Tuesdays with Morrie

Tuesdays with Morrie The Twelfth Tuesday Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
The next Tuesday, Mitch is visiting Morrie. As they talk, Mitch is massaging Morrie’s feet, something he’d watched Morrie’s care workers do for months but now volunteers to do in an attempt to hold on and make Morrie happy. Despite not being able to move, Morrie can still feel pain, and massages help.
Mitch has fully embraced Morrie's desire for human touch. His willingness to perform this act allows us to see that Mitch is accepting how much Morrie means to him.
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Mitch’s question for the week is the importance of forgiveness. Mitch wonders if Morrie had a need to say sorry for anything before he died. Morrie nods to a bronze bust on his bookshelf, telling Mitch that it’s a sculpture of Morrie that a friend made 30 years ago. Morrie and this friend were very close, but Morrie says the story took a sad turn when the friend and his wife moved to Chicago. Not long after, Charlotte underwent a serious operation. The friend never reached out even though they knew Charlotte wasn’t well. Over the years, Morrie met the friend several times but never accepted his apology. Morrie begins to choke up and tells Mitch that a few years ago, his friend died of cancer, and Morrie never got to forgive him or say goodbye. Morrie begins to cry.
Morrie hasn't always been so open and forgiving; at one point he had to learn some of the lessons he's now teaching Mitch. This story does, however, emphasize how important his relationship with Charlotte is to Morrie. A lapse in support of their relationship was enough for Morrie to effectively end a friendship.
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Mitch continues to rub Morrie's feet, leaving Morrie alone with his thoughts. After a minute, Morrie whispers that we need to forgive ourselves as well as others for the things we didn't do. Morrie continues, saying that he always wished he'd written more books, but he realizes now that thinking like that never did him any good. Mitch wipes Morrie's tears, and Morrie tells Mitch that he needs to forgive himself and others, because not everyone is so lucky to get the time to do so that Morrie is getting.
This is another instance where we see how much Morrie himself has changed throughout his life. He didn't always take what he's now teaching Mitch to heart; he had to learn these lessons too. This helps humanizethe otherwise sometimes saint-like Morrie, as we see that he too has faults.
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When Mitch questions Morrie's use of "lucky," Morrie reminds Mitch of the tension of opposites, and says that while he mourns the short amount of time he has, he cherishes that the time he has allows him to make things right. Mitch continues to rub Morrie's feet and notices the hibiscus plant is still holding on in the window.
The hibiscus plant is a symbol for Morrie, and both are still hanging on. We also see the tension of opposites again, but this time applied to Morrie. This helps to make it a more universally applicable idea rather than something that just pertains to Mitch.
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Get the entire Tuesdays with Morrie LitChart as a printable PDF.
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Morrie tells Mitch to look at him, and when Mitch glances up, Morrie's look is intense. Morrie says that he doesn't know why Mitch came back, but wanted to tell him that if could've had another son, he would've liked it to be Mitch. Mitch feels a moment of fear and betrayal of his own father, but when he sees Morrie smiling, he realizes there's no betrayal in accepting Morrie's words. Mitch says to the reader that all he's afraid of now is saying goodbye.
This is an important moment of Mitch and Morrie's relationship. It makes the shift from purely teacher/student to a familial bond with this admission by Morrie and Mitch's acceptance. Mitch understands that love isn't finite, as accepting the relationship with Morrie doesn't diminish or overshadow his relationship with his own father.
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Morrie says that he's picked a place to be buried—on a hill, under a tree, overlooking a pond. He says it's a good place to think. Morrie asks Mitch if he'll come and visit, and tell Morrie his problems. Mitch asks if Morrie will give him answers, and Morrie says he'll give Mitch what he can. Mitch thinks about the grave and sitting there, and tells Morrie that it won't be the same when he can't hear Morrie talk. Morrie says that after he's dead, Mitch can talk and Morrie will listen.
Mitch is being somewhat facetious here because he doesn't really want to think about how life will be once Morrie's gone. Morrie's comment about listening while Mitch talks references a reversal of the teacher/student relationship, in essence foreshadowing the publishing of the book itself.
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