The Symbols of The Five People You Meet in Heaven
In this essay, the people that Eddie meets after he dies will be analyzed. Their importance in his life on Earth and the resonance they left on his soul will be discussed, as well as how this ties to the meaning of the work as a whole, which is that everything in life is orchestrated.

In the bestselling novel The Five People You Meet in Heaven, by Mitch Albom, the main character Eddie dies from a tragic accident at Ruby Pier, the amusement park he works at as the head of the maintenance department. In the afterlife, he encounters five diverse people that Eddie deemed insignificant in his life on Earth, even forgot about, but when seen in a different context were actually imperative to understanding and accepting his life once he had died. These five people contributed to his comprehension that life is not spontaneous and that every aspect of life is scripted by a greater power through their lessons in heaven.

The first person Eddie meets is the Blue Man from Ruby Pier. The Blue Man was one of the “exotic creatures” showcased at the amusement park when Eddie was a youth. Eddie’s childish mistake of chasing his ball into traffic catalyzed the Blue Man’s death, which was later on that afternoon when he got a heart attack while driving. The Blue Man discloses this unknown information to Eddie in heaven and reveals that nothing is a coincidence. “That there are no random acts. That we are all connected. That you can no more separate one life from another than you can separate a breeze from the wind,” (Albom, 48). Since the Blue Man died because of Eddie as a child, he goes on to explain that “Strangers are just family you have yet to come to know,” (49). The Blue Man preaches that all lives are connected, as he died because of Eddie and Eddie had no knowledge, yet they meet again after both of their lives on Earth are finished. Seemingly random lives cross paths constantly, but they are the opposite of random because life is completely premeditated.

Eddie meets his Captain from when he was a soldier in his second stage of heaven. The captain forced Eddie into a sacrifice as a solider, as he shot his leg to save his life, sacrificing his strength. After he shot Eddie, the Captain sacrificed his life for his men and his country, dying on the battlefield. In heaven, the Captain explains “Sacrifice is a part of life. It’s supposed to be. It’s not something to regret. It’s something to aspire to. Little sacrifices. Big sacrifices,” (93). The Captain emphasizes that when you lose something someone gains something and that is part of the full circle of life. That is part of the balance. With this in mind, he lectures that “Sometimes when you sacrifice something precious, you’re not really losing it. You’re just passing it on to someone else,” (94). The Captain reminds Eddie that when he died he left his spot on Earth for Eddie, and that was his life’s sacrifice that he took pride in.

Ruby, of Ruby Pier, is the third supposed stranger he meets in heaven. Her lesson is that “Holding anger is a poison. It eats you from inside. We think that hating is a weapon that attacks the person who harmed us. But hatred is a curved blade. And the harm we do, we do to ourselves,” (141). She puts his life into perspective, giving her all-seeing vision to him to assist him in understanding his father and the reasons for why he unfortunately expressed his frustrations against his son. She reiterates the fact that anger is a superfluous evil by reminding Eddie “No one is born with anger. And when we die, the soul is freed of it. But now, here, in order to move on, you must understand why you felt what you did, and why you no longer need to feel it,” (142). Anger is unnecessary is the lesson that Eddie learns from Ruby.


His fourth lesson comes from his wife Marguerite. In this step of Eddie’s heaven, Marguerite guides Eddie through numerous weddings of varying cultures. She stresses that love is powerful, and that love is eternal. For the thirty years Eddie lived without Marguerite, he mourned her with a guilty conscious. He blamed himself completely for her death and was terribly angry with himself, as she died on the way to seeing him on his birthday. He loved her endlessly though, even after she died, and she felt it from the Earth to heaven. “Lost love is still love, Eddie. It takes a different form, that’s all. You can’t see their smile or bring them food or tousle their hair or move them around a dance floor. But when those senses weaken, another heightens. Memory. Memory becomes your partner,” (173). Marguerite shows that love is planned and it is not coincidence.

His final lesson comes from a young Asian girl named Tala. During his life on Earth, Eddie only encountered this child once: the day he killed her. She was the shadow in the hut when he set it on fire as a soldier, and God knew that Eddie killed her. That is why Eddie fixed the rides and checked for their safety as the maintenance head at Ruby Pier, and this is what Tala tells Eddie in his final stage of this heaven. “Children. You keep them safe. You make good for me,” (191) Besides his dread for work, Eddie continually returned. Everything has a full circle effect, and this is what Tala’s lesson to Eddie was.

The Blue Man, the Captain, Ruby, Marguerite, and Tala all served as important roles in helping Eddie understand his life. All lives are connected, even if only illustrated to be so in the slightest ways, as the Blue Man revealed. Sacrifice is part of the life cycle, as a sacrifice is a loss for someone but a gain for another stranger. Ruby showed the importance of perspective and forgiveness, as time is limited and anger is worthless. Marguerite reminded him that love is eternal. Finally, Tala showed that life is a full circle. These lessons combine to support the thesis that life is designed by God, and everything has an ultimate lesson that will be understood when you reach the designed time. The day Eddied died, he saved the young girl at Ruby Pier, making a sacrifice that left that little child with her life, and led him to his grasp of his life on Earth.

LA 2014

Discovery of the Theme in The Time Keeper

[(In this criticism of The Time Keeper by Mitch Albom, A.M discusses how the structure of the novel and the motif of time support Albom’s atypical method of conveying his theme.)]

All stories have lessons. Fables have morals that the story is painted around. Novels have themes that the main character learns through his journey. Mitch Albom’s novel The Time Keeper, also has a theme, but Albom chooses to convey this theme in an aberrant manner. Rather than creating a main character who realizes the lesson that he learned from his journey at the end of the story, Albom creates the character Dor, a man who is acutely aware that there is a lesson to be learned, and is effectively journeying in search of that piece of knowledge that is the moral of The Time Keeper.
From the first page, this novel is clearly about time. What is time? How is time measured? But the real question: Is knowing time the same as understanding time? The motif of time is on every page in the novel, as it is the central concept both contemplated by the individual characters and explored through the interwoven journeys of the central characters. One of the ironically more hidden time references is the clock shop. Although clocks are clearly keepers of time, those who enter the clock shop to purchase a watch are not there for the physical clock, but for the time. One character purchases a watch as a symbol of his desire for more time to live and another as a symbol of how quickly time passes. This misunderstanding of time creates the scenario that reveals the piece of wisdom that is the moral of the novel. Two confused and near-death wanderers are brought together to clear up their misconceptions of time.
Make it yesterday.” “Make it stop.” “Another lifetime.” (181)
These are their petitions to alter time. These are the cries that bring Dor to their aid. These are the entreaties that they all shared. These are the pleas that lead their journeys to convergence, their minds to understanding, and Dor to the completion of his journey. These are the requests that lead the audience to the theme.
The Time Keeper has three central characters. The first is Dor, who has been granted by God the gift (or curse) of being able to have some power over time with his hour glass. When Dor is given the hourglass, he is sent into the “real world” in order to enlighten two individuals who have a skewed perception of time. He is also sent for self-enlightenment:
“Remember this always: There is a reason God limits man’s days.”
“What is the reason?”
“Finish your journey and you will know.” (80)
From page 80 of the novel, both Dor and audience are already aware that there will be a moral at the end, and that Dor’s journey, which will intertwine with the journeys of two others, will end in a realization.
The journeys of the other two other central characters, Sarah Lemon and Victor Delamonte, are portrayed as unfortunate downfalls due to a misunderstanding of time and an attempt to outsmart it. Each consecutive chapter jumps from Sarah’s journey to Dor’s journey, to Victor’s journey in no particular order. The rationale for such arrangement is once again time. These journeys are happening simultaneously, and it is necessary for the simultaneity to be established prior to the final convergence and three-way-epiphany in the final chapters. In order for Dor to stop time by bringing Sarah and Victor together and saving them from their imminent deaths by teaching them the preciousness of “time,” their journeys must be occurring together, yet mutually exclusively.
When Dor removes a grain of sand from the hourglass, he is able to freeze time in a moment, and in that moment show Sarah and Victor what their futures will be if they continue their paths to outsmart time. In Sarah’s case, it was suicide, and in Victor’s, cryonics. Neither are pleased with their choice, as their futures are not what they envisioned. The motif of the misunderstanding of time, as well as the structure of the convergent journeys brings all three central characters to a realization that is best explained by Dor in his final moments in the present:
“There is a reason why God limits our days.”
“Why?”
“To make each one precious.” (206)

A.M 2013



Youth's Influence on Character in Tuesdays with Morrie

[(This literary criticism of Tuesdays With Morrie by Mitch Albom studies the role that Morrie’s youth experiences play in his adult life and philosophies)]

Tuesdays With Morrie by Mitch Albom, recounts a series of meetings between a dying professor and one of his past students. The novel attempts to mimic a university course; References are made sporadically to lecture, thesis, and audiovisual elements to achieve this, because the university and teaching was Morrie’s life, and it was he and Mitch shared during those years at Brandeis University. Mitch appreciated Morrie’s open personality, acceptance of life’s certitudes. These aspects of Morrie’s being were sculpted from his childhood experiences.
Morrie’s childhood was filled with despair. But his youth experiences did not create an obstacle for him, but rather a lesson. They showed him who he wanted to be, and who he did not want to be. Mitch is particularly fond of Morrie’s friendly and open personality. Even when he is ill and dying, he welcomes Dateline, Morrie, and countless visitors into his home with open arms to share his last moments with them. This openness is not intrinsic, but rather was learned during his youth.
During one of the meetings, Morrie details to Mitch the silence and solitude he felt following the death of his mother.
“In the evenings, he watched his father eat in silence hoping for- but never getting- a show of affection, communication, warmth. At nine years old, he felt as if the weight of the mountain were on his shoulders.” (75)
Affection. Communication. Warmth. All of these words would describe Morrie. He was willing to devote his time and love to helping a young man to live a full life, and to spend time with his students outside of class because he saw their potential. He would wave politely to the individuals who tailgated him while he was driving. But none of these words would describe his father. Instead of hate, taciturnity, and bitterness, Morrie took from his childhood a desire to help people, listen, and openly express love. He took with him an inclination to be the father figure to those around him, because he never had that figure in his own life.
Mitch finds one of the most shocking things about Morrie to be his acceptance of time’s passage and death. When Morrie informs Mitch that he embraces aging, he is befuddled.
“It’s very simple. As you grow, you learn more. If you stayed at twenty-two, you’d always be as ignorant as you were at twenty-two. Aging is not just decay, you know. It’s growth. It’s more than the negative that you’re going to die, it’s also the positive that you understand your going to die and the you live a better life because of it.” (118)
Morrie goes on to explain that longing to be young again is a sign of an unsatisfied, unfulfilled life. This philosophy also derived from Morrie’s youth experiences. He reflects on this influence, saying
“Listen, I know what a misery being young can be, so don’t tell me it was so great. All of these kids who came to me with their struggles, their strife, their feelings of inadequacy, their sense that life was miserable, so bad they wanted to kill themselves…” (117).
Evidently, Morrie’s unfortunate childhood does not allow him to look back fondly on his youth. Perhaps if he had had a more positive experience, he would feel differently about aging. But his struggles have allowed him to accept time as a process that he cannot alter and has no desire to because the more he grew, the more control he had over his life. And the more freedom and control he had, the better his life became and the more he learned.
On page 66, the final line of Mitch’s list of topics is “A Meaningful Life”. This is the only topic on his list that does not have its own chapter. This is because a meaningful life is not an individual topic on its own, and is not something that can be taught. Rather, each of the topics they discussed each Tuesday was a part of that. An understanding of these topics is what brought Morrie a meaningful life, and Morrie through his stories and aphorisms passes to Mitch the tools to lead this elusive “Meaningful Life.” And it is Morrie’s childhood experiences that showed him the kind of person he wanted to be, and how to live such a meaningful life.
A.M 2013




Tuesdays With Morrie by Mitch Albom: The Story Told Over Time

[ (Essay date 3 June 2008) In this criticism, E.M. discusses author Mitch Albom's technique of switching between flashbacks and present time to portray the story of a man dying and his impact on the author's life. This passage shows how the relationship between the two men is made more clear and more personal through Albom's alternating between past and present.]



Mitch Albom met the subject of this non-fiction novel, Morrie, while he was an undergraduate at Brandeis University. The majority of the story takes place many years later, while Morrie is dying of ALS in his suburban Massachussets home. However, in passages throughout the book Albom flashes back to his early years with Morrie while he was a professor of sociology under which Albom studied. The flashbacks add a sense of personal connection between Albom and Morrie, without which Albom would come across as more of a journalist in his depiction of the dying man, rather than compassionate towards him and intertwined in the journey he is taking. Many aspects of the novel do come across as journalistic in nature, which can be attributed to Albom's newspaper background. However, he manages to breakaway from that background at numerous points within Tuesdays With Morrie and shed a different kind of light on his relationship with Morrie by flashing back to the days in which Albom was a young, idealistic student being introduced to new ideas by his teacher.
One of the most important flashbacks takes place before the first Tuesday with Morrie begins. Albom is recounting his first experience walking into a class in which Morrie was the professor.
" 'Do you prefer Mitch? Or is Mitchell better?'
I have never been asked this by a teacher, I do a double take at this guy in his yellow turtle neck and green cordury pants, the silver hair that falls on his forehead. He is smiling. Mitch, I say. Mitch is what my friends call me.
''Well Mitch it is then,' Morrie says, as if closing a deal. 'And, Mitch?'
Yes?
'I hope that one day you will think of me as your friend' "

Through this passage, Albom establishes the friendship which he and Morrie share, in addition to their student/teacher bond. It is almost as if throughout the novel Albom is fearful in the present to establish such a friendship, until towards the end where his flashbacks and present narratives begin to show the same compassion between the two men. From the beginning the flashbacks show how a bond was formed between Morrie and Mitch that had been forgotten for quite some time, and was able to be rekindled through all the Tuesdays.

The flashbacks also give a chance for the emphasis to be on the relationship between the man, rather than Morrie and his experiences with dying. The majority of the book does not focus on Mitch and Morrie's interactions, but rather on Morrie's words and journey into death. This is made clear by Albom's consistent lack of quotations around his own words. Even in the above passage, Mitch's responses blend into the paragraphs while Morrie's words stand out with quotations. However, more insight is put in by Mitch in the flashback than in the time in which the majority of the novel happens. He makes it clear that Morrie is the focus, and Albom is merely telling the story, with the exception of his few personal inserts about his family- in particular his brother.

Towards the end, the flashback, italicised passages begin to focus on the present of the story as well. This goes again to the point that Albom was fearful to return to the bond of friendship he and Morrie once shared, but by telling anecdotes that occured on those Tuesdays through the same way he recounted their past, he solidifies the connection he and Morrie have always had. Another passage, towards the end, shows the compassion shared between the two men.
"I picture his grave, on the hill, overlooking the pond, some little nine foot piece of earth where they will place him, cover him with dirt, put a stone on top. Maybe in a few weeks? Maybe in a few days? I see myself sitting there alone, arms across my knees, staring into space.
It wont be the same, I say, not being able to hear you talk.
'Ah, talk...'
He closes his eyes and smiles.
'Tell you what. After I'm dead, you talk. And I'll listen' ".

This passage, one of the final flashback sections, shows how the relationship between the men can continue even through death. Even going many years without seeing each other, the two finally were able to rekindle the relationship portrayed through the flashbacks, and it only seems fitting that the relationship could surmount even death.

(E.M. 2008)







The Five People You Meet in Heaven- Five Different Purposes


[( In this criticism of The Five People You Meet In Heaven by Mitch Albom, E.M. discusses each of the five people the main character, Eddie, meets along his journey through Albom's theory of what happens after death. This criticism focuses on each person and what significance they had to Eddie's life and death. Each person enters Eddie's death with a lesson to teach him, however their significance in his life does not always stay with those lessons)]

In the novel, The Five People You Meet in Heaven, Mitch Albom takes his protagonist on a long journey through different stages of death- all of which revolve around different birthday's throughout his life. He meets people who he had never known though he had a great significance in their lives. He meets people who greatly impacted his life without him knowing. He meets his wife. Each person he meets represents a different aspect of his life, while teaching him about lessons of death. From loss of innocence to forgiveness. From happiness to purpose. Each of the five people holds a key to Eddie's life.

The first person Eddie meets his the Blue Man. His purpose in heaven is to show Eddie how everyone is connected through life and death, and help him to understand how they were connected. Eddie caused the death of the Blue Man without even knowing, and by doing so he lost a part of him that he could never get back- the innocence of his childhood. Although Eddie did not know about the life he cut short, he no longer would be innocent as a result. However, the significance of the Blue Man would never really have been known without this version of heaven. Therefore, the person whom Eddie had the greatest affect on the death of, had the least impact on his life.

Another person who had little impact on Eddie's life, but whom Eddie had the most impact on the death of was the last person he met in heaven- Tala. Tala, like the Blue Man, represents Eddie's loss of innocence. This loss however, is much more clear to him through the other happenings of the war. Only in his death did he realize how much he lost the day he killed Tala. Unlike with the Blue Man, whose death Eddie caused merely by being a child playing, Tala's death was brought on by anger of soliders in a war. However, when Eddie thought he might have seen a person inside the hut he was burning down, he tried to go in and save them- ensuring that he would not lose his humanity along with his innocence. This little girl also represented Eddie's purpose in life. Everything he did from that point on was to make up for her death.

Eddie had never known the old woman he met third, and fittingly she represents the unknown. The information she brought to light about his father changed a lot about how he felt towards him and allowed him to finally be able to forgive- which is the lesson she was trying to teach. However, the unknown is what affected Eddie's life the most- since he was never able to forgive while he was alive. Had he known the many things about his father that Ruby-the old woman- taught him, he would have been able to love him more and understand him better.

The captain and Marguerite represent two opposing ideas in Eddies life. The captain- the greatest source of his unhappiness. His wife- the greatest source of his happiness. Because of the captain, Eddie got stuck in a life that he did not want to live though -later shown by Tala- he had to live. His wife Marguerite was everything to him and the only source of companionship he had over the years. The captain was part of Eddie's life at the time when he lost himself, when he wanted to be home with his wife. His wife represented the time before the war when he was hopeful, when he still thought he had a future outside of Ruby Pier.

All the people that Eddie met in heaven were connected to him whether immediately or through ways he could never have possibly known. Albom's idea of heaven is a thoughtful one with lessons around every corner- and even some lessons Albom didn't meant to teach.





The Five People you Meet in Heaven; Explanations of the past that lead to forgiveness

[(Essay date 6 June 2010) In this essay, EW will discuss the progression of the relationship between the main character, Eddie, and his father in Mitch Albom’s Book, The Five People you Meet in Heaven, and the concept that it is never to late to forgive.]

Relationships between family and friends are the foundation of all people’s lives. Companionships shape lives, from first friendships in kindergarten that teach sharing, to relationships with spouses that teach one to eternally love a person even with their flaws. While friendships come and go and sometimes marriages end in divorce, the link between a parent and a child is one that will stay with a person their entire life. In Mitch Albom’s book, The Five People you Meet in Heaven, one can clearly see how the protagonist, Eddie, allows his faulty relationship with his father to define him while he is alive, and even after death. Albom shows through this relationship that sometimes the things unsaid and unexplained can change the value of a life long relationship and lead to forgiveness.

The first introduction of the character of Eddie’s father sums up his personality perfectly. The scene recount when he meets his son for the first time in the hospital. He is unemotional and only nods his head when the nurse points out his new son. Then, Albom describes, “His face seems to crumble, like a bridge collapsing into a river. Then he smiles…His” (Albom 19). Eddie has only known his father as an abusive alcoholic who shows pride by a pat on the back and hatred by silence. When he first sees his son, he tries to stay composed and unemotional, like he does throughout any momentous events in his life, but when he truly recognizes the importance of this moment, he breaks down and the reader sees the true love that he feels for this baby. This is similar to the way that Eddie recognizes his father’s real devotion to his family after his death. The last word in this quote, “his,” also serves as foreshadowing of the relationship the two will have while they are alive. “His” is symbolic of the possession and power that his father will have over him as a child and young adult.

Albom’s use of negative tone and diction whenever discussing his father defines the type of person Eddie’s father is. For example, Albom mentions on Eddie’s fifth birthday “(his) father, as usual, is in a card game” (23). “As usual” implies that his father does not spend much time with him and that it is a normal occurrence for him to ignore his son. On Eddie’s eighth birthday, he snaps at his son and glares at him, showing his insensitivity and temper. This goes on with every one of Eddie’s birthdays. Eddie is neglected by his father who “is playing cards in the corner, in a small cloud of cigar smoke” (53). The reader can feel the tension in Eddie and the rest of his family through the pages and this strain is carried with Eddie everywhere. On the birthday before Eddie is about to go of to war, he receives a cake that reads, “Come home soon.” He notices that the word “soon” is squeezed together so it almost looks like “son,” “Come home son.” This demonstrates Eddie’s desire to feel acceptance and love from his father. Instead, when he sees his father after being wounded and returning from war he, “Tightens every muscle in his body and attempts to keep tears back” (103).

There are many references throughout the book to this unpleasant relationship, which further demonstrates how it is always on Eddie’s mind. One person that Eddie meets in heaven is The Blue Man from the freak show at Ruby Pier, the place that both Eddie and his father work. The Blue Man’s skin is a result of the shame he felt and his need to be accepted by his father. When he was younger, his father would bring him to work with him in a factory to make extra money. One day he spilt something and his boss screamed at him. He wet his pants from fright. Ashamed and embarrassed by his son, his father never spoke to him. To cure his problem he began drinking silver nitrate, however too much of it turned his skin blue. This was Eddie’s first lesson in heaven, that everybody is connected. The silver nitrate that the Blue man drank was a poison. His father was poisoning him, and it resulted in the destruction of his life. Eddie was not alone in his problems with his father. He too believed that his father had poisoned him by his aggression, placing him into a job that he resented. Like the Blue Man, Eddie is scared from his father.

Eddie’s falling out with his father is a symbolic moment in his life. As Eddie sees it, “all parents damage their children” (104). Eddie is damaged through “Neglect, violence, and silence.” As discussed previously, he is neglected and beaten as a child by his father. However, the silence after their argument has the most impact on him. Their falling out occurs one night after the war when his father comes home drunk and yelling that Eddie needs to get a job. His father was about to hit him, but for the first time in his life, Eddie defends himself. After this, his father never speaks to him again. This is a turning point for Eddie. He has lost all respect for his father and tells himself that he no longer needs his father’s acceptance. That Eddie ends up exactly like his father, working at the amusement park Ruby Pier haunts him for the remainder of his years. While he claims to separate himself from his father, the memory is always with him everyday when he goes to work. Eddie does not find his life at Ruby Pier fulfilling. He never became the engineer he had hoped to be and he never got out of that small town he grew up in. From this point on, one can tell that Eddie lets his past with his father destroy who he is. He is unable to see the importance of his life and his job because it is shadowed by the knowledge that his father, an inconsiderate, useless man, had done the same. This clearly demonstrates how Eddie lets this one relationship determine how he lives his life.

Eddie’s meeting with Ruby brings the relationship full circle. Eddie finds out that his father jumps into the freezing ocean during a storm to save Mickey, the same man that tried to seduce his wife. Mickey was an old friend who helped him get a job during hard times. His father recognized he was an alcoholic and was under the influence at the time of his decision. This good dead ultimately led to death as he developed pneumonia. Ruby tells Eddie that during his last moments on earth he called out the names of his wife and children. Eddie did not truly know his father, but learning about his true character underneath his harsh personality gave him the ability to forgive. Eddie is more similar to his father than he knows. They both lose their lives to save another person and while both have the rough exterior of maintenance men at Ruby Pier, they have soft and loyal hearts on the inside.

While this relationship may seem like a simple side story, it is much more than that. Eddie’s and his father’s stubbornness and inability to forgive results in damaged memories and lives. The person who Eddie previously thought was a burden on his life turns out to be the person who teaches him the greatest lesson of all. Albom’s unique portrayal of this father and son relationship is a strong argument for the common phrase that it is never too late to forgive.

(E.W. 2010)



Tuesdays with Morrie: Where Our Culture has Taken Us

[(Essay date 6 June 2010) In this paper, EW will analyze how Morrie’s concept of culture determining a person’s life in Mitch Albom’s Tuesdays with Morrie relates to Albom himself and to all people today.]

Mitch Albom’s Tuesdays with Morrie recounts the meetings of Mitch himself and his old college professor who is dying from a disease known as ALS. The book chronicles the development of Mitch as Morrie shares the things that life has taught him. Morrie’s many sayings such as “Accept what you are able to do and what you are not able to do”;” Learn to forgive yourself and to forgive others”; “Don’t assume it’s too late to get involved” (Albom 18) changes Mitch’s concept of life and inspires him to live each day for what it’s worth. Morrie succeeds in passing on many lessons that affect Mitch’s life, but his idea of distancing oneself from culture in order to create a happy and meaningful life, seems to be the hardest concept for Mitch and the reader to grasp. This concept follows Mitch throughout the entire book and demonstrates human’s psychological need to conform.

At the beginning of Mitch’s once a week meetings with him, Morrie claims, “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). Morrie follows his own advice. Mitch recalls Morrie’s “discussion groups, walks with friends, dancing to his music in the Harvard Square church” (42) and his Greenhouse project to help the poor. Morrie has found meaning in his life by connecting with others. For example, Morrie brings the television interviewer Ted Koppel, a man with a stern, professional personality, to tears during an interview right before his death. He reconnects with Mitch by helping him find meaning in his life. Our culture deems death and illness as something debilitating, scary, the end, but Morrie chooses to ignore this. Morrie tries not to let his illness get the best of him. He even appears on television to discuss it, something that most American’s would view as humiliating. Morrie is practically deteriorating in front of the world, but he does this because it adds meaning to his life. Sharing his wisdom with others is what keeps him living on even after death.

Morrie says, “So many people walk around with a meaningless life…This is because they’re chasing the wrong things” (43). At the beginning of Mitch’s progression, the reader is able to determine that he has fallen into the trap of working to get more money. His life revolves around his work and it has deteriorated his old friendships such as his friendship with Morrie. This lesson from Morrie affects Mitch greatly. He realizes that as a journalist, he has spent his life focusing on other people, movie stars, athletes, and presidents, and has had little time to focus on his own life. He does not realize that what he is chasing is our culture’s definition of success. However, different people have a variety of ways of defining a successful life. Some people define success and meaning by a job, by the size of ones house, by ones accomplishments. Someone like Morrie would define success as finding purpose and enjoyment in life. Mitch’s first step towards a more meaningful life is spending more time with the one’s he loves.

What makes culture this way? Culture is simply a population of people’s perceptions of normality and it leads people to lives that do not define who they are. Culture creates a need within people to be accepted and to conform. The problem of conformity as a result of cultural and societal ideas and opinions is an ongoing theme that can be seen throughout history and even today. For example, 1950’s America is known for its conformity. Every family was the same, men went to work, women stayed home with two children, and each family had a Levitt house in a Levittown. In fact, the massive conformity during the 1950s created the theme of many sci-fi movies. Morrie uses girls who are anorexic and bulimic as an example. These disorders are a result of society portraying only skinny girls as pretty. Without knowing it, society and government brainwashes its people by directing our thoughts and our morals.

Morrie’s lesson about creating one’s own thoughts and morals is a piece of advice that follows Mitch. On page 157, Morrie claims that we must, “Invest in the human family. Invest in people. Build a little community of those you love and who love you.” The theme of letting others define who you are, and showing compassion to the ones you love, seems to be common themes in Mitch Albom’s works. For example, in The Five People you Meet in Heaven, Albom shows a father and son relationship that defines the main character, Eddie’s life. This story of Eddie and his father defend Morrie’s advice of investing in people and loving them with their faults. Mitch takes his advice seriously as it obviously effects him greatly. After Morrie’s death, Mitch is a new person who is more aware of the world around him. As he says on the last page of the book, “The teaching goes on,” (192).

Sometimes it takes the illness of a good friend to help someone change their life for the better and make one question where their life is going and what is directing it. Morrie certainly made his point that we as human beings let the culture around us take control of our lives. His concept provides a solution to the ongoing struggle in societies throughout the world and creates a new challenge for all people: the task of discovering one’s own culture.

(E.W. 2010)




Two Religions Meet at One Common Ground

Character Relations in Have a Little Faith


[Essay date June 10 2011. In this essay, S.G. analyzes the structure of Mitch Albom’s novel Have a Little Faith, and the ways in which the structure creates a deeper knowledge of characters, as well as relates each character to the others. These relations help Albom to emphasize the meaning of his novel.]

In Mitch Albom’s novel Have a Little Faith, a true story is told of a man who as a child feared his rabbi, and later in life began to fear faith itself. After leaving his hometown and his synagogue, his childhood rabbi asked the narrator (Albom) to do his eulogy when he died. The book tells of the meetings between the rabbi and Albom, as well as Albom’s interactions with Henry Covington, an ex-drug dealer who abandoned his old life to become a priest. Throughout the novel, the author depicts three characters, seemingly very different; however, through the layout of the chapters, the characters are proven to be very similar, leading to the theme of the novel that all people have a purpose and all are connected:


“’This is why,’ the Reb said, ‘faith is so important…I may not be remembered in so many years. But what I believe and have taught, that can go on. It comes from my parents and their parents before them. And if it stretches to my grandchildren and to their grandchildren, then we are all, you know…’

Connected?

‘That’s it.'” (Albom 129).

Henry Covington declared himself a Christian at a young age, however, he never quite followed the Christian ways, as he became involved in drugs, tobacco, and felony. The rabbi (Reb as Mitch called him) on the other hand, followed Jewish law his entire life, always knowing he wanted to be a rabbi. Such seemingly opposite characters initially appear to have no common ground, no similarities. Upon first meeting Henry, Mitch is unimpressed by him and uninterested in who he is as a person. However, as he gets to know Henry, Albom states:

“I couldn’t help but compare the Reb and Pastor Henry now and then. Both loved to sing. Both delivered a mean sermon. Like the Reb, Henry had been a shepherd to just one congregation his whole career and a husband to just one wife. And like Albert and Sarah Lewis, Henry and Annette Covington had a son and two daughters, and had lost a child.” (Albom 148).

Here, after taking the time to learn about Henry and his past, Albom is admitting the similarities between the two religious men. Although Mitch is Jewish, he gains a respect and love for Henry, as well as his church. This is evident in the above passage because it is made known throughout the novel that Mitch highly respects the Reb, and his willingness to compare the two men proves them to be equal. In addition, later in the novel, Mitch comes to find out that some of Henry’s church members have nicknamed their pastor “Rebby Reb,” nearly the exact same nickname that Mitch has for his rabbi. Reb is Mitch’s personal nickname for his rabbi, and Henry having the same nickname creates a sense of personal connection between Mitch and Henry that had not yet been present in the novel.


The structure of this novel consists of chapters containing flashbacks of the lives of all three characters, as well as present day scenes. These chapters are, in many cases, set up in such a way that the end of one character’s memory or action is the beginning of another’s. For example, one chapter ends Henry Covington lying on a bathroom floor:

“It was three days before he could put a morsel of food in his mouth. Three days before he could even lift up out of bed.

Three days.
And then he opened his eyes.” (Albom 95).


The following chapter begins:


“The Reb opened his eyes.

He was in the hospital.” (Albom 96).

In the first passage, Henry’s lack of food and movement in the three days lying on the floor symbolize the lifelessness he had been experiencing in his life as a convict. The author creates a moment of awakening for Henry Covington in which he not only comes out of the low life he had been living physically, but his opening eyes symbolize a renewal of his life. Immediately following Henry’s spiritual renewal was the Reb’s physical renewal-his second chance. Waking in a hospital is a sign of the end of life as he knew it and the beginning of a new stage in his life. Previous characterizations of Henry reinforce the Reb’s good character, portraying him as “better” or “more holy.” However, passages such as these placed strategically throughout the novel allow the author to bring the two characters onto the same level. This technique contributes to the connections between the characters as well as creates a deeper knowledge of the depth of the characters.

Through selection of character details and placement of passages, the author allows the reader to get to know one character through another. Such connections lead to the meaning of a novel as a whole-no matter what religion or what background, all people can find common ground and live peacefully with one another.


(S.G. 2011)



Respect Despite Superiority in Tuesdays With Morrie by Mitch Albom


[Essay date June 10, 2011. In this analysis, S.G. analyzes the relationship between Mitch Albom and Morrie Schwartz in Albom’s novel Tuesdays With Morrie. Throughout the novel, Albom details the growing relationship between himself and Morrie through the first person point of view, flashbacks to his college years, as well as the interactions between the two men.]

Morrie Schwartz was a college sociology professor for his entire adult life, until he was diagnosed with ALS. Mitch Albom, a past student, saw the story of his beloved professor on TV and began visiting him every Tuesday. Each Tuesday they spoke about topics such as marriage, fear of death, family, sympathy, and more. The novel details these talks, as well as the growing evolving relationship between Morrie and Mitch. By using the first person point of view, Albom tells his thoughts and feelings as he watches his professor approach death. For example, Mitch held very close to his heart the times that he ate lunch with Morrie. Thus, every Tuesday, he would bring bags of food. When the disease began to attach Morrie’s eating muscles, Mitch couldn’t help but continue to bring food.

“I still shopped every week and walked in with bags to show in, but it was more for the look on his face than anything else. When I opened the refrigerator, I would see and overflow of containers. I guess I was hoping one day we would go back to eating a real lunch together and I could watch the sloppy way in which he talked while chewing, the food spilling happily out of his mouth.” (Albom 145).

In this passage, Mitch is missing the times he spent sharing lunch with Morrie. Sharing meals represents a closeness and respect between two individuals, and Mitch’s difficulty with letting such a moment go shows his deep connection with Morrie. Throughout the novel, Mitch helps the caretakers care for Morrie in ways such as lifting him from his wheelchair to his seat, rubbing lotion on his feet, and helping him use the bathroom when the disease took away his independence. Each of these actions consists of close touching, holding, and physical contact, often of which would make strangers and acquaintances uncomfortable. Mitch’s comfort with such things shows that he cared for Morrie’s soul; his willingness to continue seeing Morrie despite the personal physical dependence Morrie needed proved that Mitch respected and deeply cared for Morrie.

Despite Mitch’s physical superiorities over Morrie, he held Morrie in a very high standard. His desire to learn ways to help Morrie put himself on a level in which he humbled in front of the sickly man. This presents an irony because by social standards, Mitch, the young, strong, financially successful man is held in a higher standard than the old, weak, dying man. However, Morrie states how he feels about this situation in the following passage:

“Sitting there, I felt so much stronger than he, so ridiculously so, as if I could lift him and toss him over my shoulder like a sack of flour. I was embarrassed by this superiority, because I did not feel superior to him in any other way.” (Albom 120).

Here, despite his physical superiority, Mitch admits that he feels less than and admires Morrie in many ways. His embarrassment by this thought shows that he feels Morrie’s spiritual and intellectual superiority conquers his own physical superiority, which is a contrast to the social standard.

Morrie shares and equal respect for Mitch as Mitch does for Morrie. Every Tuesday, no matter how sick he was feeling, Morrie adored the visits from Mitch. Nearing the end of his life, Morrie stated:

“’If I could have had another son, I would have liked it to be you.” (Albom 168).

With this, he tells Mitch how strong a connection, love, and respect he has for him in one sentence. Wishing that Mitch was his son shows that Morrie feels Mitch is family, despite that he has no blood relation. Such a personal statement depicts the deep connection between the two characters.

Albom’s usage of flashback to his college days with Morrie paints a deeper picture of the personalities of the two, as well as the grounds upon which their close relationship was built. Through flashback, the reader learns that Mitch adored Morrie’s class so much he was sure to take at least one of his classes every year. In his junior year, Morrie preformed a trust fall experiment on his students, at the end of which he said:

“’Sometimes you cannot believe what you see, you have to believe what you feel. And if you are ever going to have other people trust you, you must feel that you can trust them too-even in the dark. Even when you’re falling.’” (Albom 61).

This flashback foreshadows Morrie’s future fate with Mitch. It shows that from the beginning, the two men knew the importance of trust within a relationship. That trust is the same trust that allowed them to hold such deep, meaningful conversations later in life. The author’s use of quotations from Mitch’s college years allow him to give a more detailed view of the characters, as well as portray the foundation upon which their relationship was built. For example, in college, Mitch nicknamed Morrie “Coach”, and Morrie nicknamed Mitch his “player.” These personal names carried the two through for years of college, yet seemingly ended when Mitch graduated. Although he thought of Morrie, Mitch no longer contacted his professor, despite his promises. Sixteen years later, as Morrie die of ALS, Mitch called, and said,

“Morrie, my name is Mitch Albom. I was a student of yours in the 1970s. I don’t know if you remember me.”

Morrie responded,

“How come you didn’t call me Coach?” (Albom 194).

This passage, not present in the original book and added in the Afterward on the ten year anniversary, shows that the four years the men spent together left a lasting impression on Morrie. As a whole, the novel proves that the four years, as well as fourteen weeks sixteen years later, that the two men spent together impacted Mitch. Albom’s portrayal of intimate actions and conversations between the two, as well as his use of detailing flashback allows him to expose the deep relationship that they two men felt for each other.

(S.G. 2011)



For One More Day: Analyzing a father and son relationship


[(Essay date 10 June 2011) This literary criticism by A.R., is an interpretation on the relationship between a father and his son, and the effect that it has on the people around them.]


“My father once told me, ‘You can be a mama’s boy or a daddy’s boy. But you can’t be both’” (21 Albom).

When he was young boy, Charley was given a choice to either be close with his mom or dad, a pressured choice his father put upon him. Charley chose to be a “daddy’s boy” and idolized his father “mimicking his walk, his deep smoky laugh, and carrying a baseball glove because he loved baseball” (21). He loved everything about his father and just wanted to be accepted and loved unconditionally by him, this still holding true even when his father walked out on the family. To a small child, the love and relationship with a parent is one of the most important gifts to have in life, and ultimately can be a deciding factor in how that child will turn out years later; in Charley’s case, his strained and complicated relationship with his father would prove to be a negative influence.

The main character Charley was put in an unfair situation when his dad told him to choose one parent over the other. He chose his father not just because he looked up to the man but because he knew his mother would always be there for him. Charley stated, “You see, here’s my theory: Kids chase the love that eludes them, and for me, that was my father’s love. He kept it tucked away, like papers in a briefcase. And I kept trying to get in there…So you cling to the one you think you might lose” (34). He was secure with his relationship with his mother despite the way he treated her, and he knew she loved him unconditionally. His mother would constantly show Charley how much she loved him, while his father would only pay attention to him when the two were playing baseball. The relationship potential between Charley and his mother was real, pure and desperately wanted by her, but his relationship with his father was only for the benefit for him to fulfill his father’s dreams that he once had for himself and never achieved. Charley’s dad was trying to live vicariously through his son by trying to train him to be a great baseball legend. The sad thing out of this whole situation is that Charley even knew how damaged his relationship was with his father, but his desperation to be daddy’s little boy took precedence and he put a hold on everything else.

As the novel progresses, it becomes apparent that Charley feels guilty for how terribly he treated his mother, shunning her from his life in response and expression do to the relationship he cannot have with his father. His remorse even goes far enough that years later after his mother passes, he makes a list of “Times My Mother Stood Up for Me, and Times I Did Not Stand Up for My Mother.” Charley felt “sad, the imbalance of it all. Why do kids assume so much from one parent and hold the other to a lower, looser standard?” (34). The answer to Charley’s question is rather simple, he held his mother accountable for every mistake made or any bad situation that transpired because she was the one who never left. Despite the anger he took out on her, she would have his back, and as the saying goes “A mother’s love is instinctual, unconditional, and forever.”

In order to fill that empty void left by his father, Charley spent the rest of his life doing what he thought his father would want, and his life quickly passed him by. Before Charley knew it, he had no relationship with his mother and he had the same strained relationship with his wife and daughter that his father had with his mother and himself. Like father like son. The regret Charley later speaks about in the book regarding abandoning his mother all connects with his determination to have that hopeful relationship with his father. His mother tried protecting him from his father, but Charley just saw it as his mother trying to prevent their bond from growing versus the latter. In the process of rekindling and holding onto what could be with his father, he also lost the relationships he had with those dearest to him.

When Charley’s dad left the only thing he had left to hold onto that connected him with his father was baseball, and as he says, “Baseball was our common country, and without it, we drifted like two boats with the oars pulled in” (143). Playing baseball was what Charley’s dad had wanted him to do, so he decided that would be his destiny, in order to make his father proud. At one point in the book, Charley leaves his mother’s birthday party to go to a baseball game his father set up for him to play in. That day was the last day he ever saw his mother alive again, for on the day that she died. Charley was playing this baseball game not so much for a career opportunity, more so to try to satisfy that insatiable hunger for a relationship with his dad that he craved his whole life. He left his one constant, his mother, to be with his father whom he had not spoken a word with in years. “A boy can always see his father on a baseball field. In mind, it was just a matter of time before he showed up for real” (112). Going that day was Charley’s last hopeful attempt to get the satisfaction and love that he always searched for in his father, but he quickly found out that his father’s intentions over the years had not changed, he would never change. Not only did Charley have to deal with the fact that his father never had any unconditional love for his own son, but now he had to cope with the loss of the one person who had always loved him, his mother.

In truth it is told, “Parents are God in the eyes of a child.” Charley’s father had spent years hurting and destroying his son. Charley did not have the ability to formulate steady relationships with the people in his life. Unfortunately, for him it seemed that this fact was not pertinent to Charley, a father is a father, and he loved him despite the pain he had caused. By the time Charley had come to the realization of how dysfunctional his relationship with his father was, or the lacking of one, the damage had already been done. Charley had lost his family and lived the majority of his older years agonizing in remorse for what he did not have with his mother. He felt guilty about the years he treated her poorly, never showing any appreciation. What Charley wanted so desperately from his father blinded him to what he had right in front of him the whole time. A mother’s unconditional love and acceptance. A love ripped away torn abruptly, severing a family along with a child’s hopes and dreams, leaving a starry eyed youngster starring into the face of brutal reality, fighting to hold on to Dad as a hero. Charley passed to his daughter along this legacy.

(A.R. 2011)




Structure of The Five People You Meet in Heaven
In this essay, R.N. discusses the structure of The Five People You Meet in Heaven, by Mitch Albom. The essay focuses on how the structure strengthens points and characters, simply divides themes and events, shows character growth, and allows for the abstract subject matter to be easily understood.
.
The novel is broken up into six different parts. The first part is about the end of Eddie’s life. The remaining five parts are about the five people that Eddie meets in his after life. In Eddie’s afterlife, information about his life is exposed and flashbacks provide an insider look.
.
The first portion of the novel, the part in which Eddie’s life takes place, is used to show the contrast between his beliefs and attitude before and after he encounters the five people in heaven; Before his experiences in heaven, Eddie was more negative with his outlook. He was miserable in his own body and miserable with his life. This portion of the novel places the foundation for Eddie’s mental growth and the progression of his mentality throughout the novel.
.
Additionally, the first portion of the novel is used to establish the plot and to strengthen each of the themes, characters, and the progression of Eddie’s state of mind.
.
This portion of the novel also sets up the main idea. Eddie was indirectly killed by the young girl. That young girl affected his life in a strong way. This event also foreshadows Eddie having killed others indirectly (others such as the Blue Man and the young girl at the stream).
.
The second part of the novel also serves multiple purpose was to create a better understanding of both the direction the novel was going in and an understanding of the alternate universe that Eddie was now a part.
.
The second purpose of this portion of the novel was to present and strengthen a theme that would reoccur throughout the entirety of the novel. This lesson is that “nothing is random”; “All things [people, events, etc.] are interconnected.” The Blue Man states, early on, “each affects the other, and the other affects the next, and the world is full of stories, but the stories are all one.”
.
Since this lesson is named out individually so early in the novel, its importance is emphasized more so than the remaining four lessons. Also, it is brought up the most often throughout the novel. However, its importance is undermined by each of the remaining four lessons, all of which are of lesser importance and they suffocate the first and main lesson, thus minimizing and weakening its importance. Albom should have chosen one of the themes to focus on or focused on all of them less and equally. He attempted to have both many lessons and focus strongly on one and the result was both overwhelming and ineffective.
.
Another purpose that this portion of the novel serves is it shows the affect strangers have on one another, supporting the idea that no events are random and all things, including all people, are interconnected. As the Blue Man says, “strangers are just family you have yet to come to know.”
.
The third and fourth sections of the novel consist of the lessons of sacrifice and of letting go of anger. These portions also touch on different types of relationships: comradery, work relationships, and strangers.
.
Throughout the novel, specifically these two parts, Eddie’s personality is changing as he grows and develops mentally. His outlook on life lightens and becomes more positive, and he becomes wiser. One of his strongest moments of growth is when Eddie forgives his father for his all of his wrong-doings. He begins to realize that "holding anger is a poison...It eats you from inside...We think that by hating someone we hurt them...But hatred is a curved blade...and the harm we do to others...we also do to ourselves," and that “All parents [have] damage[d] their children. It cannot be helped.” This part of the novel serves the purpose of character development.
.
In the fifth portion of the novel, Eddie sees Marguerite, the love of his life. The lesson of this portion of the novel is about the power of love. The importance of setting the topic of romantic love apart from the rest of the novel is to emphasize the different type of relationship and accentuate that love is physically only one part of life, as it is also only one portion of the novel. However, mentally and emotionally, love is always present and prominent.
.
Lost love is still love. It takes a different form, that's all. You can't see their smile or bring them food or tousle their
hair or move them around a dance floor. But when those senses weaken another heightens. Memory. Memory
becomes your partner. You nurture it. You hold it. You dance with it.
The structure of the novel accentuates this point.
.
The final character in heaven discusses Eddie’s life’s true meaning. The lesson of this portion of the novel is that each life has its own meaning. Eddie’s life’s purpose was to keep all of the children safe on the boardwalk. This is best shown through one particular conversation Eddie shares with Tala, a young girl:
"’I was sad because I didn't do anything with my life. I was nothing. I accomplished nothing. I was lost. I felt like I wasn't supposed to be there,’ Eddie said.
‘Supposed to be there,’ Tala said.
‘Where? At Ruby Pier?’
She nodded.
Fixing rides? That was my existence?’ He blew a deep breath. ‘Why?’
She tilted her head, as if it were obvious.
‘Children,’ she said. ‘You keep them safe. You make good for me.’
‘Is where you were supposed to be," she said, and then she touched his shirt patch with a small laugh and added two words, "Eddie Main-ten-ance.’"
.
This final section properly closes the rest of the novel by closing everything and exemplifying each of the lessons in Tala, the last character. The placement of this character is ideal. Tala is emotionally mature and shows all of the lessons, especially letting go of anger and the interconnected nature of life.
.
Through the structure that Albom chose to use for this novel, he is able to strengthen each scene, strengthen all of the characters, utilize a more simplistic division of themes and significant points, provide simply laid out progression of character growth, and utilization of different characters. Each point or theme has its own section, while the idea of the novel as a whole was provided throughout the first and second sections of the novel. The structure that Albom uses causes the very abstract subject matter to be portrayed in an easily understood and comprehendible manner.
.
(R.N. 2011)



Psychology and Human Analysis in Tuesdays with Morrie
.
In this criticism, R.N. discusses the psychological context that influences the path of the novel. These psychological details are presented through flashbacks throughout the novel, point of view, and dialogue between Mitch and Morrie.
.
Everyone needs to feel accepted. Through Tuesdays with Morrie, Mitch Albom expresses many observations of human behavior and psychology. Through this novel, conformity to society, conformity from relationships, perceptions effect on human “needs”/priorities, the yearning to be perceived in a certain way, morality and its conditions, and effects of opinions are all covered and analyzed or discussed throughout the novel. This psychological input is expressed through character commentary and dialogue, point of view, and details.
.
Morrie consistently mentions the affect that society has on people. He discusses society induced norms and the strong influence that it has over the people of those particular societies. This sociological conformity is displayed through Mitch Albom, the main character. Much of this conformist behavior is in desperate search for love and acceptance. Morrie expresses his thoughts, saying, “the truth is, when our mothers held us, rocked us, stroked our heads-none of us ever got enough of that. We all yearn in some way to return to those days when we were completely taken care of-unconditional love, unconditional attention. Most of us didn't get enough."
.
This would also include Mitch’s obsession with money and work early in the novel. At the beginning of the novel, his biggest concern was money. His finances and his career were his highest priorities. “You start making money a god. It is all part of this culture.” This is ironic because money is created by society as a solid form of representation of an abstraction. However, society makes him perceive it as important. Morrie was the foil character with a different set of beliefs and opinions. He helps to open Mitch’s eyes to more than just money; Morrie brought up deeper topics for Mitch’s contemplation.
.
Albom also includes the human influence on one another. People mimic people whom they admire. This is shown through character-character relationships, namely Mitch and Morrie’s relationship. Mitch is a type-A personality, in the beginning. He then spends time with Morrie. Morrie says:
.
So many people walk around with a meaningless life. They seem half-asleep, even when they’re busydoing things they think are important. This is because they’re chasing the wrong things. The way youget meaning into your life is to devote yourself to loving others, devote yourself to your communityaround you, and devote yourself to creating something that gives you purpose and meaning (43).
.
The more time he spends with Morrie, the more he mechanically mimics Morrie’s thought pattern. This is when he starts re-directing his prioreties and what is important to him. By the end of the novel, Mitch thinks in a way that parallels Morrie’s pattern of thought.
.
People are also affected by past life events. This, also, is portrayed in the novel. Early on in the novel, Mitch alludes to his uncle’s death. He talks about this death and how it changed his life. He claims that this event is what changed his life from a less financially, more dream oriented lifestyle to a financially secure lifestyle in which he wasn’t happy.
After the funeral, my life changed. I felt as if time were suddenly precious,
water going down an open drain, and I could not move quickly enough. No
more playing music at half-empty night clubs. No more writing songs in my
apartment, songs that no one would hear.
In this novel, events and their effect on the human mentality is discussed. Also, the likelihood of people to give up or use tragic events as an excuse to be lazy and give up is discussed.
.
Another strong psychological topic that was exemplified was that the same person will receive different treatment if they are sick or dying, like Morrie was. When a person feels sorry for someone else, it changes their moral standard. For example, Mitch hadn’t made contact with Morrie for years! As soon as Mitch discovers Morrie’s illness, he attempts to rekindle the relationship. However, morals should be consistent. Guilt just becomes overwhelming if morality is ignored when associating with someone with limited time (or in another less-than-ideal situation).
.
.
(R.N. 2011)