Explain Morrie’s childhood.
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In The Professor, Albom flashes back to an eight-year-old Morrie, receiving a telegram from the local hospital that his mother was dead. Morrie had to translate, as his Russian immigrant father spoke poor English. He heard his aunts cry, “What will become of you?” and burst into tears. After the death, his father shut down, and his brother contracted Polio. Morrie's world was crumbling. He saw love again when his father re-married. He received kisses from his stepmother, who would sing to him. While her songs were of poverty and cigarettes, Morrie still felt love through the melody.
As Morrie became a teenager, his father decided he needed to work. Albom points out that the setting is now the Depression, and the family was desperate for money after the stock market crash of 1929. His father took him to the fur factory where he worked. Morrie hated that windowless building. He promised himself he would never work in a place like this, where the boss yelled at people as they worked away. He never wanted to work where money was made through the sweat and tears of others. This led into his teaching career, one where he could have a positive influence. This is another characterization of Morrie, as the reader learns why he chose his profession and why he was so caring. He knew exactly how not to treat people through these examples.