THE LAST LEAF
By – 0. Henry
Behrman: Behrman is a 60-years-old painter. He lived on the ground floor of the house where Sue and Johnsy lived. He had a lifelong dream to paint a masterpiece. Sue told him about the condition of Johnsy. Johnsy felt that she would die, once the last leaf fell from the ivy creeper. Behrman thought of a plan to save Johnsy. He went out in the rainy and stormy night and painted a picture of a leaf on the ivy. Johnsy saw the leaf the next morning and got back her will to live. But Behrman died of pneumonia because he had been out all night in the cold. Thus Behrman made the supreme sacrifice of giving up his life for the sake of another person. He was a great soul. In this process, he achieved his ambition of painting a masterpiece.
Johnsy: Johnsy was a young artist who lived with her friend Sue. She fell ill very seriously and had pneumonia. She had the fancy idea that she would die once the last leaf on the ivy creeper, outside her window, would fall down. The leaves were falling down very fast as the weather was stormy. Only one leaf remained. She felt that the last leaf will fall in the night and she would die. But Behrman went out in the cold night and painted a leaf on the wall. Johnsy saw this leaf the next morning and got back her will to live. But her foolish attitudes lead to the death of Behrman. She was a weak-hearted woman.
Sue: Sue was a young artist who lived with Johnsy. She tried her best to feel Johnsy better and help in to get over her illness. But Johnsy would not listen to her. She was adamant. Sue sought the help of Behrman to solve the issue. Behrman solved the problem by painting a leaf on the wall. So we find that Sue is a true friend of Johnsy.
- ‘The Last Leaf is a story of supreme sacrifice by an old artist Behrman.
- Sue and Johnsy are two young artists. They share a small flat.
- Johnsy suffers from pneumonia. She links her illness with the leaves of ivy creepers.
- She has made up her mind that with the fall of the last leaf of the ivy creeper, she would also die.
- Her illness is made worse by these negative thoughts. Medicines have no effect on her illness.
- Sue, her best friend suggests to her that she should stop thinking negatively.
- One night, it rains heavily and there was a storm also. Johnsy thinks that the last leaf would fall anytime and she would also die with the fall of that leaf.
- Johnsy peeps through the window to make herself sure that whether the last leaf fell or not. To her surprise, she finds that the last leaf was still on the creeper when she woke up in the morning.
- Sue tells Johnsy that the last leaf is quite green and healthy. It has not fallen.
- Now Johnsy smiles and starts recovering her health soon.
- Finally, sue discloses the truth of the last leaf. The last leaf on the ivy creeper is Behrman’s Masterpiece. He painted it last night when the last leaf fell from the ivy. He died of pneumonia the next morning.