How does Mitch change in Tuesdays With Morrie?
In Tuesdays With Morrie, Mitch learns to be more fully human. Before he reconnected with Morrie, Mitch was preoccupied with his career as a sports journalist. He worked constantly yet in an unselfconscious way: he did not stop to question why he did what he did or even whether he enjoyed it. It was as if work was a distraction, something to do instead of feeling.
One of the things that surprises Mitch the most about Morrie when they meet is Morrie's lack of self-pity and his desire for human connection. Mitch expected someone dying of a debilitating illness to be bitter, but Morrie is just the opposite. He tells Mitch that he allows himself to cry and mourn for a few minutes in the mornings, but then he moves on, focusing on living purposefully and loving those around him. One of the first things Morrie teaches Mitch is that the key to happiness is the ability to give and receive love. This message is brought home to Mitch by Morrie's embrace of him when they first meet—even though they have not seen each other for many years, Morrie remains Mitch's "coach."
Another lesson Mitch learns from Morrie is that everyone is responsible for their personal "culture." Even though Morrie is very sick, he has created a caring culture around himself that is nurturing and adds to his feeling fulfilled. Mitch's work culture, on the other hand, works in the opposite way: all too often, it is a source of unhappiness. To Morrie, living in a way that makes you unhappy is a kind of irrationality:
"Dying," Morrie suddenly said, "is only one thing to be sad over Mitch. Living unhappily is something else. So many of the people who come to visit me are unhappy."
Mitch's time with his old teacher has a profound impact on him. He realizes that what Morrie has taught him is something that should be shared with the world, and the book he writes about Morrie is both a record of Morrie's teachings and the best example of turning love into action.