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Tuesdays With Morrie

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All throughout his college days, Mitch had been concerned with impressing others, and did so by hiding his age behind a facade of toughness. It seems that presently, in his adulthood, Mitch hides behind this same screen. There is only a small trace of tenderness in his character, a trace that is eventually drawn out by Morrie. But prior to his reunion with his professor, Mitch seems driven only by the prospect of financial success and professional power, which is obvious when he chooses to remain on the phone with his producer, as Morrie sits waving at him from his lawn. Mitch is ridden with guilt for making this choice to ignore a beloved friend for a business prospect, and it is this glimmer of remorse that marks the traces of goodness that lies within Mitch. His reunion with Morrie helps him to realize that his priorities are backwards, and to eventually tap the goodness that he has somehow lost during his years as a cutthroat journalist.

It is implied that Mitch reunites with his professor because, upon seeing his interview on "Nightline," remembers the good student and the good person he had been during his time with Morrie at Brandeis. Mitch is

nostalgic for his former self, and seems not to recognize the man he has become. Just as Morrie's "softness" had been attractive to him in college, Mitch now needs this compassion and tenderness from Morrie to regain some sense of the man he had been as well as the man he would like to be. The relationship that Mitch and Morrie share, however, is not one-sided. Morrie also benefits from his time with Mitch, as he is able to live in vicarious spirit through Mitch and the escapades he is now experiencing for the first time in his young life. This rare dynamic between Mitch and Morrie is embodied by the nicknames they call one another, Morrie being the "coach" and Mitch being the "player." Morrie has lived a long, experienced life and passes his experiences on to Mitch, so that he may learn from them, as Morrie has, and literally play them out in his life.

Although he has learned much from Morrie, Mitch is still learning his most pressing lesson, which is to reject the cultural norm if it is not conducive to one's own happiness. Mitch is clearly entangled in the norms of culture, living the life of the young, successful professional who is too overrun with work to think of

anything else. His trouble with breaking from these cultural norms is most obvious in his hesitation to be

honest about death and the physical embarrassment that comes with aging. Eventually, with more Tuesday visits, Mitch will learn from Morrie how to break free of these norms, and will gradually come to accept Morrie's physical debilitation and impending death as a natural part of the life cycle. (Trainor,



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