A STUDY OF MORRIE’S SELF-ACTUALIZATION AS SEEN IN MITCH ALBOM’S TUESDAYS WITH MORRIE
A STUDY OF MORRIE’S SELF-ACTUALIZATION
AS SEEN IN MITCH ALBOM’S TUESDAYS WITH MORRIE
Presented as Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements
to Obtain the Sarjana Pendidikan Degree
in English Language Education
Student number: 021214106
ENGLISH LANGUAGE EDUCATION STUDY PROGRAM
DEPARTMENT OF LANGUAGE AND ARTS EDUCATION
FACULTY OF TEACHERS TRAINING AND EDUCATION
SANATA DHARMA UNIVERSITY
A STUDY OF MORRIE’S SELF-ACTUALIZATION
AS SEEN IN MITCH ALBOM’S TUESDAYS WITH MORRIE
Presented as Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements
to Obtain the Sarjana Pendidikan Degree
in English Language Education
Student number: 021214106
ENGLISH LANGUAGE EDUCATION STUDY PROGRAM
DEPARTMENT OF LANGUAGE AND ARTS EDUCATION
FACULTY OF TEACHERS TRAINING AND EDUCATION
SANATA DHARMA UNIVERSITY
Life is like a book.
The title page is your name,
the preface your introduction to the
The pages are a daily record of your
efforts, trials, pleasures,
discouragements, and achievements.
Day by day your thoughts and acts
are being inscribed in your book of life.
Hour by hour the record is being made
that must stand for all time.
Once the word ‘finish’ must be written,
let it then be said of your book
that it is a record
of noble purpose, generous service,
work well done.
Grenville Kleiser- -
And we know that in all things God works
for the good of those who love Him, who
have been called according to His purpose
(Romans 8:28, NIV)
I DEDICATE THIS THESIS TO: MY SAVIOR, JESUS CHRIST & MY BELOVED FAMILY
This thesis would not be finished without the help of others. I believe each of them who has helped and supported me has been sent by God. Hence, my most tremendous gratitude is addressed to Jesus Christ, my source of love, joy, strength, and my all in all. I thank Him for every single thing I have and every single moment I experience. He always stands beside me and holds me tight every time I feel restless. He shows me what the real unconditional love is. I wish to walk the path of life in His embrace forever and ever.
I am so deeply indebted to my major sponsor, Drs. L. Bambang Hendarto
Y., M.Hum. that I wish to thank him for his willingness to guide me in finishing my
thesis by sharing his time to read, to check, to correct, and to criticize it. I also thank him for his wonderful patience, advice, and kindness as well. There are not enough words to tell how much I thank him. My sincerest gratitude goes to Sr. Maureen,
FCJ, for her kindness and willingness to check and correct my grammar. I reallyappreciate her help.
I would like also to address my gratitude to all of my lecturers who have taught and provided me with knowledge and skills to prepare me for the working world. My earnest appreciation also goes to Ms. Lanny Anggawati for her inspiring lessons in SPD’s class. She has shown me great qualitities of a ‘teacher’. Moreover, I would like to thank Mbak Danik and Mbak Tari for helping me to deal with the administrative stuffs.
My deepest gratitude goes to my beloved family. I am greatly indebted to my Yogyakarta. He is the best brother ever. To my only sister, my second brother, my
two little brothers, I thank them for always supporting, loving, and caring for me. Iam proud to be part of this big family. I love them all.
I wish to thank my charming cousin, Mimi, for always telling me not to give up, for seeing me as a model, and for her persistence which inspires me a lot. I am so thankful to have Wex as my best friend. I thank her for showing me the real friend in deed and in need. I also thank Na for keep telling me to finish my thesis soon with her typical-straightforward style which may make some people feel offended, but for me her ‘harsh’ words are motivating. My next gratitude also goes to my friends in SunSix boarding house: Mbak SanQ, Citra, Te-Goy, Mbak Pic, Ade, Funny, and Nciz for every moment we have shared together and to my three beautiful sisters in my new boarding house, Ms. Happy, Ms. Neny, and Mondee. I also thank Ian for willing to read and post me some questions related to my thesis. My next appreciation goes to
my colleagues in CIC. I am really happy working with them.
I would like to thank my close friends with whom I have spent my days in campus: Ucil, Sasha, Echie, Ita, Vivi, and Mawar, especially to Wieda, my partner to share the progress of my thesis. She always encouraged me when I did no progress on my thesis. She deserves my sincere thanks. I also thank all of my PBI ‘02 pals. I am glad being part of this team.
I wish also to send my gratitude to my KTB’s friends: Mbak Othie as the leader, Connie Capunk, Corry-Morry, Tatatouile, and Amsal-Pancasila. I thank them for their motivating words, support, and prayers. I address my huge thanks also to my beloved sister, K’Darma, for her immense care, support, and prayers. Next, I
GKI Gejayan. I thank them for their boundless support and friendship we haveshared in the ministry. I am really grateful to be part of this wonderful ministry.
My special gratitude goes to ‘Someone’ who has recently colored my days. I thank him for the small talks, discussions, laughter, and his greatly contagious spirit in serving Jesus. Those moments we shared together mean something to me. We might not be able to have them back, and therefore, I have written them in my heart as sweet memories in my symphony of life.
The last but not least, my appreciation goes to all people who have not been mentioned above but have supported me. I thank them for their care and prayers. I will not try to list each of them because I am afraid I will miss a name. Let God list their names because He is the only One who will not fail in doing so. May God be with them all, always.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
4. Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs............................................ 14
C. Theoretical Framework............................................................ 22
B. Criticisms ................................................................................ 21
e. Self-Actualization ........................................................ 15 1) Definition of Self-Actualization .................................... 15 2) Characteristics of Self-Actualization ............................. 16
d. Esteem Needs .............................................................. 15
c. Belonging and Love Needs ........................................... 14
b. Safety Needs ................................................................ 14
a. Physiological Needs ..................................................... 14
3. Critical Approach ............................................................. 12
TITLE PAGE .............................................................................................. i PAGE OF APPROVAL ..............................................................................ii PAGE OF BOARD OF EXAMINERS.......................................................iii PAGE OF STATEMENT OF WORK’S ORIGINALITY .......................... iv PAGE OF LIFE MOTTO............................................................................ v PAGE OF DEDICATION.......................................................................... vi ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS ...................................................................... vii TABLE OF CONTENTS ............................................................................ x ABSTRACT ............................................................................................. xii
b. Ways of Characterization .............................................. 10
a. Definition ...................................................................... 10
2. Characterization................................................................. 10
b. Kinds of Character .......................................................... 9
a. Definition ........................................................................ 8
1. Character ............................................................................ 8
CHAPTER I: INTRODUCTION A. Background of the Study ........................................................... 1 B. Problem Formulation................................................................. 4 C. Objectives of the Study.............................................................. 5 D. Benefits of the Study ................................................................ 5 E. Definition of Terms ................................................................... 6 CHAPTER II: REVIEW OF RELATED LITERATURE A. Review of Related Theories....................................................... 8
ABSTRAK ............................................................................................... xiii
CHAPTER III METHODOLOGY A. Subject Matter ......................................................................... 23 B. Approach ................................................................................ 24 C. Procedures............................................................................... 25
CHAPTER IV ANALYSIS A. The Characterization of Morrie Schwartz ................................. 27
1. Weak and Dying ................................................................ 28
2. Tough ................................................................................ 31
3. Straightforward .................................................................. 33
4. Wise .................................................................................. 35
5. Affectionate ....................................................................... 37
B. The Self-Actualization of Morrie Schwartz............................... 38
1. In Facing His Disease ........................................................ 39
2. In Talking to Mitch ............................................................ 50
3. In His Family ……. ...................................................... …..56
4. In the Society …….. ........................................................... 60
CHAPTER V CONCLUSIONS AND SUGGESTIONS A. Conclusions ............................................................................ 68
1. Morrie’s Characterization 68
2. Morrie’s Self-Actualization ............................................. 69
B. Suggestions .......................................................................... 71
1. Suggestions for Future Researchers.................................. 71
2. Suggestion for Teaching Reading..................................... 71
REFERENCES ....................................................................................... 74APPENDICES
Appendix 1 Summary of Tuesdays with Morrie.............................(1) Appendix 2 The Biography of Mitch Albom .................................(6) Appendix 3 Lesson Plan for Teaching Reading .............................(9) Appendix 4 Questions to Teach Reading .....................................(10)
Lissa. 2007. A Study of Morrie’s Self-Actualization as Seen in Mitch Albom’s
Tuesdays with Morrie. Yogyakarta: English Language Education Study Program,
Department of Language and Arts Education, Faculty of Teachers Training and Education, Sanata Dharma University.
This study discusses Mitch Albom’s novel entitled Tuesdays with Morrie. The novel tells about the life of Morrie Schwartz who is dying because of ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Scelerosis), a disease known also as Lou Gehrig’s disease. This study discusses the main character’s self-actualization.
There are two problems formulated in this study related to the topic disscussed: (1) How is Morrie characterized in Albom’s Tuesdays with Morrie? (2). How is Morrie’s self-actualization revealed in Albom’s Tuesdays with Morrie?
To answer the problems formulated, the psychological approach is applied since this study deals with a psychological issue on self-actualization. This is library research. There are two sources used, namely primary and secondary. The primary source is the novel itself, Tuesdays with Morrie. The secondary sources are books on psychology, literature, and internet sources.
Based on the analysis, Morrie is characterized as a weak and dying man who suffers from ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis), a deadly disease also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. Morrie is also portrayed as a tough, staightforward, wise, and affectionate man. From the analysis, Morrie is revealed as a self-actualizing person. He is able to self-actualize himself to the sort of person he really is. He posseses characteristics of self-actualizing people, which are an efficient perception of reality, a general acceptance of nature, others and oneself, spontaneity, simplicity, and naturalness, a focus on problems outside themselves, a need for privacy and independence, autonomous functioning, a continued freshness of appreciation, mystical, or “peak” experiences, social interest, interpersonal relations, a democratic character structure, discrimination between means and ends, between good and evil, an unhostile sense of humor; creativeness, and resistance to enculturation. These characteristics are reflected in his ways of living by how he faces his disease, in his conversations and discussions with Mitch, in his family, and in the society.
This thesis provides some suggestions for future researchers who are interested in conducting another study of the novel. They may analyze Morrie’s positivism using the psychological approach. In addition, a study on Morrie’s culture that he creates compared to the popular culture in his society would also be interesting to discuss. This study, moreover, provides a suggestion to implement the novel to teach reading subject to the second semester students of English Education Study Program.
Lissa. 2007. A Study of Morrie’s Self-Actualization as Seen in Mitch Albom’s
Tuesdays with Morrie. Yogyakarta: Program studi Pendidikan Bahasa Inggris,
Jurusan pendidikan bahasa dan Seni, Fakultas Keguruan dan Ilmu Pendidikan, Universitas Sanata Dharma.
Studi ini membahas sebuah novel yang berjudul Tuesdays with Morrie karya Mitch Albom. Novel ini bercerita tentang kehidupan Morrie Schwatz yang sedang sekarat karena menderita penyakit ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Scelerosis), sebuah penyakit yang juga dikenal dengan penyakit Lou Gehrig. Studi ini membahas aktualisasi-diri dari tokoh utama novel ini.
Ada dua pokok permasalahan dalam studi ini yang berhubungan dengan topik yang dibahas: (1) Bagaimana Morrie dikarakterisasikan dalam novel Tuesdays with Morrie karya Mitch Albom? (2) Bagaimana aktualisasi diri Morrie diungkapkan dalam novel Tuesdays with Morrie karya Mitch Albom?
Untuk menjawab pokok permasalahan tersebut, pendekatan psikologi digunakan karena studi ini berhubungan dengan topik psikologi tentang aktualisasi- diri. Studi ini adalah studi pustaka. Ada dua sumber yang digunakan, yaitu sumber utama dan sumber kedua. Sumber utama adalah novel Tuesdays with Morrie itu sendiri dan sumber kedua adalah buku-buku tentang psikologi dan literatur, serta sumber dari internet.
Berdasarkan hasil analisa, Morrie dikarakterisasikan sebagai laki-laki yang lemah dan sedang sekarat karena menderita penyakit ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral
Sclerosis) , suatu penyakit yang mematikan dan juga dikenal dengan penyakit Lou
Gehrig. Morrie juda dideskripsikan sebagai laki-laki yang tegar,terus terang, bijaksana, dan penyayang. Dari hasil analisa, Morrie dinyatakan sebagai seorang yang mengaktualisasi dirinya. Dia dapat mengaktualisasi dirinya sebagai seorang yang menjadi dirinya sendiri. Dia memiliki ciri-ciri orang yang mengaktualisasi diri, diantaranya adalah persepsi yang efisien tentang realitas, penerimaan umum tentang alam, sesama, dan diri sendiri, spontanitas, kesederhanaan, dan sikap yang alami atau apa adanya, fokus akan masalah di luar dirinya sendiri, kebutuhan akan kebebasan pribadi dan kemandirian, kepuasan yang lahir dari diri sendiri, sikap selalu bersyukur, pengalaman mistik atau puncak, minat sosial, hubungan dengan sesama, demokratis tanpa memandang superioritas, pembedaan yang jelas antara sarana untuk mencapai tujuan dengan tujuan itu sendiri, antara hal yang baik dan tidak, selera humor yang tidak menyakiti orang lain, kreativitas, dan resistensi terhadap enkulturasi. Ciri-ciri tesebut tercermin dalam kehidupan Morrie dalam dia menghadapi penyakit yang dideritanya, dalam percakapannya dengan Mitch, dalam keluarganya, dan dalam masyarakat.
Skripsi ini memberikan beberapa saran untuk peneliti-peneliti lain yang tertarik membahas studi lain dalam novel ini. Mereka dapat menganalisa positivisme Morrie dengan menggunakan pendekatan psikologi. Di samping itu, studi komparasi antara budaya Morrie yang dibangunnya dengan budaya populer di masyarakatnya juga menarik untuk dibahas. Studi ini juga memberikan saran untuk
CHAPTER I INTRODUCTION This chapter is divided into five sections. The first one is background in which I mention the reasons for choosing the novel. The second section is problem
formulations which contain the questions to be answered in this study. The third section is objectives of the study which state the goals. The fourth is benefits of the study which elaborate some benefits obtained and expected from this study. The last is definition of terms which clarifies some terms related to this study in order to avoid misinterpretations.
A. Background of the Study
Human beings are said to be the highest and the most special beings in comparison to other creatures. Human beings have the ability to differentiate what is good or bad. Human beings have the highest intelligence, and therefore possess critical thinking. Human beings also have the ability to grow, not only physically as animals, but also psychologically.
By having these qualities, human beings always question. When a question comes up, the process of development begins. When an answer is found, another question comes. It is the nature of human beings to question continuously in order to find truths. Therefore, human beings are said to be the searchers of truth.
To make life better, or to reach a fully-developed life, many people always try to search for the essence of living. Some say that wealth, health, and fame are
2 perception is far from the truth. There are numerous numbers of wealthy, healthy, and successful people who seem to have an ideal life, yet they feel a great dissatisfaction with living.
A Russian novelist, Leo Tolstoy, who was very successful and famous, can be considered as a good example. He possessed what most people dream of, such as loving family, wealth, health, fame, and success. However, he suffered from severe depression. In a book entitled My Confession, he states that he is afraid of life and does not know what he wants in life. He has a good wife who loves him and whom he loves, good children and a large property. However, he notes how he is tempted to commit suicide by hanging himself from the rafters or shooting his head with a gun. He asks dramatically, “Why should I live? Why should I do anything?” (qtd. in James 159-161).
Leo Tolstoy is only one of millions of people who live in despair. Stoa (a famous philosopher) and Yukio Mishima (a famous Japanese writer) are also those who failed to bear the despairs of life, and then finally ended their life by committing suicide. Perhaps, we might have seen people around us who seem to possess an ideal life, yet they feel unhappy and desperate in living. Schultz states that:
We may live comfortably, have a secure job, a warm and loving family, be free of worry, and yet not know any great joy, any overwhelming enthusiasm, any intense feeling of dedication or commitment. Obviously, all is not well- our lives are not as complete as they could be, in spite of the surface experience (3). According to humanistic psychologists who work in the field of human
3 proposes a model of healthy personality, to which he calls self-actualization.
According to Maslow, self-actualization is “the tendency to become more and more what one uniquely is, to become everything that one is capable of becoming. Also, to self-actualize is to accept one’s own real nature for what it is” (qtd. in Kalish 34). A self-actualizing person is a person who realizes, grows, and develops to what and who he/she is capable of becoming. He or she presents himself or herself as a unique human being.
One of the literary works which portrays the issue of self-actualization is Mitch Albom’s Tuesdays with Morrie. The story tells about Morrie Schwartz, a professor at Brandeis University in Waltham, Massachusetts who always teaches his students to be fully human. One of his students is Mitch Albom who loves, adores, and admires him. Mitch takes all subjects in which Morrie is in charge of. Soon, Morrie and Mitch build a strong ‘friendship’. On his graduation day, Mitch promises to keep in touch with his beloved professor. However, he never keeps his promise not before he unintentionally catches his professor figure on “Nightline Show”, a very popular show with Ted Koppel as the host. At that very moment, Mitch becomes speechless knowing why his former professor is on the show.
Morrie suffers from ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis), a fatal neuromuscular disease. It is also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, taken from a famous baseball player who died from this disease. One of the fatal results is paralysis because of the progressive muscle debilitation.
Knowing that the professor is dying, Mitch visits him for the first time after sixteen years since his graduation day. From that day on, he routinely visits his
4 calls ‘The Meaning of Life’ with Mitch as the only student. Therefore, in each class, there is a lesson about life, such as regret, death, family, emotions, money, marriage, forgiveness, etc.
Having read the story, I found out that Morrie’s self-actualization is interesting to analyze. Although he is left by his mother since he was a child and then lives with an unaffectionate father, he grows to be very affectionate. He devotes himself as a loving teacher since he truly avoids jobs in which exploit others. According to Maslow, self actualizing persons possess strong and deep feelings of empathy and affection for all human beings, as well as a desire to help humanity. They are also committed to their work with a sense of high dedication (qtd. in Schultz 71).
Considering that the issue of self-actualization is worth discussing, I would like to analyze how Morrie reveals his self-actualization which is reflected in his ways of living. I would analyze not only his self actualization he reveals in each talk with Mitch on Tuesdays, but also his self-actualization from his past life. Hopefully this study will be beneficial for us as a reflection to grow as a self-actualizing person.
B. Problem Formulation There are two problem formulations which become the focus of this study.
They are formulated as follows:
1. How is Morrie characterized in Albom’s Tuesdays with Morrie?
2. How is Morrie’s self-actualization revealed in Albom’s Tuesdays with Morrie?
5 C. Objectives of the Study This study is intended to answer the problem formulations presented above.
Firstly, I would like to find out how Morrie is characterized in the novel. This would help me to answer the second problem formulation. Therefore, after knowing Morrie’s characteristics, I would like to reveal Morrie’s self-actualization.
D. Benefits of the Study
There are some benefits from this study. Firstly, I can gain more knowledge on literature and psychology by conducting this study. This study can broaden my knowledge on some theories of literature, and a give deeper understanding as well. Since this study applies psychological approach, I can understand more about psychology, especially about self-actualization. Morrie Schwartz, who becomes the focus of this study, is revealed as a self-actualizing person. Hence, I can learn a lot by seeing Morrie as a positive model.
Hopefully, this study will also be beneficial for future researchers who are interested in conducting a study on self-actualization for they may use this study as a reference. Finally, I hope that this study will be beneficial to the readers so that they can gain knowledge on how to be a self-actualizing person as modeled by Morrie.
E. Definition of Terms
There are some specific terms needing to be clarified in order to prevent confusion which might lead to misinterpretation.
According to Stanton (17), there are two ways in which the term character is generally used. Firstly, character is “the individuals who appear in the story”.
Secondly, the term character also refers to “the mixture of interests, desires, emotions, and moral principles that makes up each of these individuals”. While Abram defines the term character as “the person presented in a dramatic or narrative work, who is interpreted by the reader as being endowed with moral and dispositional quality that is expressed in what he says -the dialogue- and by what he does –the action” (20). In other words, a character is a person who plays a role in a story. This person expresses interests, desires, emotions, and moral principles through what he says and what he does.
According to Murphy (161), characterization is the way used by an author in an attempt to make his or her characters in a story understandable to and come alive for the readers. In this study, characterization refers to the way of how an author tries to develop his or her characters in a story so that they become alive for the readers.
Abraham Maslow states that self-actualization is “the tendency to become more and more what one uniquely is, to become everything that one is capable of becoming. Also, to self-actualize is to accept one’s own real nature for what it is”
7 becoming oneself, of developing one’s unique psychological characteristics and potentialities” (qtd. in Schultz 28). So, self-actualization refers to the process of making use of all one’s abilities, of fulfilling one’s qualities, and of becoming what one has the potential to become.
CHAPTER II REVIEW OF RELATED LITERATURE This chapter is divided into three sections, namely review of related theories,
criticism, and theoretical framework. The review of related theories consists of theory of character, theory of characterization, theory of critical approach, and theory of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. These theories are used to help me analyze the topic of this study. In criticism, I state some critics’ views towards the author himself and his works. At last, in theoretical framework, I explain how the theories elaborated are used in this study.
A. Review of Related Theories
This section is divided into four parts. The first part is theory of character which discusses the definition and kinds of character. The second part is theory of characterization which explains about the definition and ways of characterization. The next part is theory of critical approach which elaborates some critical approaches used to analyze literary works. The final one is the theory of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs which discusses the five basic needs including the detailed elaboration of the theory of self-actualization.
According to Stanton (17), there are two ways in which the term character is generally used. Firstly, character is “the individuals who appear in the story”.
9 defines the term character as “the person presented in a dramatic or narrative work, who is interpreted by the reader as being endowed with moral and dispositional quality that is expressed in what he says -the dialogue- and by what he does –the action”. In other words, a character is a person who plays a role in a story. This person expresses his or her interests, desires, emotions, and moral principles through what he says and what he does.
b. Kinds of Character
Foster (18) divides character into two kinds, flat and round. A flat character has only one outstanding trait or feature. He or she can be described in a single phrase or sentence and tends to remain the same in the story. In contrast, a round character is presented with more facets with greater depth and more details. He or she is complex in temperament and motivation. Therefore, a round character is difficult to describe as like a person in real life. Moreover, he or she has the ability to surprise the readers.
According to Perine (71), a character is divided into two kinds. The first one is static character who does not encounter changes from the beginning up to the end of a story. He or she tends to remain the same with almost no changes in the characteristics. The second character proposed by Perine is dynamic character. This character undergoes changes in his/her personalities and outlooks from the beginning up to the end of the story. It is also called a developing character since this character can develop for better or worse personalities. His/her experiences appear as the process of the character’s dynamical changing.
There are two kinds of characters proposed by Henkle (88). They are major and secondary characters. The former one is the most significant, important, and
10 or she holds the central point of the whole story. On the contrary, a secondary character is less complex than the major character. His or her way in responding to experiences is also more limited compared to the major character. Consequently, his or her performances are less significant.
Major and minor characters are the two kinds stated by Milligan (155). A major character appears more frequently in comparison to the other characters in the story. Thus, he or she becomes the focus and plays an important role in revealing the theme of the story. In short, the central experience lies in the major character.
Whereas, a minor character appears less frequently in the story. He or she plays a less important and significant role in the story.
According to Murphy (161), characterization is the way used by an author in attempt to make his or her characters in a story understandable to and come alive for the readers. The theory of characterization is important in helping me understand how the main character, who becomes the focus of this study, is portrayed in the novel.
b. Ways of Characterization
Murphy (161-173) proposes nine possible ways in which an author attempts to portray the characters’ characteristics. They are presented as follows: 1) Personal description
An author can describe a character by his or her appearance. The author’s skillful choice of adjectives tells the readers about the character’s physical
11 know the characteristics of this character. The author describes what is visible in detail. 2) Characters as seen by others
An author can describe a character through other characters who appear in the story. The reader gets a reflected image from how others see and think about the character. 3) Speech
An author can also present a person’s characteristics through what the person says. Whenever he or she speaks, the readers can get some clues on what sort of person he or she is. 4) Past life
An author can describe a character from the author’s direct comments, the character’s thoughts and conversations, or from the medium of another character about the character’s past life. The information about what the character experienced in the past gives clues to the readers in understanding more on the character.
5) Conversation of others What others say in their conversations about a person give clues to the readers to know the person’s character. So, the author uses what people say about the character to describe the character. 6) Reactions
How a person reacts in different situations and events also gives clues to the readers in understanding the characteristics of the person.
7) Direct comments
12 8) Thoughts
An author enables the readers to know a person’s characteristics by what the person is thinking about. Here, the author knows what different people are thinking.
In short, the author describes the character by giving direct knowledge of what he or she is thinking.
9) Mannerism By letting the readers know about a person’s habits or manners, an author can reveal the person’s characteristics.
3. Critical Approach
To understand the nature, function, and positive value of literary works, a critical approach is needed. According to Rohberger and Woods Jr. (3-9), there are five critical approaches, namely the formalist approach, biographical approach, sociocultural-historical approach, mythopoeic approach, and psychological approach.
The details of each approach are discussed as follows:
a. The Formalist Approach This approach emphasizes the total integrity of the literary object. It concentrates almost on its aesthetic value by demonstrating the harmonious involvement of all the parts to the whole and by pointing out how meaning is derived from structure and how matters of technique determine structure. In short, this approach is merely concerned with the literary object and its aesthetic meanings.
b. The Biographical Approach This approach puts emphasis on the necessity to appreciate the ideas and personality of the author so as to understand the literary object. The knowledge of the
13 writings. The biographical material provides useful facts about the author which helps the readers to have a better understanding and appreciation towards the literary object.
c. The Sociocultural-Historical Approach This approach is concerned mainly with the social background in which a work of literary was created. The proponents of this approach say that the only way to locate the real work is in reference to the civilization that produced it. In short, before one can understand well a work of literature, he/she has to know the social, cultural, and historical aspects of the literary work because these aspects are inseparable from the literary object.
d. Mythopoeic Approach This approach emphasizes the universal recurrent patterns of human thought. It is believed that these patterns are found in ancient myths and folk rites which are so basic to human thought and have meaning for all humans.
e. Psychological Approach This approach believes that one’s imagination, capacity for creation, and complexity of thoughts and behaviors are expressed through symbolic words, thoughts and actions. These symbols are common to all humans in which can be interpreted in light of the individual’s experience. Thus, this approach applies the theory of psychology in understanding a literary object.
4. Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs
In the theory of motivation, Maslow in Schultz (62-64) proposes a hierarchy of needs which covers physiological needs, safety needs, belonging and love needs, esteem needs and self-actualization. The lowest needs should be satisfied before the higher ones. Hence, before achieving the highest needs, the four lower needs must be
14 at least partially satisfied. The brief explanation of the four lower needs and the detailed elaboration of self-actualization are presented as follows:
a. Physiological Needs Physiological needs involve the need for food, water, air, sleep, etc. the fulfillment of these needs are essential for survival.
b. Safety Needs Security, stability, protection, order, and freedom from fear and anxiety are the examples of the safety needs. We add to our savings account at the bank, buy insurance, and remain in safe, secure jobs so as not to lose the fringe benefits.
c. Belonging and Love Needs We satisfy our love needs by establishing an intimate, caring relationship with another person, or with people in general, and in these relationships it is just as important to give love as to receive it.
According to Maslow, belonging and love needs are difficult to be satisfied in this modern world in which people move a lot. We no longer stay permanently in one place. We change houses, neighborhood, cities, countries, or even spouses. We are not long enough in one place to develop a sense of belonging.
d. Esteem Needs There are two types of esteem needs, namely esteem derived from others and self-esteem. The former one is primary since very often we think well of ourselves if we are sure that others think well of us. Reputation, admiration, status, fame, prestige are examples of characteristics of how others think of us. On the other hand, self- esteem involves the desires for confidence, self-worth, adequacy, all those characteristics that if we lack them, we feel inferior, weak, and helpless in facing life.
15 Since this study deals with self-actualization, the detailed elaboration will be presented as follows: 1) Definition of Self-Actualization
Abraham Maslow states that self-actualization is “the tendency to become more and more what one uniquely is, to become everything that one is capable of becoming. Also, to self-actualize is to accept one’s own real nature for what it is” (qtd. in Kalish 34). It is “the fulfillment of all our qualities and capacities” (qtd. in Schultz 64).
According to Carl Rogers, “Self-actualization is the process of becoming oneself, of developing one’s unique psychological characteristics and potentialities” (qtd. in Schultz 28). So, self-actualization refers to the process of making use of all one’s abilities, of fulfilling one’s qualities and capacities, and of becoming what one has the potential to become. 2) Characteristics of Self-Actualization
Besides the definition and general points presented above, Maslow elaborates a number of specific characteristics of self-actualizing people (qtd. in Schultz 69-68).
They are as follows:
a) An efficient perception of reality Self-actualizing people have an objective perception of reality. They see the world as it is, not as they want or need it to be. They do not judge an object based on what others think, but based on their own judgment and perception without biases and prejudgments. This gives them a better ability to make logical reasons and correct conclusions.
16 Self-actualizing people possess a general acceptance of nature, others, and oneself. Even though they have weaknesses and imperfections, they are not shameful about them. They do not complain or worry about their shortcomings and strengths. They accept their nature as it is. Moreover, they feel relaxed and comfortable with their natures. Hence, they do not use either masks or social roles to hide themselves behind.
However, they do feel guilty and shameful, or even regretful about some aspects of their behaviors and shortcomings in which this could be improved and changed, such as laziness, prejudice, jealousy, thoughtlessness, or envy. This is mainly because these weaknesses are destructive which would lead to the inhibition of human growth.
c) Spontaneity, simplicity, and naturalness Self-actualizing people do not pretend or hide their feelings or emotions. They express them in open and direct ways instead. Therefore, they behave simply, naturally, and spontaneously in accordance with their nature.
d) A focus on problems outside themselves Self-actualizing people are committed to their work. Their work is seen as a mission to which they totally devote their energy. According to Maslow if this sense of devotion and dedication is absent, it is impossible for someone to become self- actualizing.
Maslow gives an analogy that self-actualizing people and their jobs are described as a key and a lock. They fit and belong together. Most people work to earn money for living. However, for self-actualizing people, working is not merely a
17 It also brings them a great satisfaction. Moreover, they work very hard and consider their work as their play. Therefore, very often self-actualizing people continue doing their work although they do not really need the income from it.
e) A need for privacy and independence Self-actualizing people have a strong need for privacy and independence. It means that they do not depend on others to make up their own minds, reach their own decisions and exercise their own motivation and discipline.
f) Autonomous Functioning Since self-actualizing people are independent, they have the ability to function autonomously in social and physical environments. Their satisfactions do not depend on others, but on their own potentialities. Therefore, when they face problems or experience crises and misfortunes, they are able to remain calm. However, for less healthy people these things may be considered catastrophes.
g) A continued freshness of appreciation Self-actualizing people have the ability to continuously appreciate certain experiences with a fresh sense of pleasure, awe, and wonder even though they have experienced them repeatedly, such as everyday activities in which less healthy persons might not even notice. For self-actualizing people, a beautiful sunset may be seen as if it is their first experience although they see it almost every day. Hence, they are always thankful for what they have and experience and take little for granted.
h) Mystical, or “peak”, experiences Self-actualizing people continually experience mystical, or ‘peak’ experiences.
They are blissful and excited about being involved in any activities, working,
18 Self-actualizing people possess a great social interest in helping humanity.
They have strong and profound feelings of empathy, love and affection for all human beings. They consider themselves as members of a single family, the human race. As a result, they possess a feeling of brotherhood or sisterhood with the other members of the family. j) Interpersonal Relations
Self-actualizing people have strong relationships with others. They place love and deep friendship in relating to others. However, they do not like those who are hypercritical, pretentious or arrogant. They can be harsh and even cruel toward them. Certainly, this does not lessen their compassion and love for humanity in general because this occasional attitude happens only toward some individuals. k) A democratic character structure
Self-actualizing people tolerate and accept all people of different social class, educational level, political or religious background, race or color. They do not feel superior in their relations with others, even those who have a lower educational level and intelligence. They are ready to learn from anyone who can teach them something. l) Discrimination between means and ends, between good and evil
Self-actualizing people frequently consider a means, which is a way of achieving a goal, as an end in certain activities and experiences. For self-actualizing people, a means can become an end as they enjoy ‘doing’ those activities as much as or more than achieving the goal. Thus, the enjoyment and satisfaction of doing this make the means become the end.
In addition, self-actualizing persons have the ability to deal with ethical
19 distinguishing between good and evil is often confusing, but for self actualizing persons they can define well ethical and moral standards. m) An unhostile sense of humor
Self-actualizing people have an unhostile sense of humor. It means that it never hurts anybody else. “It is often instructive, designed to make a point as well as produce a laugh”. It is also spontaneous without planning and therefore others might only react in a smile and a nod of understanding instead of in loud laughter. n) Creativeness
For self-actualizing persons, being creative is not always in terms of producing or creating an artistic thing, such as abstract painting. Therefore creativeness here is defined as “an attitude, an expression of psychological health concered with the way of how we perceive and react to the world than with finished products of an artistic nature”. As a result, anyone in any occupation can have and express creativeness. o) Resistance to enculturation
Self-actualizing persons are well enough “to resist social pressures to think or act in certain ways”. However, this does not infer that they are totally rebellious against the culture or deliberately violate social rules in demonstrating independence. They will openly challenge the rules and norms of society if an issue raises a moral or ethical matter.
The characteristics elaborated seem to create a perfect human being. However, Maslow states that there are no perfect human beings. Self-actualizing people are only the models of the healthy personality. They can be silly, thoughtless, stubborn, irritating, vain, ruthless, and temperamental, and other characteristics shared with less
21 Therefore, they are saintly people with no shortcomings. What differentiates them from those who are less healthy is that they experience less frequently these imperfections.
In this part, I elaborate some criticisms about the author himself and the novel being analyzed in this study, Tuesdays with Morrie. The criticisms are mostly obtained from the Internet since it is difficult to find the criticisms from books or other references. The criticisms help me to understand more on the author and his work, and therefore help me to analyze the novel profoundly.
The first criticism comes from Tiffany Webb. She states, “It's an eye opener for what's important in life and what really matters at the end of the day. I hope that each person who reads this book walks away feeling a greater appreciation for their life and others”<http://www.amazon.com/Tuesdays-Morrie-Young-Greatest-Lesson>.
It shows how she thinks that the novel contains important life lessons. Another comment comes from Alex Kotlowitz, author of There are No Children Here, who praises and thanks Mitch Albom for introducing Morrie Schwartz. He says that Morrie’s dignity and frankness stirred him. He also adds, “His good humor and zest left me smiling.” (Albom xii). Justin Lee Tadlock adds another criticism to the novel.
He states that after reading the novel, one will want to re-evaluate his/her life and how he/she views and interacts with the world. He recommends everyone to read the novel <http://www.amazon.com/Tuesdays-Morrie-Young-Greatest-Lesson>. Sheree Wu, the co-author of Angelic Force, gives an opinion that the novel “achieves its ultimate
22 <http://www.amazon.com/Tuesdays-Morrie-Young-Greatest-Lesson>. It means that the novel can be used as a reflection of how one lives his or her life.
These criticisms are only some of many positive comments on the novel since most of the readers give praises after reading it. In conclusion, Tuesday with Morrie is inspiring and has changed the attitude of millions.
C. Theoretical Framework
In this study, I apply some theories to support my analysis, namely theory of character, theory of characterization, theory of critical approach, and theory of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs which includes theory of self-actualization. These theories are applied to help me answer the two problems formulated.
The theory of character is applied to help me differentiate whether Morrie is a flat or round character, a static or dynamic character, etc. Meanwhile, the theory of characterization is used to reveal the characteristics of Morrie. These theories are important in answering the first problem formulation in which to know what sort of person Morrie is.
The theory of critical approach is needed to see which approach is the most relevant to the study, and it turns out that the psychological approach is the most relevant because this study discusses the issue related to one’s personality, i. e. self- actualization. Therefore, the theory of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs which includes the theory of self-actualization is important to help me reveal Morrie’s self actualization so that the analysis can be done more profoundly. This is to answer the second problem formulation.
CHAPTER III METHODOLOGY This chapter consists of three parts. The first is subject matter which explains
about the novel used in this study. The second is approach to the study which elaborates the relevant approach applied in this study. The last is procedures which mention the steps taken in conducting this study.
A. Subject Matter
The subject matter of this study is a novel entitled Tuesdays with Morrie written by Mitch Albom as the primary source. It was first published in 1997. It contains 192 pages and is divided into 27 chapters. Tuesdays with Morrie has been translated in 31 languages in 36 countries. It is one of the bestsellers which has changed millions of lives. This novel is considered as a biographical novel because it is written based on the life of Morrie Schwartz, the author’s professor at Brandeis University in Waltham, Massachusetts whom he adored, admired, and loved.
The story tells about Morrie Schwartz who is an affectionate and wise teacher who always teaches his students being fully human. One of his students is Mitch Albom who loves, adores, and admires him. Mitch takes all subjects in which Morrie is in charge of. Soon, Morrie and Mitch build a strong ‘friendship’. On his graduation day, Mitch promises to keep in touch with his beloved professor. However, he never keeps his promise not before he unintentionally catches his professor figure on “Nightline Show”, a very popular show with Ted Koppel as the host. At that very
24 moment, Mitch becomes speechless knowing why his former professor is on the show.
Knowing that the professor is dying, Mitch visits him for the first time after sixteen years since his graduation day. From that day on, he routinely visits his professor on Tuesdays as he always did when he was a student. Mitch and Morrie consider themselves Tuesday People. In each visit, or what both call ‘class’, there is a lesson about life, such as regret, death, family, emotions, money, marriage, forgiveness, etc.
B. Approach of the Study
According to Rohberger and Woods Jr. (3-9), the psychological approach deals with one’s imagination, creativity, thought, and behaviour. This approach applies the theory of psychology in understanding the nature of literary works. Since this study is concerned with the psychological development of one’s personality, i.e. self-actualization, the psychological approach is chosen.
The psychological approach provides a great contribution to the analysis in understanding the main character’s personality about how he acts and behaves. By using this approach, the analysis of how Morrie reveals his self-actualization can be done profoundly. Consequently, it is the most relevant approach to be applied in this study to help me effectively analyze the novel. Another proof that the psychological approach is the most relevant is the use of the theory of psychology, i.e. the theory of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs which explains the theory of self-actualization to
25 C. Procedures This study was conducted by library research. Mostly I read and took notes from books, encyclopedia, or any references related to the topic discussed in this study including the references from the internet.
There were some steps taken in conducting this research. Firstly, I read the novel, which is used as the primary source, several times to understand what the whole story was about. From the first reading, my focus was drawn to the main character, Morrie. I found that Morrie possessed some special characteristics of a self- actualizing person. Based on this central character, two problems were formulated. The first is how Morrie’s characteristics are described and how he is revealed to be a self-actualizing person.
After the problems were formulated, I searched and collected some theories from books, encyclopedia, and other references related to this study, including the references from the internet. The theories obtained were used as the secondary sources to support my analysis.
Having read the theories needed, I then focused my analysis on how Morrie is depicted from the personal descriptions about him, what others say about him, how his past life tells about his characteristics, etc. I took notes together with the quotations from the novel. This step was done to answer the first problem formulation.
The analysis on how Morrie reveals his self-actualization was the next step. The same as the previous step, I also took notes and quoted some parts of the novel to strengthen my analysis. This step was taken to answer the second problem
26 After those two problem formulations were answered, I compared my analysis with the theories to see how the analysis met the theories. Finally I made the conclusion and suggestions for future researchers as well as the lesson plan for the reference to teach reading skill.
CHAPTER IV ANALYSIS This chapter contains the detail explanations of the problem formulations
presented in the first chapter. It is divided into two sections. In the first section, I discuss how Morrie is characterized in the novel. While in the second section, I elaborate how Morrie’s self-actualization is revealed in the novel. The theories presented in the second chapter are applied to help me in the analysis.
A. The Characterization of Morrie Schwartz
Characters play an essential role in a novel. Without characters, it would be very difficult, or impossible, to convey the message of the novel to readers, to perform the conflicts, or to create a story. Therefore, it is impossible not to have characters in a novel.
There are some types of character. According to Henkle (88), a character is divided into two kinds, namely major and secondary characters. The first one is the most significant, important, and complex. This character, usually, gets the fullest attention from the readers as he or she holds the key point of the whole story. On the other hand, a secondary character is less significant and complex than the major character. His or her responses to experiences are more limited. Based on this theory, Morrie is categorized as the major character since the readers’ attention is fully drawn to him. He holds the central point of the whole story as well.
28 one specific trait or feature. This character tends to stay the same in the whole story, and therefore can be described in a single phase or sentence. On the contrary, a round character is presented with more traits in details. Moreover, he or she is complex and is able to bring surprises to the readers. Morrie, according to this theory, is characterized as a round character because he has many traits and is presented in deep and detailed traits. He is also able to surprise the readers with his deep thoughts and wisdom.
To present Morrie’s characteristics in detail, the theory of characterization proposed by Murphy (161-173) is applied. There are nine ways in total, namely personal description, characters as seen by others, speech, past life, conversation of others, reactions, direct comments, thoughts, and mannerism. From these nine ways, however, the author only makes use of personal description, characters as seen by others, speech, past life, reactions, direct comments, and mannerism in order to characterize Morrie. The detailed elaborations of Morrie’s characteristics are presented as follows:
1. Weak and Dying
Morrie Schwartz is described as a seventy-eight old man who is dying because he suffers from ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis), a fatal neuromuscular disease.
It is also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, taken from a famous baseball player who dies of this disease. Before he is diagnosed as suffering from ALS, he has already felt something bad is going to happen on the day he gives up dancing (7). He begins to see lots of doctors. It is after he has a muscle biopsy, then he finally knows positively
29 Finally, on a hot, humid day in August 1994, Morrie and his wife Charlotte went to the neurologist’s office, and he asked them to sit before he broke the news. Morrie had amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), Lou Gehrig’s disease, a brutal, unforgiving illness of the neurological system.
There was no known cure. “How did I get it?” Morrie asked. Nobody knew. “Is it terminal?” Yes.
“So I’m going to die?” Yes, you are, the doctor said. I’m very sorry (7).
One of the fatal results of Morrie’s disease is paralysis because of the progressive muscle debilitation. His doctor predicts he will survive for the next two years, but Morrie knows he has less time.
ALS is like a lit candle: it melts your nerves and leaves your body a pile of wax. Often it begins with the legs and works its way up. You lose control of your thigh muscles, so that you cannot support yourself standing. You lose control of your trunk muscles, so that you cannot sit up straight. By the end, if you are still alive, you are breathing through a tube in a hole in your throat, while your soul, perfectly awake, is imprisoned inside a limp husk, perhaps able to blink, or cluck a tongue, like something from a science fiction movie, the man frozen inside his own flesh. This take no more than five years from the day you contract the disease.
30 Morrie knew it was less (9-10).
On one occasion, Morrie shows Mitch how his body gradually is weakening. He asks Mitch to do an A test by taking a deep breath, and then exhaling it while counting as many numbers as possible before taking another breath. Mitch is able to reach seventy, while Morries only eighteen.
He stopped, gasping for air. “When the doctor first asked me to do this, I could reach twenty three. Now it’s eighteen.” He closed his eyes, shook his head. “My tank is almost empty” (37). As Mitch observes his former professor progression of the disease, he realizes that Morrie is running out of time.
Holding him like that moved me in a way I cannot describe, except to say I felt the seeds of death inside his shriveling fame, and as I laid him in his chair, adjusting his head on the pillows, I had the coldest realization that our time was running out (59).
When Morrie has the second interview with Ted Koppel, he wears a long sleeved blue shirt because he always feels cold even if it is ninety degrees outside (69). This shows that his body is getting weak. Moreover, when he speaks he is not able to gesture freely. He also has problem pronouncing certain words. This indicates that very soon he will lose his voice.
And as he spoke, it became obvious. He was not waving his hands to make a point as freely as he had in their first conversation. He had trouble
Based on Morrie’s speech, Morrie’s personal description, the author’s direct comments, and the character as seen by others, Morrie is characterized as weak and dying because of ALS, a no-known-cure disease.
Being tough is another characteristic Morrie possesses. Although he suffers from ALS and is dying because of the disease, Morrie has decided not to be depressed. When he is first told by the doctor about his disease, he thinks about his only two choices, whether to continue living by making the best of his life or keep feeling sorry for himself. He chooses to live without feeling ashamed of dying.
But my old professor had made a profound decision, one he began to construct the day he came out of the doctor’s office with a sword hanging over his head.
Do I wither up and disappear, or do I make the best of my life left? He had asked himself.
He would not wither. He would not be ashamed of dying (10). In the interview with Ted Koppel, Morrie also tells Ted Koppel how he decides to live with dignity, courage, humor, and composure despite his dying of the disease. Moreover, he also tells Ted that the disease indeed makes him mourn and feel angry and bitter on some mornings. However, those feelings do not last long. He can always get up and decides he wants to live. He is also betting on himself that he can continue living with his positive attitude. Obviously, this shows how tough Morrie is.
“Ted,” he said, “when all this started, I asked myself, ‘Am I going to with draw from the world, like most people do, or am I going to live?’ I decided
32 “There are some mornings when I cry and cry and mourn for myself. Some morning I’m so angry and bitter. But it doesn’t last too long. Then I get up and say, ‘I want to live…’ “So far I’ve been able to do it. Will I able to continue? I don’t know. But I’m betting on myself that I will” (21-22).
Morrie also shows his toughness on Mitch’s first visit. He tells Mitch that he may be dying, but it does not really matter because he has family and friends who love and care for him. Mitch is astonished by Morrie’s toughness despite his being unable to dance, swim, bathe, or walk.
“I may be dying, but I’m surrounded by loving, caring souls. How many people can say that?” I was astonished by his complete lack of self-pity. Morrie, who could no longer dance, swim, bathe, or walk; Morrie, who could no longer answer his own door dry himself after a shower, or even roll over in bed. How could he be so accepting? (36) In facing his final months, Morrie does not ask his sons, Rob who works in
Tokyo and Jon who works in Boston, to just stay at home to accompany him although they will certainly do it for their beloved father. He does not want his disease to ruin his sons’ lives. He himself who suffers is just enough. This shows how tough he is.
“…Had he so desired, they would have stopped what they were doing to be with their father every minute of his final months. But that was not what he wanted.” “Do not stop your lives,” he told them. “Otherwise, this disease will have ruined three of us instead of one” (93).
33 On the last interview with Ted Koppel, Morrie assures Ted that the disease will only attack his body, but not his spirit. “Ted this disease is knocking at my spirit.
But it’ll not get my spirit. It’ll get my body. It will not get my spirit.” (163). This shows his toughness in facing the disease. Although his body will wither and he is suffering a lot, he will keep his spirit alive.
From the proofs above, it is clear that Morrie is presented as a tough person. Having suffered such a horrible disease, he does not give up and keep mourning for what he has to suffer. The methods used by the author in presenting Morrie’s toughness are Morrie’s speech, Morrie’s reaction, Mitch’s view, and the author’s direct comment.
Morrie is also described as a straight forward person. When he knows his time is running out, he honestly tells his students how he might die before the end of the semester.
“My friends, I assume you are all here for the Social Psychology class. I have been teaching this course fro twenty years, and this is the first time I can say there is a risk in taking it, because I have a fatal illness. I may not live to finish this semester. “If you feel this is a problem, I understand if you wish to drop the course” (9). Furthermore, when Ted Koppel, a very famous host of ABC-TV’s
“Nightline”, comes to have an interview with Morrie, he answers Ted’s question openly without trying to hide his feelings, thoughts, or any facts in considering that he is interviewed by a famous figure. He honestly admits that he has only seen Koppel’s program twice and states his direct opinion that he thinks Koppel is a narcissist.
34 “Now let me ask you something,” Koppel said. “Have you ever seen my program?” Morrie shrugged. “Twice, I think.” “Twice? That’s all?” “Don’t feel bad. I’ve only seen ‘Oprah’ once.” “Well, the two times you saw my show, what did you think?” Morrie paused. “To be honest?” “Yes?” “I thought you were a narcissist” (20-21).
Morrie’s response to Koppel’s question about what Morrie dreads the most in the progression of his disease also accounts for how straightforward he is.
….What, Koppel asked, did Morrie dread the most about his slow, insidious decay? Morrie paused. He asked if he could say this certain thing on television. Koppel said go ahead. Morrie looked straight into the eyes of the most famous interviewer in America. “Well, Ted, one day soon, someone’s gonna have to wipe my ass” (22). From the proofs above, Morrie is presented as a straightforward person. He does not hide his feelings, thoughts, or even his present condition. The methods used by the author in describing Morrie as a straightforward person are personal description, speech, direct comments, and mannerism.
35 “coach”, and Morrie seems to like the nickname because he wants Mitch to “play all the lovely parts of life” that he is too old for now (31). Morrie tries to say that he will guide Mitch in undergoing the paths of life.
When Mitch is in Wimbledon to get news on the world’s premier tennis competition, he is knocked over by a British photographer who is chasing Andre Agassi and his girlfriend Brooke Shields, but the photographer does not even say ‘sorry’. Mitch suddenly remembers what Morrie says to him. This shows that Mitch is able to get a lesson from Morrie’s wise words which Mitch believes are certainly right.
“So many people walk around with a meaningless life. They seem half-asleep,
even when they’re busy doing things they think are important. This is because they’re chasing the wrong things. The way you get meaning into your life is to devote yourself to loving others, devote yourself to your community around you, and devote yourself to creating something that give you purpose and mea ning” (43).
Morrie’s wisdom is also shown in his willingness to share his time with Mitch when they are still in the college. Morrie who must be very busy with his works, still he always manages to have time to discuss with Mitch, his student. When Mitch shares his problems, Morrie always tries to pass life’s lessons to him. He always reminds Mitch to be “fully human”. Mitch always enjoys talking with Morrie because he can have the fatherly conversation which he cannot do with his father who wants him to be a lawyer.
….Each time we talk, he listens to me ramble, then he tries to pass on some
life lessons. He warns me that money is not the most important thing, contrary
speaks of the alienation of youth and the need for “connectedness” with the society around me. Some of these things I understand, some I do not. It makes no difference. The discussions give me an excuse to talk to him, fatherly conversations I cannot have with my own father, who would like me to be a lawyer (46).
Mitch sees Morrie as a wise father who can accept his dream to be a musician and encourage him as well. Morrie motivates him by saying that if he really wants to be a musician, then he will make his dream happen (46).
Morrie also passes a precious lesson to Mitch when they are doing their ‘final thesis’ on a subject called ‘The Meaning of Life’. He tells Mitch that when we learn how to die, we also learn how to live. It means that we should accept that someday we will die, therefore we should appreciate our life. Mitch wisdom’s is also shown in his manner when he wants to make sure that Mitch has absorbed his point. He simply repeats what he has said before so that Mitch might not feel embarrassed asking.
“The truth is, Mitch,” he said, “once you learn how to die, you learn how to live.” I nodded “I’m going to say it again,” he said. “Once you learn how to die, you learn how to live.” He smiled, and I realized what he was doing. He was making sure I absorbed this point, without embarrassing me by asking. It was part of what made him a good teacher (82).
To some up, Morrie’s wisdom can be seen from his speech, his manner, his past life, and Mitch’s view.
Morrie is portrayed as an affectionate person. Although he has a father who never shows his care and love (75), Morrie grows to be very affectionate. When Mitch comes for the first time to visit him after sixteen years, he is surprised with Morrie’s affection considering he is the student who never keeps his promise to keep in touch with his former professor who has been very kind to him during his years in college.
He rocked against me, not letting go, his hands reaching up for my elbows as I bent over him. I was surprised at such affection after all these years, but then in the stone walls I had built between my present and my past, I had forgotten how close we once were…(28)
Moreover, when they eat together in the dining room, Morrie wants to feed Mitch as he usually does when they are still in college. “As was his custom, he wanted to feed me, and I said all right” (28). How Morrie receives Mitch with such a warm affection shows that he still cares for Mitch. Although they never kept in touch for sixteen years, the affection is still there. “I cannot tell you why he received me so warmly. I was hardly the promising student who had left him sixteen years earlier” (33).
Morrie’s affection can also be seen in his care for other people’s problems despite his own pain and suffering. He says that giving to others make him feel alive.
When he can make someone smile after sharing their problems, he feels ‘healthy’. This shows how he cares and loves others.
“Why do you think it’s important for me to hear other people’s problem? Don’t I have enough pain and suffering of my own? “Of course I do. But giving to other people is what makes me feel alive. Not
38 when I can make someone smile after they were feeling sad, it’s close to healthy as I ever feel (128). From the proofs above, it can be concluded that Morrie is an affectionate person. The methods used by the author to portray this characterisctic of Morrie are
Morrie’s speech, manner, reaction, and Mitch’s view.
B. The Self-Actualization of Morrie Schwartz
Morrie Schwartz is a unique character. He is able to accept his own real nature for what it is. Furthermore, he can make use of all his abilities, fulfill his qualities and capacities, and become the sort of person he has the potential to be. Therefore, he can be considered as a self-actualizing person.
According to Maslow (qtd. in Schultz 69-68), there are a number of specific characteristics of self-actualizing people, namely: an efficient perception of reality, a general acceptance of nature, others and oneself, spontaneity, simplicity, and naturalness, a focus on problems outside themselves, a need for privacy and independence, autonomous functioning, a continued freshness of appreciation, mystical, or “peak” experiences, social interest, interpersonal relations, a democratic character structure, discrimination between means and ends, between good and evil, an unhostile sense of humor; creativeness, and resistance to enculturation.
Morrie’s self-actualization is reflected in his ways of living, namely in facing his disease, in talking Mitch, in the family, and in the society. How he reveals his self- actualization is analyzed as follows:
1. In Facing His Disease
39 walk, bathe himself, and even wash his private parts. These are some effects of his disease. For some people, knowing they are going to die may mean the end of the world. Thinking about the effects caused by the disease may make them mourn of why they have to suffer. As a result, they may end up feeling sorry and blaming life which they think is unfair. However, for Morrie, the idea of feeling sorry or regretful does not exist. Instead, the way he faces his disease is certainly unique.
From the first time he knows his disease, he has decided not to give up and be ashamed of dying. On the contrary, he creates a great idea that he will make a final project with he himself as the subject to be researched. Referring to Maslow’s theory of self-actualizing people (qtd. in Schultz 68-69), the way he perceives and reacts to the fact that he is dying shows his creativeness. Moreover, it also shows his efficient perception of reality as well (qtd. in Schultz 68-69). He sees his current condition objectively which results in a conclusion to consider himself as a human textbook that can be studied.
He would not wither. He would not be ashamed of dying. Instead, he would make his death his final project, the center point of his days. Since everyone was going to die, he could be of great value, right? He could be research. A human textbook. Study me in my slow and patient demise.
Watch what happens to me. Learn with me (10).
Morrie decides to do his final project with Mitch, his former student. Every Tuesday, Mitch visits him and they talk about what-really-matters-in-life issues. On one occasion, Mitch asks Morrie whether his disease makes him feel sorry for himself. The disease indeed makes Morrie mourn sometimes in the morning when he not last long. Morrie’s response is quite surprising to Mitch considering the progress of his disease.
“Sometimes, in the mornings,” he said. “That’s when I mourn. I feel around my body, I move my fingers and my hands- whatever I can still move- and I mourn what I’ve lost. I mourn the slow, insidious way in which I’m dying. But then I stop mourning.” Just like that? (56-57)
Morrie continues to explain how he covers his self-pity. He says that he cries if he needs to. He allows himself to have a few tears because he does not want to have self- pity more than that. He then concentrates on all the good things he still has in his life. This shows how he can stay calm and positive although he suffers a lot from the disease.
“I give myself a good cry if I need it. But then I concentrate on all the good things still in my life. On the people who are coming to see me. On the stories I’m going to hear. On you-if it’s Tuesday. Because we’re Tuesday people.” I grinned. Tuesday people.
“Mitch, I don’t allow myself any more self-pity than that. A little each morning, a few tears, and that’s all” (57).
Mitch compares Morrie to those people he knows who often feel sorry for themselves. Morrie is different because he is able “to put a daily limit on self-pity” despite his horrible disease. To Mitch’s surprise, Morrie, in fact, thinks that his disease is only horrible considering his physical condition, how the disease will make his body “wilt away to nothing”, but it gives him a chance of getting to say good-bye
41 word “lucky”. Morrie, who is no longer able to stand, wash, and dress himself, says that he is lucky. According to Maslow (qtd. in Schultz 68-69), this shows that he is autonomous functioning. For most people, being unable to stand, walk, dress ourselves, may mean catastrophes, but Morrie is able to remain calm in facing his disease.
I thought about all the people I knew who spent many of their waking hours feeling sorry for themselves. How useful it would be to put a daily limit on self-pity. Just a few tearful minutes, then on with the day. And Morrie could do it, with such a horrible disease… “It’s only horrible if you see it that way,” Morrie said. “It’s horrible to watch my body slowly wilt away to nothing. But it’s also wonderful because of all the time I get to say good-bye.” He smiled. “Not everyone is so lucky” I studied him in his chair, unable to stand, to wash, to pull on his pants.
Lucky? Did he really say lucky? (57) Referring to Maslow’s theory (qtd. in Schultz 68-69), Morrie also possesses a general acceptance of nature, others and oneself. Morrie accepts his current condition and is not shameful of dying and never complains about the sufferings caused by the disease as well. When his body gradually weakens, he has to urinate into a large beaker and it means someone has to help him in holding the beaker. However, Morrie is not embarrassed.
Most of us would be embarrassed by all this, especially at Morrie’s age. But Morrie was not like most of us. When some of his close colleagues would
42 The progressions of his disease soon result in his being unable to dance, swim, bathe, or walk. However, Morrie does not keep mourning for what he has lost. Mitch is really astonished with Morrie who can be so accepting despite his shortcomings.
I was astonished by his complete lack of self-pity. Morrie, who could no longer dance, swim, bathe, or walk; Morrie, who could no longer answer his own door dry himself after a shower, or even roll over in bed. How could he be so accepting? (36) In an interview for the “Nightline” show, Ted Koppel, the host, asks Morrie about what he dreads most from his disease. “Someone’s gonna have to wipe my ass” is Morrie’s response to the question. When that day comes, Morrie accepts this complete dependency.
Morrie lost his battle. Someone was now wiping his behind. He faced this with typically brave acceptance. No longer able to reach behind him when he used the commode, he informed Connie of his latest limitation Besides Morrie’s acceptance of his current condition, he also behaves in a very spontaneous, simple, and natural way, another characteristic of self-actualizing people proposed by Maslow (qtd. in Schultz 68-69). He does not pretend or hide his feeling or emotions. He shows them in open and direct ways. When he is interviewed by Ted Koppel for the “Nightline” show, Morrie refuses to wear fancy clothes or make up for the interview. He wears his “shaggy gray sweater”. He has a philosophy that “death should not be embarrassing; he was not about to powder its nose” (21). Moreover, in the third interview, Morrie even does not change his clothes. He wears the same clothes he has the day before.
43 For the interview, which took place on a Friday afternoon, Morrie wore the same shirt he’d had on the day before. He changed shirts only every other day at this point, and this was not the other day, so why break routine? (160) According to Maslow (qtd. in Schultz 68-69), self-actualizing people consider their work as a mission to which they devote their energy and dedicate themselves.
Morrie’s devotion and dedication fit what Maslow proposes. Although his disease has caused him to walk with a cane, still he comes to campus, his “home’, where he has dedicated his contribution for thirty years. It is his final course at Brandeis University. He actually can stop teaching considering his current condition, and then just stay at home to rest and have medical treatments. However, Morrie loves his job so much that he keeps giving his best as long as he is still able to do it.
In the fall of 1994, Morrie came to the hilly Brandeis campus to teach his final college course. He could have skipped this, of course. The university would have understood. Why suffer in front of so many people? Stay at home. Get your affairs in order. But the idea of quitting did not occur to Morrie (9).
When Morrie is already unable to go to campus to teach, he does not give up giving what he is still able to give. He creates the idea to write down his thoughts and philosophies about death into aphorisms. More than fifty aphorisms are written in a short time. Morrie shares these aphorisms to his friends.
Yet he refused to be depressed. Instead, Morrie had become a lightening rod of ideas. He jotted down his thought on yellow pads, envelopes, folders, scrap paper. He wrote bite-sized philosophies about living with death’s shadow: “Accept what you are able to do and what you are not able to do”; “Accept the
44 past as the past, without denying or discarding it”; “Learn to forgive yourself and to forgive others”; “Don’t assume that it’s too late to get involved.” Referring to Maslow’s theory (qtd. in Schultz 68-69), self-actualizing people also have a strong need for privacy and independence which means that they are able to make up their own minds, reach their own decisions and exercise their own motivation and discipline. When Morrie is first told by the doctor about the disease, he is shocked and expects the world to stop and the people around him to take notice at him. However, he realizes that the world is just the same. He wonders what he should do then.
My old professor, meanwhile, was stunned by the normalcy of the day around him. Shouldn’t the world stop? Don’t they know what has happened to me? But the world did not stop, it took no notice at all, and as Morrie pulled weakly on the car door, he felt as if he were dropping into a hole.
Now what? He thought (8).
Morrie, later, decides not to give up. He thinks of a unique idea instead that he will let himself be researched. He will make his death become his final course. This shows how he can make up his own mind, reach his own decision and exercise his own motivation and discipline.
Instead, he would make his death his final project, the center point of his days. Since everyone was going to die, he could be of great value, right? He could be research. A human textbook. Study me in my slow and patient demise.
Watch what happens to me. Learn with me (10).
Self-actualizing people, according to Maslow (qtd. in Schultz 68-69), also
45 pleasure, awe, and wonder. Obviously, Morrie possesses this ability. It is shown when he is telling Mitch about how he appreciates the window in his office to which he can observe the nature outside. He says that it is like his first experience of seeing the nature.
He nodded toward the window with the sunshine streaming in. “You see that? You can go out there, outside, anytime. You can run up and down the block and go crazy. I can’t do that. I can’t go out. I can’t run. I can’t be out there without fear of getting sick. But you know what? I appreciate that window more than you do.” Appreciate it? “Yes. I look out that window every day. I notice the change in the trees, how strong the wind is blowing…I am drawn to nature like I’m seeing it for the first time” (84). Morrie is not only able to appreciate certain experiences, but he is also able to experience mystical, or ‘peak’ experiences (qtd. in Schultz 68-69). He is blissful and excited in listening to music, even it often makes him cry. On one occasion, a local acapella group comes to his house to perform. He is so excited telling the story to Mitch.
Morrie was focused. There were good days and bad days now. He was having a good day. The night before he had been entertained by a local a cappella group that had come to the house to perform, and he relayed the story, as if the Ink Spots themselves had dropped by for a visit. Morrie’s love for music was strong even before he got sick, but now it was so intense, it moved him to
46 tears. He would listen to opera sometimes at night, closing his eyes, riding along with the magnificent voices as they dipped and soared. “”you should have heard this group last night, Mitch. Such a sound!” (124). On another occasion, Mitch brings his wife, Janine, to visit Morrie. Janine is a professional singer, and therefore, Morrie asks her to sing him a song. Janine sings a 1930s standard by Ray Noble. Morrie closes his eyes to absorb the song. He enjoys it so much that it seems he is dancing inside his body. It moves him to tears.
It was a 1930s standard, written by Ray Noble, and Janine sang it sweetly, looking straight at Morrie…Morrie closed his eyes to absorb the notes. As my wife’s loving voice filled the room, a crescent smile appeared on his face. And while his body was stiff as a sandbag, you could almost see him dancing inside it. When she finished, Morrie opened his eyes and tears rolled down his cheeks…(147).
Refferring to Maslow’s theory (qtd. in Schultz 68-69), Morrie also possesses an unhostile sense of humor. When he decides to be cremated, he tells the rabbi from Brandeis, Al Axelrad, who will conduct the funeral service, about his plan. “Make sure they don’t overcook me” is the joke he says to the rabbi. This is an instructive humor which conveys a point that he sees his body now as a “mere shell, a container of the soul” because it is “withering to useless skin and bones anyhow, which made it easier to let go” (171).
Based on Maslow’s theory (qtd. in Schultz 68-69), self-actualizing people have strong and profound feelings of empathy, love and affection for all human beings. Morrie also possesses this characteristic. On the first Tuesday, Morrie and
47 arrival. Mitch thinks it is strange for Morrie to care for the outside world because of his current condition. Mitch’s astonishment turns into amazement when he listens to Morrie’s explanation on how he feels closer to people who also suffer. Morrie tells about what he saw on TV the other night. There are the innocent victims in Bosnia who are shot and died. He then starts to cry feeling a deep sadness as if it is his own.
“Yes,” Morrie said. “Do you think that’s strange? Do you think because I’m dying, I shouldn’t care what happens in this world?” Maybe. He sighed. “Maybe you’re right. Maybe I shouldn’t care. After all, I won’t be around to see how it all turns out.
“But it’s hard to explain, Mitch. Now that I’m suffering I feel closer to people who suffer than I ever did before. The other night, on TV, I saw people in Bosnia running across the street, getting fired upon, killed, innocent victims…and I just started to cry. I feel their anguish as if it were my own. I don’t know any of these people. But-how can I put this?- I’m almost … drawn to them”
Amazing , I thought. I worked in the news business. I covered stories where
people died. I interviewed grieving family members. I even attended the funerals. I never cried. Morrie, for the suffering of people half away, was weeping (50-51). Morrie’s next response to Mitch’s wonder on why he cares for people he does not even know shows how he values love. He says that to give out love and to let it
48 “Mitch, you asked about caring for people I don’t even know. But can I tell you the thing I’m learning most with this disease?” What’s that? ‘The most important thing in life is to learn how to give out love, and to let it come in.
His voice dropped to a whisper. “Let it come in. We think we don’t deserve love, we think if we let it in we’ll become too soft. But a wise man named Levine said it right, ‘Love is the only rational act.’” He repeated carefully, pausing for effect.”‘Love is the only rational act.’” (52) Morrie proves it right. He really puts into action what he says and believes. He puts love and deep friendship into his relationships with others, even when he is dying. According to Maslow’s theory of self-actualization (qtd. in Schultz 68-69), Morrie has strong relationships with others. It means that he is good in building interpersonal relationships.
To conclude, although Morrie is dying and suffering a lot because of ALS, he is able to show his self-actualization. He is creative and able to have an objective perception of reality. He is also autonomous functioning in a way that he can remain calm and face his disease with courage and positive thoughts. Moreover, he can accept his current condition and never complains about the pains caused by the disease. He is also able to behave in a very spontaneous, simple, and natural way. He expresses his feelings and emotions in open and direct ways. Although Morrie suffers a lot, he is still able to focus on problems outside himself. He devotes to others every single thing he is still able to give. In addition, Morrie has a strong need for privacy able to experience mystical, ‘peak’ experiences in enjoying music. He also has an unhostile sense of humor. Furthermore, Morrie has a great social interest in humanity, and therefore, is able to build good interpersonal relationships with others.
Morrie has close relationships with his students. One of them is Mitch. In the first time Mitch takes Morrie’s class, he is asked which nickname he prefers. Mitch is quite surprised and this makes him do a double take at Morrie. None of his teachers has ever asked him this question.
“Mitchell?” Morrie says, reading from the attendance list. I raise a hand. “Do you prefer Mitch or is Mitchell better?” I have never been asked this by a teacher. I do a double take at this guy in his yellow turtleneck and green corduroy pants, the silver hair that falls on his forehead. He is smiling. Mitch, I say. Mitch is what my friend called me. “Well, Mitch is then,” Morrie says, as if closing a deal. “And Mitch?” Yes? “I hope one day you’ll think of me as your friend” (24-25).
The quotation above shows that Morrie has a democratic character structure, one of the characteristics of self-actualizing people proposed by Maslow (qtd. in Schultz 68-69). He does not feel superior toward Mitch who has a lower educational level. He even wants Mitch to consider him as a friend someday. It means that he does not want to build a gap between a teacher and a student just like what commonly
2. In Talking to Mitch
When Mitch visits Morrie for the first time after sixteen years of separation, Morrie still considers Mitch as his friend. “My old friend,” he whispered, “you’ve come back at last” (28). Morrie does not forget the ‘friendship’ they once have during Mitch’s college years. Morrie receives Mitch warmly.
He rocked against me, not letting go, his hands reaching up for my elbows as I bent over him. I was surprised at such affection after all these years, but then in the stone walls I had built between my present and my past, I had forgotten how close we once were. I remembered graduation day, the briefcase, his tears at my departure, and I swallowed because I knew, deep down, that I was no longer the good, gift-bearing student he remembered (28).
Mitch is quite astonished at how Morrie welcomes him (33). Although they have not kept in touch for such a long time, Morrie treats Mitch affectionately. Morrie does not feel upset toward Mitch who has never kept his promise. Referring to Maslow’s theory (qtd. in Schultz 68-69), self actualizing people have strong relationships with others. They put love and deep friendship in their relationships with others. How Morrie welcomes Mitch shows his strong interpersonal relation. He has built a deep friendship with Mitch, thus, although Mitch might have disappointed him by not keeping his promise, he still cares for him.
Moreover, Morrie’s statement that if he can have another son, he wants it to be Mitch shows how Morrie loves Mitch. Obviously, Morrie has felt a strong bond of emotion with Mitch.
“I don’t know why you came back to me. But I want to say this…” He paused, and his voice choked.
51 I dropped my eyes, kneading the dying flesh of his feet between my fingers.
For a moment, I felt afraid, as if accepting his words would somehow betray my own father. But when I looked up, I saw Morrie smiling trough tears and I knew there was no betrayal in a moment like this. All I was afraid of was saying good-bye. During Mitch’s visits, Morrie always tries to pass life lessons to Mitch. One of the issues Morrie is concerned most is about creating one’s own culture. He stresses that if the culture is not teaching the good things, one has to create his or her own culture instead of following the wrong ones.
“Well, for one thing, the culture we have does not make people feel good about themselves. We’re teaching the wrong things. And you have to be strong enough to say if the culture doesn’t work, don’t buy it. Create your own…(35-36).
One of the examples of what the culture values most is money or anything deals with worldly things. He tells Mitch that people have been brainwashed. They think that owning worldly things is a very important matter in life.
“We’ve got a form of brainwashing going on in our country,” Morrie sighed. “Do you know how they brainwash people? They repeat something over and over. And that’s what we do in this country. Owning things is good. More money is good. More property is good. More commercialism is good. More is
good. More is good. We repeated it-and have it repeated to us-over and over
until nobody bothers to think otherwise. The average person is so fogged up by all this, he has no perspective on what’s really important anymore.
52 “Wherever I went in my life, I met people wanting to gobble up something new. Gobble up a new car. Gobble up a new piece of property. Gobble up the latest toy. And then they wanted to tell you about it. Guess what I got? Guess what I got? (125)
According to Morrie, when people value money or such worldly things a lot, they will be afraid of losing them. It is then those things become their gods. For Morrie, he will not buy such culture.
“People are only mean when they are threatened,” he said later that day, “and that’s what our culture does. That’s what our economy does. Even people who have jobs in our economy are threatened, because they worry about losing them. And when you get threatened, you start looking out only for yourself.
You start making money a god. It is part of this culture.” He exhaled. “Which is why I don’t buy into it” (154).
Referring to Maslow’s theory (qtd. in Schultz 68-69), Morrie is able “to resist social pressures to think or act in certain ways”. When he thinks that the culture is teaching the wrong things, he is able to stand for his own culture. However, it does not mean that Morrie is totally rebellious against the culture or deliberately violate social rules in demonstrating independence. He does not go around naked or ignore red lights, for example. He tells Mitch not to let the culture determine how we think and what we value.
“Here’s what I mean by building your own little subculture,” Morrie said. “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
53 must choose yourself. You can let anyone-or any society-determine those for you (155). Morrie knows exactly what is really important to value. He interprets that the people who are always chasing money as their life purpose are actually so hungry for love that they use money as substitutes. However, they will always fail to do so because there is no substitute for love, gentleness, or tenderness. He takes himself in his current condition as the example. Neither money nor power helps him feel a sense of care.
“You know how I always interpreted that? There were people so hungry for love that they were accepting substitutes. They were embracing material things and expecting a sort of hug back. But it never works. You can’t substitute material things for love or for gentleness or for tenderness or for a sense of comradeship. “Money is not a substitute for tenderness, and power is not a substitute for tenderness. I can tell you as I’m sitting here dying, when you most need it, neither money nor power will give you the feeling you’re looking for, no matter how much of them you have” (125).
Besides, he adds that they are confused of what they want versus what they need. For example, they need food, but they want a chocolate sundae. Morrie believes that those material things many people are chasing cannot actually give them satisfaction. Offering others what they can give is the thing that can give them satisfaction.
“There a big confusion in this country over what we want versus what we
54 to be honest with yourself. You don’t need the latest sport car, you don’t need the biggest house. “The truth is, you don’t get satisfaction from those things. You know what really gives you satisfaction?” What? “Offering others what you have to give” (126).
According to Maslow (qtd. in Schultz 68-69), Morrie is able to differentiate between good and evil, right and wrong. For less healthy people, distinguishing what really matters in life might be confusing. However, Morrie is definitely clear in such matters.
The goal of the final project Morrie is doing with Mitch is that Morrie can tell others, especially Mitch, about the important things in life. Morrie thinks that the culture is teaching the wrong things that make people value “egotistical things, career, family, having enough money, meeting the mortgage, getting a new car, fixing the radiator when it breaks” (64). Hence, everyone needs someone to probe him or her to “get into a habit of standing back and looking at our lives and saying, Is this all? Is this all I want? Is something missing?” (65). In doing the final project, Morrie is playing a role as a teacher to lead Mitch to the right tracks. To reach the goal, he has a class with Mitch every Tuesday. He always feels happy when Mitch comes to visit.
He enjoys every physical contact when Mitch has to help him putting his glasses onto his ears, lifting his head to a more comfortable spot, or kissing him good-bye. Such “slightest human contacts” brings Morrie “immediate joy” (83). Therefore, he looks
55 Referring to Maslow’s theory (qtd. in Schultz 68-69), Morrrie is able to consider a means, which is a way of achieving a goal, as an end in doing his final project with Mitch. He enjoys talking to Mitch as much as or more than achieving the goal of doing the project.
To sum up, in doing the final project with Mitch, Morrie shows how he self- actualizes. He feels no superiority toward Mitch and is able to build a strong interpersonal relationship with Mitch. Moreover, his lesson about creating one’s own culture shows his resistance to enculturation and his ability to differentiate between good and evil. He is also able to consider a means as an end in a way that he enjoys so much talking to Mitch.
3. In His Family
Morrie has a bad experience of his childhood. When he is eight years old, his mother dies and because he is the only one who can read in English since his father, Charlie, a Russian immigrant, cannot speak English, he has to read the telegram from the hospital informing of his mother’s death (73). Morrie and his younger brother, David, then live with their father, who never shows a sense of care and love. Every evening, Morrie always watches his father eat in silence and hopes that his father will show his affection and warmth (75). Furthermore, Morrie always wishes his father to talk to them instead of going for a walk after dinner. He also always waits for his father to kiss him good-night (138). However, he never gets what he is expecting. Therefore, having experienced how the feeling to be neglected is, he swears that he will do those he-expects-his-father-to-do things if he has own children. Later, when he has his own children, he successfully becomes an affectionate father every body his two sons to be loving and caring, and like Morrie, they were not shy with their affection” (93).
Morrie’s childhood gives him a precious lesson in building a warm family. He marries with Charlotte. They have two sons, Rob and Jon. Rob works as a journalist in Tokyo and Jon is a computer expert in Boston. The way he builds a relationship in his family reveals his self-actualization.
Morrie believes that family is very important. It is the place where people can get security, support, and especially love. He quotes from Auden that “Love each other or perish”. Love is what he strongly believes will make things different. He takes himself as an example. If he does not have family, it will be harder for him in facing his disease. Having someone who will not leave and keep watching him all the time is the thing he finds only in a family. Hence, nothing else can give him that, neither money, fame, nor work.
“I think, in light of what we’ve been talking about all these weeks, family becomes even more important,” he said.
“The fact is, there is no foundation, no secure ground, upon which people may stand today if it isn’t the family. It’s become quite clear to me as I’ve been sick. If you don’t have the support and love and caring and concern that you get from a family, you don’t have much at all. Love is so supremely important. As our great poet Auden said, ‘Love each other or perish.’” “Love each other or perish.” I wrote it down. Auden said that? “Love each other or perish,” Morrie said. “It’s good, no? And it’s true.
Without love, we are birds with broken wings.
57 “Say I was divorced, or living alone, or had no children. This disease-what I’m going through-would be so much harder. I’m not sure I could do it. Sure, people would come visit, friends, associates, but it’s not the same as having someone who will not leave. It’s not the same as having someone whom you know has an eye on you, is watching you the whole time.
“This part of what a family is about, not just love, but letting others know there’s someone who is watching out for you. Nothing else will give you that.
Not money. Not fame.” He shot me a look.
“Not work,” he added. Morrie also personally thinks that “marriage is a very important thing to do, and you’re missing a hell of a lot of it if you don’t try it” (149). In addition, he also states that only by having children can one experience the complete responsibility for another human being and learn to love in the deepest way.
“I simply say, ‘There is no experience like having children.’ That’s all. There’s no substitute for it. You cannot do it with a friend. You cannot do it with a lover. If you want the experience of having complete responsibility for another human being, and to learn how to love and bond in the deepest way, then you should have children” (93).
When he gets sick, he does not ask his sons to stop their jobs and accompany him during his final months. He is very objective with the situation they are facing. If his sons stop their jobs, it means the disease ruins not only Morrie but also both of his sons.
58 Had he so desired, they would have stopped what they were doing to be their father every minute of his final months. But that was not what he wanted.
“Do not stop your lives,” he told them. “Otherwise, this disease will have ruined three of us instead of one” (93) Referring to Maslow’s theory (qtd. in Schultz 68-69), this shows how Morrie is able to have an efficient perception of reality that he is able to make logical reasons by not asking his sons to quit their jobs.
In some families, there may be a case that when the old father or mother is sick, the children will not really care about their parent. Some will just pay for a nurse, if they can afford it, to take care of their sick parent. Some will take care of their parent themselves but with the feeling of reluctance. However, it is not the case in Morrie’s family. When his sons come and visit Morrie, they will sit with him and there will be “a waterfall of affection, lots of kisses and jokes and crouching by the side of the bed, holding hands (93).
Morrie also has a loving relationship with his wife, Charlotte. They have been married for forty-four years. It shows how Morrie is able to maintain his marriage.
The loving relationship makes them understand each other. “They worked as a team, often needing no more than a silence glance to understand what the other was thinking” (149). Furthermore, Morrie respects Charlotte a lot. When he thinks that he is talking about something his wife will feel uncomfortable with, he will directly end the conversation.
Charlotte was a private person, different from Morrie, but I knew how much he respected her, because sometimes when we spoke, he would say,
59 “Charlotte might be uncomfortable with me revealing that,” and he would end the conversation. It was the only time Morrie held anything back (149).
According to Maslow (qtd. in Schultz 68-69), self-actualizing people have strong relationships with others. Morrie obviously has successfully built a strong relationship in his family.
In conclusion, Morrie is able to build a loving interpersonal relationship in his family and to have an efficient perception of reality as well. These show his self- actualization in his family.
4. In the Society
Morrie has shown his self-actualization in facing his disease, in talking to Mitch, and in his family as has been analyzed above. The last analysis of Morrie’s self-actualization is in the society. Everyone lives in a society. Hence, it is a place where everyone can actualize himself or herself.
When Morrie is a teenager, his father takes him to get a job in a fur factory where his father works. Since there is barely enough work for the adult laborers during the Depression, Morrie is not given the job and feels blessed because he actually does not like the place and the boss who always screams at his workers to work faster. Morrie makes a vow that he will never make money by exploiting others.
This, for Morrie, was a blessing. He hated the place. He made another vow that he kept to the end of his life: he would never do any work that exploited someone else, and he would never allow himself to make money off the sweats of others? (78)
Morrie successfully keeps his vow. After finishing his doctoral degree, he decides to
60 where he could contribute without exploiting others” (109). He works there for five years, and then becomes a teacher at Brandeis University where he contributes himself for more than thirty years. He decides to have a phrase, “A Teacher to the Last”, written on his tombstone (134).
When Morrie is first told by the doctor about his disease, he decides to make his death as his final project. He thinks that people can study and learn something about his current condition. He considers himself as a human text book (10). Thus, he agrees to be interviewed by Ted Koppel, the host of the “Nightline” show. Although he knows that the show may have a commercialism purpose by using him for a little drama, he does not mind because he has the chance to convey his message to millions of people (132). After the second show, letters from around the world keep coming to Morrie. He will gather with his family and friends to have a letter-writing session (85). The people writing letters to him mostly thank him for his inspiration on the “Nightline” show.
According to Maslow (qtd. in Schultz 68-69), self actualizing people have a great interest to help humanity. Morrie fits this point in which he has strong feelings of empathy, love and affection for others. He refuses any jobs that exploit others. Furthermore, it is because he has a great interest to help humanity that he decides to make his death as his final project so that people can learn something from his experience.
Besides having a great social interest to help humanity, Morrie is also able to build strong interpersonal relationships with others. When he works at the mental hospital, he faces the patients with care and patience. There is a patient, a middle-aged
61 talks to no one and is ignored by everyone. It makes Morrie sad, and therefore, he sits and even lies down beside her. At last, he is able to get her to return to her room.
…Every day, she did the same thing: came out in the morning, lay on the floor, stayed there until the evening, talking to no one, ignored by everyone. It saddened Morrie. He began to sit on the floor with her, even lay down alongside her, trying to draw her out of her misery. Eventually, he got her to sit up, and even to return to her room. What she mostly wanted, he learned, was the same thing many people want-someone to notice she was there (110).
Moreover, Morrie also makes friends with some of the patients. One of them is a woman who always spits at everyone. She even considers Morrie as her friend.
Morrie talks to her every day. However, one day she runs away from the hospital and Morrie is asked to bring her back. When she sees Morrie, she becomes angry thinking that Morrie is one of her ‘jailers’.
Another woman-who would spit at everyone else-took to Morrie and called him her friend. They talked each day, and the staff was at least encouraged that someone had gotten through her. But one day she ran away, and Morrie was asked to help bring her back. They tracked her down in a nearby store, hiding in the back, and when Morrie went in, she burned an angry look at him. “So you’re one of them, too,” she snarled. “One of who?” “My jailers” (110-111).
62 Morrie has always built strong interpersonal relationships with others. He has developed his culture by interacting with people. He does not even waste his time to watch movies like many people do.
Morrie, true to these words, had developed his own culture-long before he got sick. Discussion groups, walk with friends… He started a project called Greenhouse, where poor people could receive mental health services. He read books to find new ideas for his classes, visited with collogues, kept up with old students, wrote letters to distant friends. He took more eating and looking at nature and wasted no time in front of TV sitcoms or “Movies of the Week.” He had created a cocoon of human activities-conversation, interaction, affection- and it filled his life like an overflowing soup bowl (42-43).
It is no wonder if Morrie’s former students always keep in touch with him. When they know Morrie is sick, they call, write, and visit him. They all say that they have never had another teacher like Morrie.
Then again, how many business or law students ever visit their old professor once they leave? Morrie’s students did that all the time. And in his final months, they came back to him, hundreds of them, from Boston, New York, California, London, and Switzerland; from corporate offices and inner city school programs. They called. They wrote. They drove hundreds of miles for a visit, a word, a smile. “I’ve never had another teacher like you,” they all said (113). Morrie never fails to build good interpersonal relationships with others even
63 Instead, in his current condition he is able to entertain the people he loves. He has some discussions about death. He asks his friends not to treat him with sympathy if they want to help him but with visits, phone calls, a sharing of their problems.
In fact, he entertained a growing steam of visitors. He had discussion group about dying, what it really meant, how societies had always been afraid of it without necessarily understanding it. He told his friends that if they really wanted to help him, they would treat him not with sympathy but with visits, phone calls, a sharing of their problems- the way they had always shared their problems, because Morrie has always been a good listener (11-12).
Morrie indeed suffers a lot with the progression of the disease. However, this does not lessen his love for others. A strong relationship with others is what matters to him. Giving to others makes him feel healthy and alive.
“Why do you think it’s important for me to hear other people’s problem? Don’t I have enough pain and suffering of my own? “Of course I do. But giving to other people is what makes me feel alive. Not my car or my house. Not what I look like in the mirror. When I give my time, when I can make someone smile after they were feeling sad, it’s close to healthy as I ever feel (128).
In the second interview with Ted Koppel for the “Nightline” show, Morrie tells Ted that it is the loving relationships he has with people and friends that keep him strong. However, Morrie also admits that there are certain things that make him feel dreadful, such as being unable to move his hands or losing his voice. For Morrie, they are very important because it is the way he gives to people.
64 “Here’s how my emotions go,” Morrie told Koppel. “When I have people and friends here, I’m very up. The loving relationships maintain me.
“But there are days when I am depressed. Let me not deceive you. I see certain things going and I feel a sense of dread. What am I going to do without my hands? What happens when I can’t speak? Swallowing, I don’t care much about- so they feed me through a tube, so what? But my voice? My hands? They’re such an essential part of me. I talk with my voice and I gesture with my hands. This is how I give to people” (70).
Ted then asks Morrie if he is unable to speak, what the scene will be like when Morrie meets his beloved friend, Maurrie Stein, who sends Morrie’s aphorisms to the Boston Globe. Stein is unable to hear while Morrie is unable to speak. Morrie responds that they will only hold hands because they have had thirty-five years of friendship, and therefore, they do not need speech or hearing. Holding hands is enough for them to feel a lot of love passing between them (71).
Based on Maslow’s theory (qtd. in Schultz 68-69), Morrie has strong personal relationships with others. He places love and deep friendship with all the people he happens to know like his colleagues, friends, and students.
Besides having strong interpersonal relationships with others, Morrie also possesses a democratic character structure, one of the characteristics of self- actualizing people proposed by Maslow (qtd. in Schultz 68-69). It means that Morrie does not feel superior towards others. He addresses his students with “my friends” (9).
He does not think that he has a higher status compared to the students who have a
65 When Morrie is unable to wash his behind, he tells Connie, his nurse who takes care of him, about his complete dependency. One typical thing is that he always asks Connie first whether she minds washing his behind. This shows that he does not feel superior towards Connie, his helper.
…No longer able to reach behind him when he used the commode, he informed Connie of his latest limitation.
“Would you be embarrassed to do it for me?” She said no.
I found it typical that he asked her first. 115 To conclude, Morrie is able to self-actualize in the society in which he is involved. He has a great interest in helping humanity. One of the ways to show this quality is by making his death as his final project where every one can learn what really matters in life. Morrie, moreover, always builds strong and loving interpersonal relations with others, such as his colleagues, friends, and students. In interacting with those people, he never shows that he is more superior even to his nurse who takes care of him. He also does not show his superiority to those who have a lower educational level considering that he is a prominent and respected professor. This shows he has a democratic character structure.
CHAPTER V CONCLUSIONS AND SUGGESTIONS This chapter is divided into two sections. The first section states conclusions
which outline Morrie’s characterization and self-actualization. The second section describes suggestions for future researchers and teaching-learning activities.
This part is divided into two points. The first one is Morrie’s characterization and his self-actualization is the second point. The detailed elaboration is as follows.
1. Morrie’s Characterization
Based on the analysis presented in the previous chapter, Morrie is characterized as an old and weak man who is dying because he suffers from ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis). He is also described as tough, straightforward, wise and affectionate man. These characteristics can be seen from personal description, characters as seen by others, speech, past life, conversation of others, reactions, direct comments, thoughts, and mannerism.
The progress of Morrie’s disease results in his being unable to stand, walk, dress and bathe himself. Morrie ends up sitting in a wheelchair as the disease attacks his leg. Day by day, his body gradually weakens. However, Morrie is a tough man who never gives up with his shortcomings. He does not feel sorry for himself. He lets himself drop a few tears if he needs to which usually happens in the morning when he wakes up and mourns for what he has lost. He then focuses on things he still has.
67 as a wise man. His wisdom can be seen from the life lessons he passes to Mitch in his final project to which he calls “The Meaning of Life”. To accomplish the project, Morrie and Mitch meet every Tuesday. During each visit, they talk about what-really- matters-in-life issues. Furthermore, Morrrie is also presented as an affectionate man.
Although he lives with a very unaffectionate and ignorant father, he grows to be very affectionate. His bad childhood experience does not make him treat his children as his father does. He has a strong and close relationship with his wife and two sons. He also builds strong interpersonal relations with his colleques, friends, and students as well.
2. Morrie’s Self-Actualization
Morrie’s self-actualization is revealed in his ways of living, namely in facing his disease, in talking to Mitch, in his family, and in the society where he is involved.
He presents himself as a self-actualizing person by possessing the characteristics of self-actualizing people.
For most people, knowing they are soon going to die may mean a catastrophe. Morrie, however, is not like most people. When he first knows he is suffering from a deadly disease, he has decided not to give up. Although Morrie is dying and suffering a lot because of ALS, he is able to show his self-actualization. He decides to make his death as his final project with he himself as the object to be researched. This shows his creativeness and efficient perception of reality as well. Furthermore, he also shows that he is autonomous functioning in a way that he can remain calm and face his disease with courage and positive thoughts. He is also able to accept his nature as it is. He accepts his current condition and never complains about the pains caused by the disease. In addition, he is also able to behave in a very spontaneous, simple, and
68 himself. He considers his work as a mission to which he devotes all if his energy.
Moreover, Morrie has a strong need for privacy and independence in a way he can make a profound decision not to give up. Morrie is also able to continuously appreciate certain experiences. He is drawn to nature as if it is his first time in seeing it. Moreover, he is able to experience mystical, ‘peak’ experiences for his love of music. Furthermore, he possesess an unhostile sense of humor. In addition, Morrie has a great social interest in humanity, and therefore, is able to build good interpersonal relationships with others.
In doing the final project with Mitch, Morrie shows how he self-actualizes. He does not feel superior towards Mitch who has a lower educational level. Instead, he makes friends with Mitch. He is able to build a strong friendship with Mitch. Moreover, the lesson he passess to Mitch about creating one’s own culture shows his resistance to enculturation and his ability to differentiate between good and evil.
Furthermore, he is also able to consider a means as an end in a way that he enjoys a lot talking to Mitch.
Morrie also shows his self-actualization in his family. He is able to build a loving interpersonal relationship with his wife and his two sons. He, moreover, is able to have an efficient perception of reality.
Furthermore, in the society where he is involved, Morrie is also able to be a self-actualizing person. He has a great interest in helping humanity. Making his death as his final project is one of the ways of showing this quality. He wants every one to learn what really matters in life. Morrie, moreover, always builds strong and loving interpersonal relations with others, such as his colleagues, friends, and students. In
69 who have a lower educational level considering that he is a prominent and respected professor. Obviously, he has a democratic character structure.
There are two sections in this part. In the first section, I propose some suggestions for future researchers. While in the second section, I give a suggestion for teaching reading using the novel.
1. Suggestions for Future Researchers
Tuesdays with Morrie is a very interesting novel to read. It portrays the life of Morrie Schwartz, a former professor at Brandeis University, who suffers from ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis). There are many moral values and qualities as depicted in Morrie. How he lives his life is certainly interesting to analyze. Hence, this study focuses on Morrie’s self-actualization using psychological approach.
Future researchers who are interested in conducting a study of this novel may focus on Morrie’s positivism. They may also analyze the people who influence Morrie to develop, such as his father, his step mother, his only brother, etc. To get a deeper analysis, a biographical approach can be applied since the novel is a biographical novel.
Another aspect that is possible to analyze is Morrie’s culture he develops compared to the culture in his society using sociocultural-historical approach.
2. Suggestion for Teaching Reading
Reading literary works, especially novels can give great pleasure. However, it is not merely about ‘entertaining’ the readers. A novel can convey important values
70 about life because it portrays real life experiences. Therefore, a novel can be used as a rich source in teaching English as a second language.
There are some good reasons for using a novel in teaching English as a second language. As mentioned before, a novel presents real life experiences. Thus, students can learn different cultures so as to enrich their knowledge and cross-cultural understanding. Furthermore, using a novel to teach English can expose students to the real target language.
The novel used in this study, Tuesdays with Morrie, contains many issues to discuss. I recommend it to teach the second semester students of English Education Study Program in Reading II. One of the issues to discuss is death. The detailed activities are as follows:
1. The teacher asks some questions to brain storm and introduce the topic.
2. The teacher distributes the text to the students and asks them to read it.
3. The teacher encourages the students to first guess the meaning of new vocabularies, and then consult them with a dictionary.
4. The teacher asks the students to work in pairs and answer the questions given to enhance their comprehension skills.
5. The teacher discusses the answers to the questions with the class.
6. The teacher asks the students to work individually and write their perception on death
7. The teacher reviews the lesson.