External Essay

A 12 Mitch Albom use of symbolism to portray his message…. to simply live life Extended Essay Alisha Waldron IB# 000-848-005 December 5, 2012 Abstract This essay is an examination of the Novel “Tuesdays with Morrie”, written by Mitch Albom in the mid-1990 and published in 1997. The research question that will be spoke upon in this essay is: How does Mitch Albom use symbolism to portray his message, to simply live life? There are many instances where Mitch, has Morrie Portray the theme to simply live life.
There are many quotes that help answer my question throughout this essay. Examples of symbols used through the novel are the pink hibiscus plant, Morrie’s Bed, and the Waves on the ocean. This is the thesis of the easy that will help answer “How does Mitch Albom use symbolism to portray his message, to simply live life. Albom uses different symbols to show his message. For the pink hibiscus plant, its life a symbol that is supposed to mimic Morrie, the weaker Morrie becomes the weaker the plant becomes. He never gave up who he was and continued to “do him”.
The waves on the ocean showed to never give up, because once you believe something then it will come true. He might as well just live life to the fullest. Morrie bed is the biggest symbol in the novel. He believes that once you lie in bed then you are dead. This shows foreshadowing. He avoids his bed throughout the whole story, but eventually becomes too weak and gives up. This is where he took his last breath. Word Count: 242 Table of Contents Introduction4 pink hibiscus plant6 Waves on the ocean7 Morrie’s Bed8 Conclusion. ………………………………………………………. 11 Works Cited………………………………………………………. 12 Introduction Authors use symbolism because it makes their readers actually think about their themes. It is used to give the characters or the incidents a second meaning hidden behind the visible meaning so the books are not boring, but engaging for entertainment and seriousness and pushes your mind to interact with the novel which makes it more interesting another thing. Another reason for symbolism is to present ideas that the author is afraid to expose clearly.

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Saying one thing directly as is, straight forward is totally different from describing what you mean, it puts emphasis in the plot and help reading engage in the novel. Symbolism will either be associated as an object, a personality, an action or a state of affairs that gives a deeper message, rather than just blurting out the message. The author might use totally diverse matter, compare characters or things or will repeatedly use constant circumstances of affairs or object to express crucial plots, principal mood or way of thinking. Symbolism will either be refined or deliberate.
It can even be used to some extent or significantly used throughout the text. Authors use symbolism after they wish to convey their messages and feeling to their story while not blurting it out directly typically this can be often be intrigued by story writers because it offers them enough area to express what they need to mention, persecute in less words. Symbols are used all throughout the whole story to help Mitch basically get his point across in a more enjoyable manner for the reader. Symbols are significant to “Tuesday’s with Morrie”, it gives the readers a since of suspense.
This story takes the reader through various steps as to how to understand life itself, and by reading Mitch’s book one begins to reflect on their own life. In most cases people see death as a sad time in a person life. If you went to the doctor and you were told that there was no way that you would make it, that you only had about 2 years to live, it would be a rough time for you and your family. The last two years of your life would be hard. Every day, of the last two years of you waking up would be full of sorrow and pain.
Tuesdays with Morrie is the concluding lesson between a sociology professor at Brandeis University, and also the main character, Morrie Schwartz, and one of his students that he previously taught at his college before the illness, which is additionally the author of the book, Mitch Albom. Mitch saw his professor in an interview on the broadcast “Nightline,” Mitch before long remembered of a promise he created sixteen years in the past that he wouldn’t forget him; that he would continuously imprison a connection with him.
Morrie was diagnosed with Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), which “is an illness of the nerve cells within the brain and neural structure that manages the voluntary muscle movement. Symptoms usually do not develop until after age 50, but they can start in younger people. A person with ALS have a loss of muscle strength and coordination that eventually gets worse and makes it impossible to do routine tasks” such as going up a flight of stairs, getting up, out of a chair, swallowing, including juice and food, or in Morries case, “Whip [his] own ass”. “Breathing or swallowing muscles may be the first muscles affected.
As the disease gets worse, more muscle groups develop problems. This does not affect the senses (sight, smell, taste, hearing, touch). It only rarely affects bladder or bowel function, eye movement, or a person’s ability to think or reason. ” He soon realizes that the disease is catching up to him swiftly, and that he needs to share his perception on “The Meaning of Life” with the world before his time on earth ends. His time to be on this earth as a living human being is restricted and Mitch becomes responsive to this situation. Mitch leaves Michigan to travel to Massachusetts to show Morrie a visit after the viewing the show.
Previously after having this one fantastic visit, Mitch had a desire to go to Morrie’s place once per week. Clearly this one random day was a Tuesday. Ever single Tuesday Mitch went back to see his old professor. Hebdomadally till Morrie’s death. Every week they spoke on a few totally different topics. Each topic that was said had to do with life, things that occur in one’s life. Death, love, culture, regret and also the world we have a tendency to board, among several other themes, were all enclosed in the content during this book to portray Mitch Albom’s message to straightforwardly live life.
The reader feels several emotions whereas reading this book, starting from happiness to unhappiness, most likely trying to hold back the tears once reached the end of the book. Although it takes Morrie a significant amount of time to eventually pass away, this offers the book some suspense and provides readers to engage within the plot. It makes the reader believe their own life and be a sign of on getting old, mercy, people, sympathy, and mentors in life, even as Mitch Albom will throughout the novel. Mitch Albom will use the symbols hibiscus plant, the waves of the ocean, and Morries bed to portray the theme to simply live life.
Pink hibiscus plant An example of a symbol used in the book is the “pink hibiscus plant” As Morrie’s body continues to expire; at the same time as the disease is attacking Morrie’s body, eating away, weakening his muscles, the condition of the hibiscus plant continues to die as well. The plant represents to decay of Morries insides within his body. The plant’s pink petals began to dry out, and wrinkle up. The petals eventually fall off the plant leaving the plant Old, dried out, and plain. Meanwhile, Morrie’s disease continues to get worse spreading to different parts of his body.
He then has no choice but to come more dependent of his me medical assistants and on the oxygen tubes he has to be put on. Morrie can no longer live alone, but has to be assisted with just about everything he does. As his death approaches, just right around the corner, the pink hibiscus plant Morrie is becoming deceased. The death of the plant is quickly occurring just like how Morrie’s body is dying. The plant is constantly mentioned in reference of Morrie’s life and for life in general. Like the plant, humans, Morrie in particular, experience a natural life cycle, this unavoidably ends in death.
Morrie must accept this anticipated outcome, and Mitch must do the same. “Take my condition. The things I am supposed to be embarrassed about now — not being able to walk, not being able to wipe my ass, waking up some mornings wanting to cry — there is nothing innately embarrassing about them. It’s the same for women not being thin enough, or men not being rich enough. It’s just what our culture would have you believe. Don’t believe it. ” The words above are spoken to Mitch as some words of advice, by Morrie during one of their normal Tuesday visits. During this visit they specifically speak upon society.
Slowly but surely, Morrie has grown to accept his physical inability, in the same way he has grown to accept his awaiting death. He complains that the society is wrong to believe in ordinary physical needs as a social embarrassment, and as a result he will not believe that he being handicap is discreditable. In rejecting the values of the population, Morrie creates his own society, which accommodates the physical shortcomings people in today’s society are faced with each and every day, that others find disgraceful and embarrassing. As Morrie sees it, popular culture is a dictator under which the human community must suffer.
Morrie feels as though he has suffered enough already from his disease and do not understand see why he should search for social acceptance if it is not contributing to to his personal happiness. Through the novel, society is portrayed as an enormous device that removes everything from the minds of the public, and replacing the natural kindheartedness they gain at birth with a brutal greed and selfish focus. Waves on the ocean Another symbol that is used in Tuesday’s with Morrie is the waves on the ocean. I believe Mitch Albom chooses for Morrie to remember this story about the ocean to connect the waves with life itself.
Morrie heard about a llttle wave. But seeing the waves in front of him collide on the shore, vanishing into nothing made the little wave seems more significant than just a wave. He is suddenly filled with fear upon the realization that he also will soon ‘crash on the shore’ and, die as the wave fears he will. There becomes two waves that seems to contradict each other. It’s like one wave have confidence, or is just by his side to give him the strength to say “you will not crash, or turn in to nothing” but will instead return to become a small part of the larger ocean.
This story gives Morrie a relief. This small wave is symbolic of Morrie, as he too is on the brink of crashing into a theoretical shore, a symbolic personification of his death. Like the wave, Morrie is comforted by the knowledge that he will soon return to something larger in the afterlife. Morrie’s resemblance for the parable denotes his belief in a form of reincarnation, which he understands as fundamental part of the natural life cycle. “You see… You close your eyes. That was the difference. Sometimes you cannot believe what you see; you have to believe what you feel.
And if you are ever going to have people trust you, you must feel that you can trust them, too even when you’re in the dark, even when you’re falling. ” These words are spoken to his class while in a flash back on one of the Tuesdays. His class was asked to demonstrate a trust fall exercise; this is when one student falls in to the arms of another student where that student must catch the student fallin. This shows if the student trusts the other student. “One student will fall straight backwards and must rely on another student to catch them. NO one can really trust anyone until on pair finnaly does the exercise without nervousness. Morrie notices that the student that completed this exercise had her eyes shut, and says that “this exercise serves as a metaphor for the secret to trust in relationships”; sometimes it takes one to close there eyes, to be blind to a situation to trust; only relying on their emotions to direct them in their final decision. The exercise was used to explain how two people in a relationship trust eachother and the two partners take risks in letting them hold their heart. There is no getting around this risk, it is required.
Morrie teaches his students that “trust is blind; one can only judge whether or not to trust another based on an instinctive feeling, not because of any rational judgment or method of thinking. ” Trusting someone only takes for one to shut their eyes fall back, having faith in that person to catch them. Morrie’s Bed Morrie’s bed is a symbol that is used in the story. Morrie’s cliche is, “When you’re in bed, you’re dead. ” Ironically, his saying in the end happens. During Morrie’s struggle with Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), he didn’t want to be in his bed, since his perception of the bed is so harsh.
He believes the bed is a form of surrender. He feels he is being defeated the more time that he spends in the bed and instead, he decides to sleep on his chair located in his study. Every heard of the expression “Live Life to the Fullest? ” Morrie has every intention to live his last couple of days to the fullest, but he knows that if he stays in his bed, he will be giving himself up to death by surrendering the simple happiness he gets from lounging around in his study. Morrie refuses to let his disease defeat him. There where many memories in that were all around him in his study, like friends and loved ones pictures and books.
In his study he can peek out the window. Even thiough he cannot go outside, the beauty of mother nature makes him happy. During Morrie’s final days he laid in his bed after he had accepted the fact that it was his time to go, and he prepared himself for the death that awaited him. The media is continually portrayed in Tuesdays with Morrie as being fundamentally evil, sucking Mitch dry, literally, of his passion and ambition, and feeding the public stories of murder and hatred that have completely wrecked the goodness of the world’s general community.
Even though Morrie agrees to do the show and put his story in the newspaper, it is still draining the little bit of energy that he do have. I feel like he is trying to prove to everyone that, even though on the edge of death, he is still alive and he will continue to simply live life. Mitch, who is out of work due to a utilized strike at the Detroit newspaper he writes for, continually notices the horrific events reported by the media he for a long time has been a part of.
He reads about homicides, torture, theft, and a dozen other frightening crimes that serve to contrast the evil of the popular culture with the goodness of the world Morrie has created for himself. The O. J. Simpson murder trial also makes multiple appearances throughout the book, and provides Mitch with evidence to support his claim that the general heavily population has become dependent on, and somewhat addicted to, media coverage of relatively meaningless stories, stories that contribute nothing to personal development or goodness as a human being.
These stories are used within the Novel as motifs to pursue the evil that is surrounded around Morrie. This shows, in my opinion, how strong, mentally, Morrie really is. Even though Morrie is not as strong physically he is still strong mentally. He ignores all of the ignorance that is going on around him. He only focuses on one thing, which is to simply live life “The truth is . . . once you learn how to die, you learn how to live. ” Morrie says this on one of the Tuesday’s to respond to Mitch’s question “how one can prepare for death. His response was that every day, a person must ask the angel on his shoulder if today will be m day, my last breathes and my last words. His thinking serves as a symbol for his awareness that his death may come at any moment. The angel itself is symbolic of Morrie’s awareness that his death is quickly arriving, and he needs to be prepared to accept it when it finally arrives. He hopes that Mitch will realize that this angel is on every persons shoulder during every inute of their lives, regardless of how young or old that person might be. When he tells Mitch that “one must know how to die before one can know how to live,” in other words he means that one must accept the likelihood of one’s own death before he can truly appreciate what he has on earth, it will all be out of reach, giving the urge to appreciate and value what a person can have only for a limited period of time, and to use every moment of that time doing something that one will not regret when the angel sings its last note.
In his quest to accept his awaiting, death, Morrie deliberately “detaches himself from the experience” when he suffers his violent coughing spells, all of which come loaded with the possibility of his last breath. Morrie looks past the fact that his death date is quickly approaching. Morrie knows that the time is coming. He is aware of his deceasing body, as his famous statement “I will eventually have to whip my own ass”. Morrie derives his method of detachment from the Buddhist philosophy that “one should not attach themselves to things, as everything that exists is temporary. In detaching, Morrie is able to step out of his tangible surroundings and into his own state of consciousness, namely for the sake of gaining perspective and composure in a stressful situation. Morrie does not intend to stop feeling or experiencing in his detachment, but instead, wants to experience wholly, for it is only then that he is able to let go, to detach from a life-threatening experience which renders him fearful and tense. He tries to look past the fact that he has been diagnosed with Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and simply live life.
He makes little changes to his life after the new was delivered to him. He does not want to die feeling upset, and in these frightening moments, detaches himself so that he may accept the impermanence of his life and embrace his death, which he knows may come at any moment. “As you grow, you learn more. If you stayed as ignorant as you were at twenty- two, you’d always be twenty-two. Aging is not just decay, you know. It’s growth. It’s more than the negative that you’re going to die, it’s the positive that you understand you’re going to die, and that you live a better life because of it. Each of Morrie’s lessons contributes to a larger, all-encompassing message that each individual, Mitch especially, should reject society’s values, but develop his own. As Morrie sees it, society is a dictator under which the human community must suffer. In his own life, Morrie has fled this socirty dictatorship in favor of creating his own culture founded on love, acceptance, and open communication. He develops his own culture as a revolt against the media-driven greed, violence and superficiality which has tarnished the mores promoted by popular culture.
Morrie encourages Mitch to free himself of this corrupt, dictatorial culture in favor of his own, and it is only when he does that he begins to reassess his life and rediscover fulfillment. Morrie reads a quote by one of his favorite poets, W. H. Auden, to include one of his important lessons to Mitch:” in the absence of love, there is a void that can be filled only by loving human relationships. ” When love gathers, Morrie says, “a person can experience no higher sense of fulfillment. During all fourteen Tuesday visits lessons with Mitch, Morrie tells him that “love is the essence of every person, and every relationship, and that to live without it, as Auden says, is to live with nothing. ” The appreciation of love, in Morrie’s eyes, in particular, as he is abiut to decease, for without the careful care of those he loves, and who love him, he would perish. Morrie has one wish before he isn’t on this earth anymore, and that is to share his story with Mitch so the world can hear it.
Morrie fights for his life long enough to finish telling Mitch all the storys, and lessons to Mitch so he can share them to the world. Soon as he has completed his dying wish he surrenders and faces death, leaving Mitch to tell the world that “love brings meaning to experience, and that without it, one may as well be dead. ” Conclusion In conclusion with examining the Novel “Tuesday’s with Morrie” I have found a lot of evidence from the novel that helps support my question to “how does Albom use symbolism to portray his message to simply live life? Morrie and his disease Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis didn’t not stop him from doing the things is had a passion for. When diagnosed he taught his students until he was weak. He didn’t just give up on life, even though he knew, soon to come, he was going to die. I have never heard of someone being happy to die. As you can see there were many symbol used throughout the novel to promote the theme to simply live life. The plant was basically Morrie through the novel. The weaker Morrie became the more flimsy the plant became.
The waves on the ocean seem to stand out to me because it is a connection between the two and the wave. Mitch realizes that one day he will be a wave. He will eventually crash and vanish in to nothing. Meaning his time to die off just like every one of us is approaching and just like that, he will be gone. This symbol is important to me because it shows that everyone’s time will come, some sooner than others. No matter your condition, health, or your actions. When it’s your time, then it’s you time, no changing.
Mitch begins to realize that by the end of the waves of the ocean memory ends. The most important symbol used in Novel and in the essay is Morrie’s bed. It’s funny how the author uses foreshadowing in the novel this gave anyone a little hit of where Morrie would eventually die. Morrie believed that his bed was the evil that believed he had given up. Once you have lied in the bed then you are died. Morrie basically refused to lie in his bed simply because he didn’t want to feel defeated. To conclude the whole examination, after examining deep into this book Morrie is not a quitter.
At the end you goes down, everyone saw it coming, But he don’t go down without a fight. I have proved the Mitch Albom uses symbols in Tuesdays with Morrie to portray his message to simply live life through The Bed, The Ocean, and the plant. Word Count: 3,656 Works Cited Albom, Mitch. Tuesdays with Morrie: An Old Man, a Young Man, and Life’s Greatest Lesson. New York: Doubleday, 1997. Print. Albom, Mitch. Tuesdays with Morrie. Grand Haven, MI: Brilliance, 1997. Print. Albom, Mitch. Tuesdays with Morrie. Rockland, MA: Wheeler Pub. , 1998. Print. Board, A. D. A. M. Editorial. Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis. ” Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis. U. S. National Library of Medicine, 18 Nov. 2012. Web. 18 Dec. 2012. Albom, Mitch. “Tuesdays with Morrie. ” Tuesdays with Morrie. N. p. , n. d. Web. 11 Dec. 2012. “Tuesdays with Morrie. ” Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 13 Dec. 2012. Web. 19 Dec. 2012. “Tuesdays With Morrie | Mitchalbom. com. ” Tuesdays With Morrie | Mitchalbom. com. N. p. , n. d. Web. 19 Dec. 2012. Board, A. D. A. M. Editorial. “Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis. ” Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis. U. S. National Library of Medicine, n. . Web. 11 Dec. 2012. ——————————————– [ 1 ]. Board, A. D. A. M. Editorial. “Tuesday’s With Morrie. ” Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis. U. S. National Library of Medicine, n. d. Web. 10 Dec. 2012. [ 2 ]. Board, A. D. A. M. Editorial. “Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis. ” Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis. U. S. National Library of Medicine, 18 Nov. 2012. Web. 18 Dec. 2012. [ 3 ]. Board, A. D. A. M. Editorial. “Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis. ” Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis. U. S. National Library of Medicine, n. d. Web. 11 Dec. 2012. [ 4 ].
Albom, Mitch. “Tuesdays With Morrie. ” Tuesdays With Morrie. N. p. , n. d. Web. 11 Dec. 2012. [ 5 ]. Albom, Mitch. Tuesdays with Morrie. Rockland, MA: Wheeler Pub. , 1998. Print. [ 6 ]. Albom, Mitch. Tuesdays with Morrie. Grand Haven, MI: Brilliance, 1997. Print. [ 7 ]. Albom, Mitch. Tuesdays with Morrie. Rockland, MA: Wheeler Pub. , 1998. Print. [ 8 ]. Albom, Mitch. Tuesdays with Morrie: An Old Man, a Young Man, and Life’s Greatest Lesson. New York: Doubleday, 1997. Print. [ 9 ]. Albom, Mitch. Tuesdays with Morrie. Grand Haven, MI: Brilliance, 1997. Print.

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