Comparing "Tuesday’s with Morrie" And "The Last Lecture"
Tuesday’s with Morrie, written by Mitch Albom, introduces the two main characters, Mitch, himself the narrator, and Morrie. Morrie was a Sociology professor at Brandeis University where Mitch was one of his most valued students. During Mitch’s graduation ceremony, he promises Morrie that they will keep in touch. Sixteen years go by and Mitch is now married, working as a journalist for the newspaper in Detroit. He becomes very busy, caught up in the gossip and drama of the media. This starts to put a heavy burden on his relationship with his wife Janine whom he promised one day he’d have children. One day, as Mitch is on a work call flipping through the channels, he sees his favorite professor being interviewed on television. He was disheartened by the fact that he had been diagnosed with ALS disease. Even though he is constantly busy with work, he gets in touch with Morrie and flies out to see him in Boston. Morrie is a man of great wisdom and inspiration, who before being diagnosed with his illness, loved to dance and eat. Their first visit after sixteen years goes well and Mitch continues to go back every Tuesday with his favorite food as this was when Morrie held office hours in college. He and Mitch call this time together their “last thesis” where Morrie teaches Mitch the value and importance of life. One of his goals is to get Mitch comfortable with death and teaches him that “once you learn how to die, you learn how to live”. Mitch realizes that he has been chasing after the wrong things in life and wants to be a better man more like Morrie. Mitch looks up to Morrie and sees him as a father figure who is bringing out a side of him that he never thought existed. Even though Morrie is dying and has his moments of fear, he remains positive until the day he passes away. Mitch records their time together where he then turns it into this wonderful book leaving with us the legacy of Morrie Schwartz.
The Last Lecture is a book written by Randy Pausch on a motivational lecture he presented at Carnegie Melon in 2007 titled “Really Achieving your Childhood Dreams”. He was diagnosed with Pancreatic cancer and right before he was supposed to give his lecture, he found out that he was terminally ill and had only three to four months left to live. He nearly canceled his entire lecture because of this news, but couldn’t get over the fact that this was his last lecture. Even though it was his wife’s 41st birthday the day he was supposed to fly out for the speech, he had to go and lecture as a way of saying goodbye to his “work family”. He tells his wife that “an injured lion still wants to know if he can roar” and the way I look at that is even though he is sick and going to die soon, he wants to prove that he is still himself and can do what he does best. Since he had cancer and was dying, he knew people would expect him to talk about death. He did not want this to be the case, so instead, he had to talk about living. He talks about his life growing up and the childhood dreams that made him unique and set him apart from others. He had many dreams and achieved almost all of them except making it to the NFL. Even though he did not make it, he says that “I sometimes think I got more from pursuing that dream, and not accomplishing it, than I did from many of the ones I did accomplish”. Being told no and not getting to where he wanted to be, made him work harder and achieve even greater things. He was also an Imagineer at Walt Disney World for six months in 1995, where he lived out and accomplished one of his bigger childhood dreams. The reason he chooses to talk about his childhood dreams is that all of his major accomplishments are the things he dreamed about doing as a kid. Since he wasn’t going to be with his family for much longer and his kids were young, he wanted his lecture to leave behind a legacy for his kids, teaching them that no dream is too big and to go after what makes them happy. Even though he wouldn’t be there in person to teach these things to them as they got older, they could reference this lecture/book and follow in their father’s footsteps.
When comparing the two characters Morrie and Randy, they have certain similarities and differences. They are both sick with diseases that will eventually kill them, leaving their families behind. They were also both professors at Universities that inspired and motivated their students to be the best they could be. Morrie tells Mitch that this is their last thesis together, while Randy is lecturing for the last time. They are both teaching valuable lessons to people that are important to them. Unfortunately for Mitch, he fell ill much younger than Morrie did and his kids will sadly never get the chance to grow up with him. Even though they were dying, they both remained positive and had great outlooks on life. Instead of focusing their time left on themselves dying, they focused more on living. Morrie loved to dance and had so much compassion for others, while Randy never gave up and chased after his childhood dreams. Unfortunately, Morrie didn’t have the best childhood. When he was just a young boy, he got word from a telegram that his mother had died in the hospital. Since he was the only one in his family who could speak English, he had to be the one to read this sad news to the rest of his family. His father never treated him well and after a while, he ended up remarrying. He told Morrie to keep his mother’s death a secret so that his little brother would think his stepmom was his biological mom. He had to grow up with these challenges, with the biggest one feeling like he had to forget his mother. Morrie didn’t get that comfort that most children yearn for. During an interview with Koppel, he states that “one day soon, someone’s gonna have to wipe my ass”. He fears that day because that is the “ultimate sign of dependency”. He tries to look at life uniquely though and see it as if he gets to be a baby one more time because after all, he wasn’t treated like one when he was. Mitch had an impact on Morrie as well and made his last bit of life easier. They both helped each other in so many ways. As for Randy, he had wonderful parents that pushed him to be the best he could be. He mentions how magical his childhood was and that he was lucky to have the parents he did. He especially looked up to his father and mentioned that “for a million reasons, my dad was my hero”. Since Randy grew up with his dad being his hero and number one fan, he has a hard time grasping the fact that his children will never get to experience what he did. Randy and Morrie both want their story to be told out of a desire to teach and lead others.
After reading Tuesday’s with Morrie, I felt a personal connection with him as if I was there with him. I wish that I could’ve known Morrie myself and spent time with him because he seems like the kinda guy you’d want to have in your life. In a way, he reminded me of my grandfather who died from colon cancer a couple of years back. They both remained very positive and even when life got hard, they always found a way to look at the bright side. I would’ve loved to bring Morrie food every week like Mitch did and talk to him about the meaning of life. If I ever had an opportunity to meet with him and interview him, I would ask him about his faith. Even though he does mention things about different things he believed in and his values, I would like to get a better understanding of what he believed. Even though this book was written to tell the story of Morrie’s life, I feel as if it benefited the readers more. To be able to see the perspective of life from a dying person rather than a person who still has a lot of life to live changes the way you think. People who aren’t close to death, myself included, don’t get the same insight when reflecting on their life. All of the lessons Morrie teaches Mitch teaches the readers as well. It made me think of all the things I take for granted in life and how materialistic items do not matter as much as love. Even after death, love still prevails and it’s how you lived your life and treated others that people will remember. I even fall guilty for getting so caught up in the chaos of life that I don’t take the time to think about “if I die tomorrow, will I have any regrets?”.
The Last Lecture, really serves Randy’s kids’ purpose and lets them know how much their dad enjoyed life and loved them. He showed them by lecturing that you can be good at something if you work hard and follow your dreams. While he is living out his dream and teaching them that, he is also teaching them important life lessons and letting them know that even after he is gone, he will still be with them. With this book, they have a big piece of their father that they can hold on to and reflect on whenever they want to.
When it comes to the process of grieving, Morrie seemed to go back and forth with his emotions. He never denies that he is dying, but instead focuses on the time that he has left and is grateful for it. Part of the grief process is anger and Morrie shows this emotion towards his father. He reminisces on his childhood and gets upset about how his father was never there for him. It is common for people when they are dying to want to blame others, and in this case, Morrie took it out on his deceased father. When it comes to bargaining, instead of asking to live, Morrie bargains to be with the angels and somewhere good after death. “I’m bargaining with Him up there now. I’m asking Him, ‘Do I get to be one of the angels?’. Morrie never says God, but we know he’s talking to a higher power because he says “He”. Usually, people who grow up without believing in God, start to have faith near their final days. They want to be sure they go to a good place after they die. He would have times, especially at night and in the early mornings when he would be scared showing signs of depression. He missed the use of his body, especially his legs which he used to dance freely. He then realizes that he only has a little time left with his loved ones and wants to spend it being happy. Even through all the pain and suffering that he endures, he looks at himself as being lucky that he gets to tell his loved ones goodbye before he goes. This amazed me because even during the darkest times, he still is capable of finding the light. Finally, during his last couple of days, he begins to accept his death. He knew that it was coming and that he had to face it. He embraces death and knows that it is inevitable. “Aging is not just decayed, you know. It’s growth. It’s more than the negative that you’re going to die, it’s the positive that you understand you’re going to die and that you live a better life because of it”. He looks at dying as a positive thing and learns to live a better life because of it.
Tuesday’s with Morrie, was my favorite book out of the two because I felt more connected with it. I put myself in his shoes and learned a lot from his important lessons. It made me rethink a lot of things and pushed me to make a change in my life. I want to be a more positive person and live each day like it is my last. I have recommended this book and The Last Lecture to my family and my friend because his dad is battling cancer. I’m hoping it will help him through this hard time and encourage him that life will still go on and be okay if and when his father passes. I was able to use a lot of what I learned in this class to better understand these books. Death is a scary topic, but we have to face that it is inevitable. Instead of being too scared to talk about it or deal with it, we should live our life to the fullest so that when our time comes, we can have no regrets and be at peace.
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