How do motifs enhance the story of Tuesdays with Morrie?

Expert Answers
clairewait eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Keep in mind that a motif is an important idea or a subject that is repeated throughout a book, warranting further investigation into a deeper meaning. Though Tuesdays with Morrie is considered a memoir, and therefore mostly non-fiction, it does contain two prominent motifs. The first is the media. The author and narrator is a reporter and has been working for the media for most of his life. His reconnection with the old professor comes at a time when Albom is under a lot of stress and pressure from losing his job, and has lost his original passion and enthusiasm for what he once would have considered a noble persuit (journalism). He cannot help but notice that the media tends to focus on nothing but negativity in the world: homicide stories, horrific events, crime. It seems the media has become evil. Morrie, on the other hand, is a beacon of positivity and light. As the narrator reconnects with Morrie and his gift of positivity, though a series of interviews, he is reconnecting with his joy in journalism. Further, in the publication of this book, the author overcomes the idea that only negative stories become best sellers.

Another motif in the story is food. Second only to dancing, Morrie's favorite thing to do is eat. He speaks frequently of family meals, and coming together in the name of celebration and food. Every time Mitch visits him, he brings Morrie food. As the story (and Morrie's illness) progress, it becomes more and more difficult for the old professor to eat, until one day, he cannot eat at all. This is a sad picture of two realities. Morrie is dying, and despite the fact that his spirit and his attitude remain positive, as he loses the ability to eat, the reality is that he is going to lose his connection to the world. This is an especially noteworthy realization for the narrator, who almost needs such a tangible proof that he is losing the strongest man and relationship he knows.

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