Tuesdays with Morrie

Love, Family, and Community Theme Analysis

Themes and Colors
Teaching and Learning Theme Icon
Death Theme Icon
Culture and Religion Theme Icon
Movement and Change Theme Icon
Love, Family, and Community Theme Icon
LitCharts assigns a color and icon to each theme in Tuesdays with Morrie, which you can use to track the themes throughout the work.
Love, Family, and Community Theme Icon

"Love each other or perish" is Morrie's favorite line by poet W. H. Auden, and it is the guiding philosophy of Morrie's life. He believes there is nothing as important as relationships with friends, family, and community. The text provides some nuances as to how that love is expressed by questioning if love is still valid and useful if it's harder to see. Watching Morrie's relationships evolve throughout his life asks the reader to consider the degree of validity for those statements.

Morrie comes back again and again to the importance of community and family, especially in light of his deteriorating health. Morrie's self-created culture is, at its heart, about prioritizing people and relationships over accumulating material things. He makes a point to receive as many visitors as possible and reply to much of the mail he gets following the Nightline interview. This interaction with his greater community is vitally important to Morrie, as he uses his community to spread what he's learned about life and death. By interacting with his community in this way, he never has to truly give up teaching.

Family is held up as being immensely important, even more so than platonic friends. The reader is asked to consider the difference between the way that Morrie's family functions and the way that Mitch's family functions. Morrie's immediate family is very close; his sons and his wife, Charlotte, are around to support him through his illness. Morrie believes deeply in familial responsibility, saying that his family can't choose not to support him through his illness like a friend could. Because of this, he places a great degree of emphasis on the decisions to marry and have children when Mitch brings up the topic. On the other hand, Mitch's brother, Peter, moved to Spain and is battling cancer mostly estranged from Mitch and the rest of their family. The text does present a hopeful tone for repairing relationships with family, however. After Morrie's death, Mitch is finally able to reach out successfully to Peter with a message of love and compassion, and Peter is responsive to that.

Love is a central tenet of Morrie's philosophy, and as the book follows the vignettes through his early life, it shows both how he was highly motivated by a desire to love and be loved, and how that desire is universal. When Morrie was very young, his affectionate mother dies and he is left longing for love and affection from his colder and more reserved father, Charlie. He finally receives parental affection from Eva, his stepmother. Later in life, when he creates his own family with Charlotte and has two sons, he vows to give them the love that he never got from his own father. In this way, love is the ultimate motivator for Morrie's actions throughout the scope of the book as well as throughout his life. Mitch as well is motivated by love. His relationship with Morrie while at school flourishes in part because Morrie meets Mitch where he is in life, responding to Mitch's desire to be heard and supported in his dreams and desires.

In the end, it is Mitch's love and respect for Morrie that brings about the positive changes in Mitch's life, and which motivates Mitch to capture and explain the lessons he has learned from Morrie in Tuesdays with Morrie. Morrie's love and support allows Mitch to more fully embrace his life, his goals, and his ability to love and be open and vulnerable to those whom he loves. Throughout the text, Mitch notes that Morrie has an unshakable belief that Mitch is still the kind and sensitive person he was when he was in school, and the love and community he experiences with Morrie allows him to return in some form to that person. The book seeks also to do that for the reader, giving readers the tools to be loving and compassionate, and in so doing to become a more fulfilled individual.

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Love, Family, and Community Quotes in Tuesdays with Morrie

Below you will find the important quotes in Tuesdays with Morrie related to the theme of Love, Family, and Community.
The Syllabus Quotes

Morrie cried and laughed with them. And all the heartfelt things we never get to say to those we love, Morrie said that day. His "living funeral" was a rousing success.

Related Characters: Mitch Albom (speaker), Morrie Schwartz, Charlotte
Page Number: 13
Explanation and Analysis:

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The Student Quotes

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.

Related Characters: Mitch Albom (speaker)
Page Number: 15
Explanation and Analysis:

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Instead, I buried myself in accomplishments, because with accomplishments, I believed I could control things, I could squeeze in every last piece of happiness before I got sick and died, like my uncle before me, which I figured was my natural fate.

Related Characters: Mitch Albom (speaker), Janine
Page Number: 17
Explanation and Analysis:

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The Audiovisual Quotes

Do you prefer Mitch? Or is Mitchell better?

Related Characters: Morrie Schwartz (speaker), Mitch Albom
Page Number: 24
Explanation and Analysis:

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The First Tuesday Quotes

I knew there was plenty of food at the house, but I wanted to contribute something. I was so powerless to help Morrie otherwise. And I remembered his fondness for eating.

Related Characters: Mitch Albom (speaker), Morrie Schwartz
Related Symbols: Food
Page Number: 48
Explanation and Analysis:

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The Second Tuesday Quotes

Holding him like that moved me in a way I cannot describe, except to say I felt the seeds of death inside his shriveling frame, and as I laid him in his chair, adjusting his head on the pillows, I had the coldest realization that our time was running out.
And I had to do something.

Related Characters: Mitch Albom (speaker), Morrie Schwartz
Page Number: 59
Explanation and Analysis:

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The Fifth Tuesday Quotes

“If you don't have the support and love and caring and concern that you get from a family, you don't have much at all. Love is so supremely important. As our great poet Auden said, 'Love each other or perish.'”

Related Characters: Morrie Schwartz (speaker), Mitch Albom, Charlotte, Rob, Jon
Page Number: 91
Explanation and Analysis:

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The Sixth Tuesday Quotes

Charlotte glanced again at my food and I felt suddenly ashamed. All these reminders of things Morrie would never enjoy.

Related Characters: Mitch Albom (speaker), Morrie Schwartz, Charlotte
Related Symbols: Food
Page Number: 102
Explanation and Analysis:

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The Professor, Part Two Quotes

Morrie observed that most of the patients there had been rejected and ignored in their lives, made to feel that they didn't exist. They also missed compassion—something the staff ran out of quickly. And many of these patients were well-off, from rich families, so their wealth did not buy them happiness or contentment.

Related Characters: Mitch Albom (speaker), Morrie Schwartz
Page Number: 110
Explanation and Analysis:

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Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

The Eighth Tuesday Quotes

When I give my time, when I can make someone smile after they were feeling sad, it's as close to healthy as I ever feel.

Related Characters: Morrie Schwartz (speaker), Mitch Albom
Page Number: 128
Explanation and Analysis:

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The Tenth Tuesday Quotes

As my wife's loving voice filled the room, a crescent smile appeared on his face. And while his body was stiff as a sandbag, you could almost see him dancing inside it.

Related Characters: Mitch Albom (speaker), Morrie Schwartz, Janine
Related Symbols: Dance
Page Number: 146
Explanation and Analysis:

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The Eleventh Tuesday Quotes

“In the beginning of life, when we are infants, we need others to survive, right? And at the end of life, when you get like me, you need others to survive, right?”
His voice dropped to a whisper. “But here's the secret: in between, we need others as well.”

Related Characters: Morrie Schwartz (speaker), Mitch Albom
Page Number: 157
Explanation and Analysis:

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If I could have had another son, I would have liked it to be you.

Related Characters: Morrie Schwartz (speaker), Mitch Albom
Page Number: 168
Explanation and Analysis:

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Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

The Thirteenth Tuesday Quotes

Then I'd go for a walk, in a garden with some trees, watch their colors, watch the birds, take in the nature that I haven't seen in so long now.
In the evening, we'd all go together to a restaurant with some great pasta, maybe some duck—I love duck—and then we'd dance the rest of the night. I'd dance with all the wonderful dance partners out there, until I was exhausted.

Related Characters: Morrie Schwartz (speaker), Mitch Albom
Related Symbols: Food, The Natural World and Morrie's Hibiscus, Dance
Page Number: 176
Explanation and Analysis:

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The Fourteenth Tuesday Quotes

I blinked back the tears, and he smacked his lips together and raised his eyebrows at the sight of my face. I like to think it was a fleeting moment of satisfaction for my dear old professor: He had finally made me cry.

Related Characters: Mitch Albom (speaker), Morrie Schwartz
Page Number: 186
Explanation and Analysis:

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Conclusion Quotes

The last class of my old professor's life took place once a week, in his home, by a window in his study where he could watch a small hibiscus plant shed its pink flowers. The class met on Tuesdays. No books were required. The subject was the meaning of life. It was taught from experience.
The teaching goes on.

Related Characters: Mitch Albom (speaker), Morrie Schwartz
Related Symbols: The Natural World and Morrie's Hibiscus
Page Number: 192
Explanation and Analysis:

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The Professor Quotes

Eva would kiss them good-night. Morrie waited on those kisses like a puppy waits on milk, and he felt, deep down, that he had a mother again.

Related Characters: Mitch Albom (speaker), Morrie Schwartz, David, Charlie, Eva
Page Number: 76
Explanation and Analysis:

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Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.