The Last Lecture

The Last Lecture


Randy Pausch

Teachers and parents! Our Teacher Edition on The Last Lecture makes teaching easy.

The Last Lecture: Chapter 31 Summary & Analysis

In grad school, Randy developed a habit of tipping back the chair at his dining room table. When Randy went back home his Mom would always yell that he was going to break it. Randy liked doing it, so they would get into this argument over and over. Finally, they created a contract—if Randy broke the chair, he’d have to replace not just the chair, but the whole dining room set. But, until he broke it, Randy’s mom could no longer lecture him. So, both of them got what they wanted—Randy’s mom stopped lecturing him, and Randy kept leaning back, never actually breaking the chair. Until the day Randy died, that agreement was in place. In fact, the whole dynamic eventually changed—Randy believes his mom might actually want him to break it, as she’s long had her eye on a new dining-room set.
Similar to the Randolph vs. Randy issue, Randy’s mother hates when Randy tips back the chairs in her dining room. This time, Randy is proactive and strikes a compromise with his mother. Randy uses the obstacle of his mother’s disapproval to create a bargain, which makes them both happy and ends their conflict.
Obstacles as Opportunities Theme Icon
Attitude and Positive Behavior Theme Icon