How does the point of view of Morrie and Mitch in Tuesdays with Morrie influence the reader?

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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The point of view between Morrie and Mitch is one of teacher and student.  This frame of reference is critical in the influence it casts upon the reader.  One of the fundamental lessons out of the work is that we are all someone's student.  Someone out there is our teacher, our guru, one at whose feet we sit and learn no matter the age or where we are in life.  As we are always learning, the relationship with our teachers becomes vital in this process.  It is this frame of reference that guides the narrative and this has a profound effect on the reader.  It forces the reader to reflectively think about who is their "Morrie."  Who are or were the people in our lives that impacted us with such tremendous gravity that we would feel compelled to initiate contact decades after?  This point of view creates a reflective capacity within the reader, affecting them profoundly.

Another way in which the point of view between Morrie and Mitch influences the reader is in the lessons that are taught.  Morrie was Mitch's teacher in college. However, as they are meeting over their Tuesdays, it is evident that Morrie is teaching Mitch lessons about life and life in the face of death.  The reality of death is a lesson on which few are qualified to provide instruction.  In a sense, it is a class that we are always preparing for without much in way of assessment or progress monitoring.  Mitch learns from Morrie that the best way to face death is to live life and embrace that which is essential. Mitch is still learning from Morrie:

No grades were given, but there were oral exams each week. You were expected to respond to questions, and you were expected to pose questions of your own. You were also required to perform physical tasks now and then, such as lifting the professor's head to a comfortable spot on the pillow or placing his glasses on the bridge of his nose. Kissing him good-bye earned you extra credit.

No books were required, yet many topics were covered, including love, work, community, family, aging, forgiveness, and, finally, death. The last lecture was brief, only a few words.

This point of view influences the reader because of, again, the reflective capacity.  Morrie teaches Mitch about how to live life in the face of death. This same lesson is something that the reader learns, as well.  The reader must empathize with Mitch and apply his situation to their own life.  In the final and ultimate class that Mitch takes with Morrie, the reader is influenced because Mitch is learning about the most important lesson.  This class is something that the reader can only hope to take and learn what Mitch has learned. 

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