August 21, 2004

Summer Reading


Tuesdays with Morrie is a book written by Mitch Albom that has been known to draw tears from even the toughest of all readers. The book is about the author’s relationship with his closest professor. It starts off with Mitch saying good-bye at graduation promising to keep in touch with Morrie. Mitch’s life ends up taking a giant leap into the real world as he gains a successful career and family, causing for him to forget his professor. After the years pass by, he finds himself back with Morrie, only to be with him on his last days of life. Mitch starts the habit of visiting him every Tuesday, as they use to in college, to talk about major aspects of life. Morrie, being a great old man with a lot of insight, affects Mitch’s outlook on life greatly over the time they spend together. Of all of the things that Morrie says to Mitch, his outlook on culture stands out the most. At one point, Morrie tells Mitch, “The culture we have does not make people feel good about themselves. And you have to be strong enough to say if the culture doesn\'t work, don\'t buy it” (42). Morrie explains the wrongs of culture, what parts of culture to accept, and how most people run their lives in this culture.

The culture today, the same as the book, tends to emphasize on things that may not always be the best or right. With the culture generally based around money, people are constantly surrounded by reasons to spend more and more money on things, such as changing fashions, cars, and houses. Morrie explains to Mitch that culture can be wrong and uses the culture’s concentration on youth as an example. "All this emphasis on youth – I don\'t buy it," he said. "Listen, I know what a misery being young can be, so don\'t tell me it\'s great. All these kids who came to me with their struggles, their strife, their feelings of inadequacy, their sense that life was miserable, so bad they wanted to kill themselves…" (117). People should not latch themselves onto the ideals of society and culture because it is not always based on something good or beneficial to a person’s life.

While Morrie preaches the wrongs of culture, he does not totally deny everything that is taught to us through culture and society. “I don\'t mean you disregard every rule of your community. I don\'t go around naked, for example. I don\'t run through red lights. The little things, I can obey. But the big things—how we think, what we value—those you must choose yourself. You can\'t let anyone—or any society—determine those for you” (155). There are basic rules that must be followed through our culture. His example of running red lights is a good one. Our society tells you it’s wrong, and it should be followed because, if you do it, you could hurt another person. Those little things are important to follow, but you should choose the rest for yourself. Decide what clothes you think look good, or tell yourself you would rather ride a bike to get places instead of owning a car. Choose your own morals and values, without comparison to those of society.

Morrie speaks a lot on culture and it’s rights and wrongs, and he also touches on how culture affects people. They don’t know what to find in life, and Morrie captures this idea by saying, “People haven\'t found meaning in their lives, so they\'re running all the time looking for it. They think the next car, the next house, the next job. Then they find those things are empty, too, and they keep running” (136). Culture has taught these people wrongly and they may end up spending their whole lives searching for something that they’ll never gain. They’ll get old and, as they’re dying, they’ll feel empty and lonely because everything they’ve been acquiring is useless.

Culture is something that is hard to deal with. While it can’t be thrown out the window, people must learn to turn away from the major parts of it. Culture and society put money and power over the values that people should hold over money