Tuesdays With Morrie Culture Essay

Critical Analysis Of Tuesdays With Morrie By Mitch Albom

Critical Analysis of Tuesdays with Morrie by Mitch Albom

Tuesdays with Morrie, written by Mitch Albom, is a story of the love between a man and his college professor, Morrie Schwartz. This true story captures the compassion and wisdom of a man who only knew good in his heart and lived his life to the fullest up until the very last breath of his happily fulfilled life. When Mitch learned of Morrie’s illness, the began the last class of Morrie’s life together and together tried to uncover “The Meaning of Life.” These meetings included discussions on everything from the world when you enter it to the world when you say goodbye. Morrie Schwartz was a man of great wisdom who loved and enjoyed to see and experience simplicity in life, something beyond life’s most challenging and unanswered mysteries. Morrie was a one of a kind teacher who taught Mitch about the most important thing anyone can ever learn: life. He taught Mitch about his culture, about trust, and perhaps most importantly, about how to live.

One lesson Morrie teaches Mitch is about the view his culture has and how we, not only Mitch but also the rest of the world, should not believe what they say. Morrie tells Mitch: “Take my condition. The things I am supposed to be embarrassed about now — not being able to walk, not being able to wipe my ass, waking up some mornings wanting to cry — there is nothing innately embarrassing about them. It's the same for women not being thin enough, or men not being rich enough. It's just what our culture would have you believe. Don't believe it.”
Morrie speaks these words of advice to Mitch during their eleventh Tuesday together, when they talk specifically about culture. Gradually, Morrie has come to accept his physical handicaps, just as he has come to accept his impending death. He complains that the culture is wrong to deem natural physical need as socially embarrassing, and thus he refuses to believe that his handicaps are shameful. In rejecting the values of the popular culture, Morrie creates his own set of customs, which accommodate the physical shortcomings popular culture finds disgraceful and embarrassing. As Morrie sees it, popular culture is a dictator under which the human community must suffer. He has already suffered enough from his disease, and does not see why he should seek social acceptance if it is not conducive to his personal happiness. Throughout the book, popular culture is portrayed as a vast brainwashing machine, wiping clean the minds of the public, and replacing the inherent kindness they posses at birth with a ruthless greed and selfish focus.
Aside from teaching Mitch about culture, Morrie seeks to teach him about trust. He explains to Mitch: “You see, . . . 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 ...

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Morrie's guiding philosophy of life is that each person must not simply accept the larger modern (mid 1990s) culture, which he consistently critiques. He takes issue with modern culture's overvaluing of materiality, achievement, and superficial things, which he believes is not conducive to living a happy, fulfilled, and successful life. He instead advocates for the creation of personal cultures, or a system of living life that allows someone to be fulfilled through careful questioning of modern culture and religion. Throughout the Tuesday visits, he counsels Mitch to create his own personal culture so he too can live his life to the fullest.

Throughout his life, Morrie created a culture based on discussion groups, long walks, and spending time with friends. It is focused on interpersonal relationships rather than things and achievements. One way to understand Morrie's culture is through the way he interacts with television. Morrie doesn't watch much television himself, but when he is asked to appear on Ted Koppel'sNightline show, he agrees (after grilling Koppel about his own personal culture) and later agrees to two more interviews. He sees the interviews as a way to teach the tenets of his own culture and to engage with people, rather than entertain. While Mitch uses the OJ Simpson murder trial to link the way that other people use television directly to material culture, the following that Morrie amasses through the broadcast of the Nightline interviews further supports Morrie's idea that everyone is searching for more than what the present material culture has to offer.

Morrie is very interested in religion of all sorts. He was raised Jewish and became an agnostic as a young man after the death of his father. Despite turning to synagogue and religious services for comfort in his youth, he couldn't reconcile the tragedy that had befallen his family with the beautiful ideals of religion. As he began to age, however, he became increasingly interested in other religions and begins to borrow bits and pieces that feel right and true as he works on creating his own culture.

The book presents Morrie's personal religion and personal culture as a clear good, and suggests that it was his freedom from a single religion that allows him the ability to then create his own that works for him. Thus, the book questions how culture and religion shape how we live our lives and what we value. While the book doesn't go so far as to suggest that one must give up religion as a whole or completely forsake the given norms of society, it encourages readers to feel free to focus on the aspects of a belief system or culture that offer personal fulfillment. The parts that don't offer fulfillment or some sort of positive gain should get a hard and skeptical look.


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