illustration of author Mitch Albom sitting next to Morrie Schwartz, who is lying in a bed

Tuesdays With Morrie

by Mitch Albom

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Tuesdays With Morrie Characters

The main characters in Tuesdays With Morrie are Morrie Schwartz, Mitch Albom, Janine, Charlotte, David, and Charlie.

  • Morrie Schwartz is Mitch Albom’s friend and mentor, who uses their Tuesday meetings to teach Mitch important lessons about life, death, and love.
  • Mitch Albom, the author and narrator, begins visiting his former professor Morrie on Tuesdays after Morrie is diagnosed with ALS.
  • Janine is Mitch’s wife, who accompanies him to his tenth Tuesday with Morrie.
  • Charlotte is Morrie’s wife, who updates Mitch about Morrie’s health.
  • David is Morrie’s brother, who contracted polio as a child.
  • Charlie is Morrie’s father, who worked in a fur factory.


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Last Updated on February 23, 2022, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 926

Morrie Schwartz

Morrie Schwartz, the son of Russian-Jewish immigrants, grew up in poverty in New York City. As a child he was no stranger to tragedy; his mother died when he was only eight, and a year later, his brother contracted polio. Morrie’s father was a distant, solitary soul, and for a time, Morrie felt the full weight of a child growing up in a world devoid of affection. Fortunately, his father remarried, and his new wife, Eva, provided the affirmation and gentle guidance for which the sensitive young boy so desperately yearned. Through Eva, Morrie learned how to love and care, and to value education. When Morrie was old enough, his father tried to get him a job in the fur factory where he worked, but the boy was horrified by the sight of the employees toiling feverishly in filthy conditions, cringing under the harangues of the boss, who screamed constantly at his workers to move more quickly. Fortunately for young Morrie, this happened during the Depression, and there was no work for him. Evidencing the sense of humanity that would direct his life, Morrie promised himself then and there that he would never take part in any work that depended on the exploitation of others.

Morrie worked for awhile in a mental hospital before becoming a teacher. There, he saw firsthand the devastating effects of growing up in an environment devoid of compassion and love. He became a professor of sociology at Boston’s Brandeis University during the turbulent 1960s and taught classes on mental health and illness, social psychology, and “group process,” in which he emphasized human relationships over scientific theory. Morrie introduced students to the things he believed were important in life—finding meaning in silence, learning to trust others, and seeking the intangible things which bring contentment.

Morrie’s lessons were effective because he lived what he taught. He valued his students as individuals and made them feel important, making time to fellowship with one or another of them after class or over lunch, to share ideas and discuss what was on their minds. Throughout his life he enveloped himself in a “cocoon of human activity,” interacting with others without reservation, feeling emotions deeply, and dancing unabashedly to music only he could hear. When he received his sentence of death, he continued his philosophy of living life to its fullest. Determined not to die alone and detached like his father, he surrounded himself with friends and family. Morrie actively explored death as his “final project” and shared what he learned so that others who would follow would know the way.

Mitch Albom

Mitch Albom was a freshman at Brandeis University when he first met Morrie Schwartz. As a student in one of his classes, Mitch was drawn by his professor’s gentle attitude and the respect with which he treated his students. Morrie showed genuine interest in Mitch, penetrating the young man’s facade of toughness. The two would sometimes meet in the cafeteria just to talk, and when the semester was over, Mitch signed up for another of Morrie’s classes, eventually taking every course he ever taught.

Despite the informal atmosphere in Morrie’s classes and the “touchy-feely” nature of the material covered, Mitch soon recognized that his favorite professor had an insatiable passion for books and was truly a scholar. During their frequent discussions during his four years at Brandeis, Mitch, who affectionately began to call Morrie “Coach,” found that he could express his concerns about life with Morrie in a way he never could with his own father. Mitch’s father wanted him to become a lawyer, but Mitch, who was an accomplished pianist, wanted to be a musician. When Mitch...

(This entire section contains 926 words.)

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confided this information to Morrie, his teacher warned him that to succeed in his endeavor would be extremely tough, but if he really wanted it, he would make it work.

As it turned out, Mitch did not achieve his dream of being a great pianist. He tried for awhile but became frustrated and, seized by a sense of urgency to make something of his life as quickly as possible after witnessing the death of a close relative, earned a master’s degree in journalism and became a sportswriter. Mitch buried himself in his work, making “more money than he had ever figured to see.” He detached himself from his emotions and cut himself off from all his old acquaintances, forgetting everything he ever learned from his professor, Morrie Schwartz.

Mitch was never sure why he felt compelled to rekindle his relationship with Morrie when he saw him on television sixteen years later. Knowing the direction his life had taken, he was uncomfortable and ashamed. Morrie, however, received him without censure and with a quiet sympathy for the unhappiness he sensed in his former student’s life. Even so, life in the fast lane was so ingrained in Mitch that he might not have returned after that first visit, except for a strike against the newspaper which left him essentially unemployed. Having lost the job from which he had derived his security and identity for so many years, Mitch turned to his old professor and so began his last class with him. The lessons Mitch shared with Morrie helped the young man to redirect his life when he needed it most. By observing the gracious, honest, and courageous manner in which Morrie faced his own death, Mitch was able to get back in touch with his own emotions, feeling once again and becoming more fully human.




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