or Morrie Schwartz)

major conflict  Morrie grapples to accept his impending death from ALS and is visited each Tuesday by his former star student, Mitch, who has become disillusioned by the popular culture.

rising action  Mitch grows increasingly unhappy with his occupation as a journalist and sees Morrie featured on "Nightline" one night as he is watching television.

climax  Morrie is visited by Mitch for what will be the last time, and finally, after years of trying, gets Mitch to cry openly.

falling action  Mitch attends Morrie's funeral and conducts a conversation with him in his head as he had promised he would, even after his death.

themes  The rejection of popular cultural mores in favor of self-created values; Love or perish; Acceptance through detachment

motifs  Food; Reincarnation and renewal; The media

symbols  Pink hibiscus plant; Morrie's bed; Waves on the ocean

foreshadowing  One of Morrie's last aphorisms is, "When you're in bed, you're dead." On what will be his last visit to with Morrie, Mitch knows that death is fast- approaching, as Morrie has, after a long battle with ALS, moved from his study to the confines of his bed. Days later, Morrie dies in his bed.