Study Guide

Tuesdays With Morrie Chapter 12

By Mitch Albom

Chapter 12

The Professor

  • This chapter is a flashback of Morrie's life as a kid.
  • Morrie is eight years old and has just found out that his mother is dead; he attends the funeral and the burial.
  • He had thought that if he ignored the problem, she would get well again.
  • Morrie's father is a Russian immigrant and his family is very poor, so with his mom gone, Morrie and his brother David are sent to Connecticut to live in a communal home away from the dirty air of the city.
  • Soon after arriving in Connecticut, David gets polio, and when he recovers, he is left with a limp. Morrie feels responsible for this, since they had both been out playing in the rain the night before it happened.
  • He goes to synagogue and asks God to take care of his mother and brother. He also waits for his stoic father to show him love and attention, but this doesn't happen.
  • His father remarries and Morrie loves his new stepmother. Eva talks to him kindly and treats him just like a mother would.
  • The new family moves into a tiny place in the Bronx and, since it's the Great Depression, they are poorer than ever.
  • Eva teaches Morrie how to love and care for others; she also insists on his good grades in school.
  • Still, Morrie struggles with the fact that his mother is dead and his father refuses to mention her in the house. The poor kid kind of feels like she never existed.
  • When he's a teenager, Morrie's dad takes him to work in a fur factory. Morrie absolutely hates the place and is grateful when the boss says that there's no work for him.
  • He promises himself at this point that he will not work anywhere that makes money off of "the sweat of others" (11.31).
  • So he becomes a teacher.