The First Tuesday We Talk About the World
Mitch is greeted at Morrie's door by his nurse, Connie, who plays a big role in Morrie's day-to-day life. Mitch greets both Connie and Morrie, saying he brought a deli lunch from the grocery store. Morrie brings up the Koppel interview as they begin their discussion. He reminds his pupil that his biggest fear is having someone wipe his behind and that he knows that day is coming. He fears it because it is a sign of dependency. However, he'll try and enjoy the process, that it means he gets to be babied one more time in his life.
Mitch notices a stack of newspapers. He asks Morrie why he continues to read them. Morrie says that just because he is dying it doesn’t mean he doesn't want to know what else is going on in the world. He feels more compassion for people suffering around the world, because he is suffering too. People suffering in Bosnia make him cry. He cries talking about it, saying he cries all the time now about other people. He notices that Mitch isn't ok with men crying and says he's going to loosen him up and make him realize its ok to cry.
Mitch finds it ironic that they're holding this meeting on a Tuesday. He says many of his classes with Morrie were on Tuesdays, back in school. Morrie's office hours were on Tuesdays. Morrie tells Mitch this means they are "Tuesday People." Mitch reverts to Morrie feeling sympathy for those around the world. Morrie gives him the lesson, “The most important thing in life is to learn how to give out love, and to let it come in.” They end their session with a promise to reunite the following Tuesday.
The Second Tuesday We Talk About Feeling Sorry for Yourself
Mitch reminds the reader he is flying 700 miles a week to visit a dying man. Nevertheless, he is glad that he's doing it, and he goes into a time warp each Tuesday they are together. He stops bringing his cell phone and does no business. He puts all his focus on Morrie as Morrie is doing for him. His nasty union situation back home makes his meetings with Morrie even warmer. They talk about life and kindness in the midst of all the fighting. Albom uses simile here, saying the meetings “felt like a cleansing rinse of human kindness.”
Before his second visit, Mitch got a bag of deli food for Morrie. As he walked into the house, he noticed that the disease had progressed, that Morrie could not lift his arms past his chest. He would ring a bell when he needed assistance to use the restroom. Mitch asked Morrie if he felt sorry for himself. Morrie said he allows himself the early morning for sadness, then moves on. He looks to concentrate on the positives in his life instead. He says his disease is a wonderful blessing, because even though his body is deteriorating, he has been given time to say goodbye. “Not everyone is so lucky,” Morrie says. Mitch then asks Morrie's nurse, Connie, to teach him how to move Morrie from his wheelchair to his armchair. He wants to be able to help his professor in any way he can.
The Third Tuesday We Talk About Regrets
The third Tuesday, Mitch arrives with the usual food and something new, a tape recorder. He says he wants to remember Morrie's voice, and he wants to be able to tell his story. The voice on the tape will become a personified version of Morrie long after he is gone. Morrie does not oppose this. In fact, he encourages it. He realizes he is wise and wants his story to be told. This discussion is about regrets and Mitch realizes he will regret not having these conversations saved. Morrie tells Mitch he has no regrets. He says though that people are too busy to think about regrets, that they are focused on more egotistical things: career, money, the mortgage, a nice car. He says they need to be pushed in the direction of reflection, that everyone needs a teacher. Mitch realizes this is exactly what Morrie is doing for him.
He decides he is going to be the best student possible. He makes a list of everything he wants to discuss in his remaining time with Morrie. He was on a search for clarity for his soul. Morrie said they could discuss anything. Mitch decides they will talk about death, fear, aging, greed, marriage, family, society, forgiveness, and what makes a meaningful life.
Analysis of The First Tuesday - The Third Tuesday
This section acts as an exposition that demonstrates that the journey of their meetings is beginning. The first Tuesday is the start of many days of lessons. Originally, he starts by just brining food from a local grocery store. By the third visit, he is bringing recording equipment as well. He is learning from Morrie's nurse the basics of caring for Morrie, such as moving him from his wheelchair. He will continue to learn more lessons about caring for Morrie as the weeks progress.
Mitch is really facing a conflict. He is spending money and time to visit a dying man, but is fortunate that union issues are allowing him to do so. He chooses to spend the money for travel and to spend his time visiting his professor because he knows it is the right thing to do and it is what he wants to do. He realizes that spending this time will allow him clarity. It will allow him to have a chance to revitalize a friendship and to shape his own future.
After these early visits, Mitch points out that they are meeting on a Tuesday. This is noteworthy, because it was the day they always had class together. In this context, it really is as if they are back in school. Morrie is continuing to teach, while Mitch is continuing to learn. Their relationship as teacher and professor has come full circle.
One would think the mood of these meetings would be somber as someone is dying. However, that is not the case. The mood is upbeat and positive, due to Morrie's outlook on life and death. He sees the dying process as a chance to be babied again. He will cry occasionally, but then get over it. Morrie strives to get the point across to Mitch that life is too short to be sad and he sets this example for his student in their meetings.
One learns early on that Morrie himself is a motif for a good life. The theme of how he thinks life should be lived is carried on throughout the course of the story. Even early on in Mitch's busy working days, one knows that is not how life should be lived. Morrie teaching Mitch the early lessons of not feeling sorry for yourself, practicing kindness, and not having regrets set the tone for the rest of the book. Morrie has many lessons, as he has lived a good life.