Themes, symbols, and motifs come alive when you use a storyboard. In this activity, students will identify themes and symbols from the memoir, and support their choices with details from the text.
Tuesdays with Morrie Themes to Look For and Discuss
Living a Meaningful Life
When Mitch graduated from college, he believed he was a man with ambition and convictions, and he imagined himself following these. However, he got wrapped up in work and making more money, which hasn’t left him feeling fulfilled. Morrie, however, has figured out the things that create a meaningful life, such as rejecting the culture of money, focusing on family and love, and living every day as if it is his last. By doing this, he learns how to live once he learns how to die.
The Importance of Forgiveness
Mitch feels intense guilt over the life he has led, and the fact that he hasn’t kept in touch with his old professor. Morrie, however, knows that learning to forgive oneself for our past decisions is just as important as forgiving others for what they have done to us. There are two reasons why forgiveness is important, according to Morrie: the first is that regrets don’t help people when they’re at the end. The second is that not everyone is lucky enough to get the time that Morrie has in order to forgive. Unresolved guilt is a powerful distraction from living a meaningful life.
Morrie and Mitch talk about two kinds of fear: the fear of dying, which Morrie works through with his “detachment” method, and the fear of aging. Not only does our culture attempt to ignore aging in advertising, but many people look back on their youth in their older ages with desire to be that age again. Morrie, however, embraces aging. He finds that he has learned and grown more from aging, and even though his illness is making him dependent, he is enjoying it. He tells Mitch, “If you’re always battling getting older, you’re always going to be unhappy, because it will happen anyhow.” This is also a part of Morrie’s mantra of finding a way to live a meaningful life.
Morrie works through his fear and overwhelming emotions by “detaching”; rather, he acknowledges what they are, feels them completely, and then lets them go. In this way, by not burying his feelings below, he can keep himself from becoming overwhelmed by emotions such as fear, loneliness, and grief. Mitch finds this an important lesson personally because he tries to bury his own emotions and holds back from others, which has caused a wedge between himself, his wife, and even his brother.
Tuesdays with Morrie Motifs & Symbols to Look For and Discuss
The Hibiscus Plant
The hibiscus plant in Morrie’s study is something that Mitch seems to notice as he visits with Morrie. It’s small, but durable, and while Morrie withers, the plant holds on. Morrie uses the plant as a chance to demonstrate that people are connected with nature, and as with all things in nature, people and plants both die. The thing that separates humans from the plants, however, that humans have a chance to be remembered because of the love we create and share.
Every Tuesday, Mitch brings food from the local supermarket with him when he visits Morrie. While Morrie soon can no longer eat most solid foods, his eyes light up at the sight of the bags Mitch brings anyways. For the two men, it reminds them of their lunches they used to have back when Mitch was a student, and Mitch enjoys the fact that Morrie is not particularly careful while he eats.
School and Professors
Morrie’s story is told to Mitch as sort of a “final thesis”. Mitch Albom structures the memoir as a final class, with each Tuesday meeting covering a different topic. Morrie himself wants to be remembered as a “Teacher to the Last”, and he values his time with Mitch as an opportunity to share his lessons from his “experiment” with dying.
The O. J. Simpson Trial
As Mitch is visiting Morrie in his final months, it is right in the middle of the O. J. Simpson murder trial which captured the nation’s attention for almost an entire year. Mitch often sees coverage of the trial on different TVs during his travels, and the verdict even comes during a visit to Morrie. However, Mitch uses the trial (and other news stories) to juxtapose the fact that the entire country is concerned with a murder trial, but no one is really focusing on living for what matters, like Morrie.
(These instructions are completely customizable. After clicking "Copy Assignment", change the description of the assignment in your Dashboard.)
Create a storyboard that identifies recurring themes in Tuesdays with Morrie. Illustrate instances of each theme and write a short description below each cell.
- Click "Use this Template" from the assignment.
- Identify the theme(s) from Tuesdays with Morrie you wish to include and replace the "Theme 1" text.
- Create an image for examples that represents this theme.
- Write a description of each of the examples.
- Save and submit your storyboard.
(Modify this basic rubric by clicking the link below. You can also create your own on Quick Rubric.)
Presentation on theme: "Interview your Morrie Tuesdays with Morrie."— Presentation transcript:
1 Interview your MorrieTuesdays with Morrie
2 Class discussion questions:
Interviews are one way of getting to know about a person. Morrie was interviewed by Ted Coppell, but also by Mitch through out the novel.Class discussion questions:What types of people are usually interviewed?What are some of the topics that Mitch and Morrie have talked about?Why did Mitch want to know what Morrie’s thoughts were on these topics?Read assignment sheet
3 Contacting your interviewee
Relate the reason for the interview.Don’t forget to note the following details, which you will need to include when requesting an interview:Time of the interviewLocation of the interviewAdditional details – questions you plan to ask or the topics to be covered (don’t list all your questions; just give a preview)Ask your interviewee if she or he has any questions about the interview.THE INTERVIEW MUST BE DONE FOR TUESDAY’S CLASS
4 Verbal CommunicationGood interviewers make the interviewee feel comfortable and respected. Respectful non-verbal and verbal communication by the interviewer allows this to happen.Verbal techniques:Begin the interview with casual small talkAsk gentle, empathetic questions.Ask simply phrased questions.Ask questions that are unbiasedSequence questions carefully. Begin with questions that are easy to answer and that demonstrate that you are prepared for the interview. Sequence questions either from general to specific or so that your interviewee can see where you are going.
5 Verbal Communication cont.
Sincerely compliment your interview subject.Joke, if appropriate.Accept blame for miscommunication (“I didn’t make myself clear”)Follow up answers with positive, probing responses:“Really? How interesting!”Mirror or repeat key details“Tell me more about…”Ask for clarification. “Does that mean that…?”Ash “Why?” or even “Why do you say that?”
6 Creating Interview Questions
An interview is only as good as the questions asked during that interview. The purpose of the interview is to gain information, and the way in which to do so is to ask questions that will elicit information.Ask open ended questions – avoid “yes” or “no” questionsBe specific.Good luck! It is now time to conduct your interview!
7 Split-Page Notes“Ideally, note-taking should be just words and phrases. You should write the story as soon as you’ve finished your interview, and those words and phrases should just be things to job your memory” (Don Radford)However direct quotations need to be written exactly as the person has spoken.Who: Where:When:Note any background details that you may wish to include in your story. Get any of the 5 W’s and H information that you have not already discovered in your background research.Left – 1/3 of the pageRight – 2/3 of the pageQuestions and main topicsAnswers and details
8 To conduct your interview
Arrive promptly for the interview appointment.Explain your purpose for the interview.Take notes.Ask your questions, one at a time, listening respectfully and giving your interviewee plenty of time to answer fully.Confirm spelling of names and places if you are not familiar.As a parting note, ask if there was anything you didn’t ask that he or she thinks is important, or if he or she has anything to add.Thank your interviewee very much for their time and thought given.Put your interview notes in a safe place. These will be handed in with the final product.