Tuesdays with Morrie

Tuesdays with Morrie The Tenth Tuesday Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
A few days prior to the visit, Mitch callsMorrie’s house to see how he’s doing. Morrie isn’t doing well—one cough sometimes lasts an hour, and he needs to use his oxygen machine almost nightly. Mitch tells Morrie that he’ll see him on Tuesday, and Morrie asks if he can speak to Mitch’s wife, Janine. Morrie has been asking about Janine since Mitch started visiting, and she and Morrie chat for a minute before hanging up. Janine announces that she’s coming with Mitch on Tuesday.
Morrie is declining fast, and his increasing dependence on mechanical interventions show just how bad his case has become. Though Mitch himself is more hardened and materialistic, the people he talks about being close to (Janine, Morrie) are described as extremely kind and open, opening up the possibility that Mitch might not be as “fallen” as he thinks, even prior to his Tuesday visits.
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On Tuesday, Janine and Mitch sit with Morrie in his office. Mitch notes that Morrie seems to have more energy than usual, attributing the energy to Janine’s presence and Morrie being a flirt. After asking Janine about Detroit, Morrie begins to recount a story of teaching in Detroit in the late 40s. Before he begins, he struggles to blow his nose, and Mitch helps him with the tissue.
While Mitch has been embarrassed by Morrie's physical limitations, he's unembarrassed to help Morrie in front of Janine. Morrie's newfound energy in Janine's presence shows how important fostering community and connections is to Morrie.
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Morrie resumes his story. He was in a poker group with other staff members at the university where he was teaching. The group included a surgeon, who approached Morrie after a game and said he’d like to watch Morrie work. The surgeon attended one of Morrie’s classes and afterwards invited Morrie to observe a surgery he was performing later that night. When Morrie arrived at the hospital, he was told to scrub down and put on a gown for surgery. He was right next to the surgeon as he started the surgery on the patient, but as soon as Morrie saw blood, he began to feel like he was going to faint. A nurse mistook Morrie for a doctor, and Janine, Mitch, and Morrie laugh. Mitch wonders how Morrie once fainted seeing someone else’s illness, but he’s so able to deal with his own illness.
This poker group is an example of one of the ways that Morrie has built community throughout his life. His interest in the surgeon's work is genuine and a way to make connections. Retelling the story in the present is a way for Morrie to continue making connections and building community now that he's meeting Janine.
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Connie knocks on the office door to tell Morrie his lunch is ready. Morrie is now only capable of eating liquids and pureed foods. Mitch continues to shop at Morrie’s favorite deli every week even though the containers of foodare still uneaten from the last several weeks. Mitch tells the reader that he foolishly hopes that one day Morrie will be able to eat a real lunch again.
Mitch willingly admits he's in denial, which indicates that he's accepting the inevitability of Morrie’s death. The weekly deli food is now just an offering of friendship, not also a means of nourishment and life.
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Get the entire Tuesdays with Morrie LitChart as a printable PDF.
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Morrie takes Janine’s hand and begins to ask her about her profession: singing. Janine is modest and deflects praise, but when Morrie asks her to sing for him, she begins to sing a 1930s love song written by Ray Noble. Mitch is surprised at Morrie’s ability to draw emotion from people, as Mitch expected Janine to politely decline, as she usually does when asked to sing. Mitch notes that despite the stiffness of Morrie’s body, he can almost see Morrie dancing inside to Janine’s song. When she finishes, Morrie is brought to tears.
Mitch sees Janine's willingness to sing as a typical response to Morrie's kindness and openness. Janine, who is described by Mitch as very kind and generous, is willing to open up after a very short period of time. Compare this to Mitch, who is still in the process of opening up after ten weeks of visits following four years of mentoring while in school.
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Mitch thinks about the struggles he sees his generation having with marriage, and asks Morrie why they have such problems. Morrie answers that he feels sorry for Mitch’s generation, because given modern culture, a relationship can make up for some of the gaps not filled by the culture itself. Morrie goes on to say that he thinks Mitch’s generation doesn’t know what they want in a partner and don’t know who they themselves are, and therefore their marriages don’t work.
It's not explicit, but Morrie is referring back to his idea of spiritual security, which here he feels can counteract the negativity of modern culture. This shows just how much stock and faith Morrie puts in personal relationships if he believes they can successfully take on culture.
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Morrie sighs and says that loved ones like a spouse are so important, saying that a friend, while great, isn’t going to be there all night to provide care the way a spouse would. Mitch steps back from the narrative to talk about Charlotte. Morrie and Charlotte have been married 44 years, and Mitch marvels at their communication, which is often just a glance of understanding. Charlotte is a very private person, and the only time Morrie holds back in conversations is when he thinks Charlotte might be uncomfortable if Morrie said a certain thing.
We see how highly Morrie regards Charlotte, as he filters his words to care for her. He also implies here, as we've previously seen, that Charlotte is providing a great deal of emotional and physical care for Morrie, as she is spending nights awake with him.
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Back in the narrative, Mitch asks if there’s a rule to know if a marriage is going to work. Morrie smiles, saying that things aren’t that simple, but offers that a marriage will have trouble if you don’t respect the other person, if you don’t know how to compromise, if you can’t talk openly, and if you don’t have a common set of values. Morrie continues, saying the biggest value is one’s belief in the importance of marriage. Closing his eyes, he says that he believes marriage is highly important and you miss out if you don’t try it. Morrie then quotes his favorite poem again, “love each other or perish.”
Morrie obviously practices what he preaches, as it's obvious from the way that his relationship with Charlotte has been described that he believes his marriage is extremely important. By invoking the Auden quote again, Morrie further notes the importance of his marriage to Charlotte specifically, as he's made it clear that he would truly perish without her love and support.
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Mitch tells Morrie he has a question. He reminds Morrie of the Book of Job from the Bible. Job was a good man, but God made him suffer to test his faith. God took everything away from him, including his health, and Mitch then asks Morrie what he thinks about that. Morrie coughs, and when he recovers, he smiles and replies that he thinks that God overdid it.
Compare the list of things that God took away from Job to what Morrie suffers—while Morrie has lost his health, he still has his family, friends, and home, and a rounded and diverse concept of faith.
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Love, Family, and Community Theme Icon