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THE LAST LEAF
By – 0. Henry
Important Long/ Detailed Answer Type Questions- to be answered in about 100 -150 words each
ESSAY TYPE QUESTIONS
Q1. What is Johnsy’s illness? What can cure her – the medicine or her willingness to live? (Textual)
What was the reason for Johnsy’s deteriorating health?
Ans: Johnsy suffered an attack of pneumonia in the cold winter month of November. Her illness made her so weak that she went into depression. She would lie still on her bed and keep gazing out of the window. The autumn added to her gloom when she saw the trees shedding leaves. She began to associate her death with the falling leaves and this negative thought deteriorated her health. When she gave up all hope on life, she refused to eat anything and medicines lost their effect. According to the doctor, her recovery depended on her willingness to live. In the absence of determination to get well soon even the medicines failed to affect positively.
Q2.Sue is a true and faithful friend. Comment.
What values of friendship are prominent in Sue’s character?
Ans: Sue displays the virtues of a true and faithful friend. She and Johnsy were young artist friends who shared a small flat. When Johnsy fell ill, Sue did not spare any effort to nurse her back to health. She exhibited the values of sincerity and commitment to her friend by calling the doctor who would visit them daily to review Johnsy’s condition. She tried to lift Johnsy’s spirits by talking cheerfully to her and thus exemplifying the value of unwavering support to a depressed friend.
She would sit beside Johnsy’s bed and paint so that she could earn for herself and Johnsy. She comforted Johnsy and dealt with her cranky behaviour very patiently. With her cheerful disposition and her optimism, she tried her best to reassure Johnsy that the old ivy leaves had nothing to do with her illness. Sensing the seriousness of Johnsy’s health and her state of mind, she at once sought Behrman’s help. Thus, Sue proves to be a compassionate human being and a true friend.
Q3. Do you think the feeling of depression Johnsy has is common among teenagers? (Textual)
Ans: Yes, the feeling of depression Johnsy has is common among teenagers. It is so because, like Johnsy, they too lack emotional maturity. They fail to understand that sorrows are as much a part of our lives as joys are. Certain situations in life are unpredictable as well as unavoidable. Teenagers become nervous while encountering such situations. They begin to gather negative thoughts and have a fear of failures. It becomes a vicious cycle and their weak health aggravates emotional instability. Pessimism begins to destroy their will-power.
Another problem is that like Johnsy, teenagers take a lot of time to get convinced They are difficult to counsel and try their loved one’s patience a lot. The absence of a healthy lifestyle pushes them further into negativity and depression becomes deep-rooted. Therefore, teenagers should inculcate positive values like optimism, strong will-power, and faith through meditation and regular exercise in order to enjoy the blessings of a sound mind in a robust body.
Q4. How did Behrman save Johnsy’s life?
Ans: Behrman saved Johnsy’s life by sacrificing himself at the altar of art. “The Last Leaf” is about his extreme sacrifice that infuses life in a young depressed woman. Johnsy’s illness was serious but could be cured if she had the will to live. Her falling health was more due to her state of depression than pneumonia. The sixty-year-old painter Behrman took upon himself the difficult responsibility of saving Johnsy. He made a single-handed effort to brave the icy winds and rain to reach the window by climbing a ladder and finally paint a fresh and green leaf that looked natural and real. The readiness with which he gave up his life shows art unparalleled commitment to talent. He painted the leaf with such passion that it revived the sinking breath of Johnsy. He thus saved Johnsy’s life by sacrificing his own.
Q5. Imagine Behrman survives the attack of pneumonia. His family takes him back to his native countryside in order to serve the old man and nurse him back to health. As Johnsy, write a letter to Behrman expressing your gratitude.
12-111 Floor Ivy Apartments
Dear Mr Behrman
Trust your health is improving with each day. Sue and I think of you all the time and miss you a lot. We have always looked up to you as a friendly neighbour and a kind gentleman artist. Words fail me when I express gratitude for the extraordinary help extended by you during our moments of crisis. Shivers run down my spine when I recall the time you risked your life to save a silly girl like me. You are a very brave person and a true artist. Your masterpiece reflects your passion and dedication and it has made me realise that my whims were utterly senseless.
Your life is an inspiration for young people like me. I have learnt from you that the worthiest thing is being alive. I promise that I shall never let pessimism overshadow me again. Sue and I wish you a speedy recovery and hope to see you soon. We expect to have you back here and wish that you may paint many more masterpieces.
With warm regards
Q.6.Describe briefly how Behrman saved Johnsy’s life.
`The Last Leaf’ is a story of supreme sacrifice by a wretched drunken artist. Comment
Who was Behrman? What was his masterpiece and why did he paint it?
Ans. Sue and Johnsy were two young girl-artists. They lived together in the artists’ colony. Once Johnsy caught pneumonia. She developed a fancy that she would die when the last leaf on the I y creeper fell. The doctor said that she should take interest in life and wish to live. Only then she could be saved Behrman was an old painter. He lived on the ground floor beneath them. He was a failure in art. For forty years he had been trying to paint a masterpiece, but he had not yet started h. He came to know of Johnsy’s fancy. The night the last leaf fell, he painted a leaf on the wall; He worked all night in the air and snow and painted the leaf. The next morning, Johnsy saw the leaf on the wall: Her will to live returned. Her life was saved. But Behrman caught pneumonia and died. Thus he sacrificed his life and sayedjohneg’s life. The last leaf painted on the wall was his masterpiece.
7. In “The Last Leaf” why did Sue cry bitterly when the doctor had gone? Later she walked into Johnsy’s room whistling a cheerful tune. Why?
What was Johnsy’s real ailment? What were the chances of her recovery?
Ans. Sue and Johnsy were two young girls. They were painters. They lived like sisters. The studio in an artists’ colony. One day, Johnsy had an attack of pneumonia. Her condition worsened. Shhaedloasitctihnet will live. One day, the doctor told Sue that Johnsy’s disease was psychological also. She did not want to live. In such a condition, no medicine could work. If she did not get back the will to live, her chances of recovery were only one out of ten. When Sue heard this she felt very sad. She cried bitterly as soon as the doctor had gone. But the next moment she entered Johnsy’s room, whistling. Sue did so because she wanted to cheer up Johnsy.
8. What did Johnsy believe about the falling leaves? Did Sue believe the same thing?
Ans. Sue and Johnsy were two young artist girls. They had a joint studio. They loved each other like sisters. One day, Johnsy caught pneumonia. There was an ivy creeper on the back wall of the next house. Johnsy could see it through her window. The leaves of this creeper were falling fast in the cold winds. Johnsy developed a fancy that she would also die when the last leaf of the creeper fell. She lost the will to live. Sue came to know of Johnsy’s fancy. She tried her best to cheer up Johnsy. She told her that there was no link between the falling of leaves and her death. She nursed Johnsy with love and care. She told Behrman about Johnsy’s fancy. Behrman was a painter. He painted a leaf on t he wall when the last leaf fell. This saved Johnsy’s life. Thus Sue played an important role in saving Johnsy’s life.
9. Write a brief character sketch of old Behrman.
Write a few sentences on the looks and personality of old Behrman.
Ans. Old Behrman was a painter. He was past sixty. But he was a failure in art. He earned very little through his paintings. He always said that he was going to paint a masterpiece. But for the last forty years, he had not even begun it. Behrman was a drunkard. His beard was long and curling. It gave him the look of an imp. He was a tough fellow. He hated weakness in a man. He lived on the ground floor beneath Sue and Johnsy. He considered himself their guardian. He was very kind and helpful at heart. When he came to know ofJohnsy’s fancy, he decided to help her. He went out in rain and snow and painted a leaf on the wall. It saved Johnsy’s life. But he caught pneumonia and died. Thus Behrman plays a very important role in the story. He sacrificed his life and saved Johnsy’s life.
10. Justify the title of the story ‘The Last Leaf ‘.
Show why the story is entitled ‘The Last Leaf’?
Ans. This is a psychological story. The whole story is based on the last leaf. Johnsy was a young artist girl. She and her friend Sue lived together. One day Johnny caught pneumonia. There was an ivy creeper on the back wall of the next house. From her window, Johnsy watched that creeper. Its leaves were falling fast in the cold winds. Johnsy got a fancy that she would also die when the last leaf of the creeper fell. She lost the will to live. Her condition became worse. Barman, an old painter came to know of this fancy of Johnsy. The next night, the last leaf fell. But the same night Hellman painted a leaf on the wall. It looked a real leaf. When Johnsy saw that leaf, her will to live returned. That painted leaf saved Johnsy’s life. Thus the leaf plays an important role in the story. So the title of the story ‘The Last Leaf’ is justified.
11. Draw a brief character-sketch of Sue.
Ans. She is an important character in the story ‘The Last Lear. She is an artist girl. She and Johnsy have a joint studio in the artists’ colony. She is kind and noble at heart. She has the qualities of a true friend. Johnsy gets an attack of pneumonia. Sue nurses her with love and care. She works day and night to earn enough money. With this mone,y she buys medicines and good diet for her friend. She feels shocked when the doctor says that Johnsy doesn’t have many chances of recovery. Johnsy has a fancy that she will die when the last leaf of the creeper falls. She tries her best to cheer her up. She says that her fancy is foolish and baseless. She tells ofJohnsy’s fancy of old Behrman. He paints the last leaf on the wall and saves Johnsy. Thus, Sue is a kind and noble girl. She is a true friend.
Q12. Behrman’s masterpiece helped Johnsy to survive. Explain how the last leaf influenced Johnsy?
Ans. The story reveals Behrman’s sacrifice. He was a poor old artist. He had a dream to paint a masterpiece. Once Johnsy fell ill and established a bond of her life with the ivy leaves. One day, Sue found her whispering this. Sue looked after Johnsy and she informed Behrman about her condition. It was a stormy night and there was a single leaf on the creeper. Behrman thought that the leaf would fall that stormy night. So he decided to paint the leaf on the wall. He painted the leaf so beautifully that it looked natural. But he got pneumonia that night and died two days after his painting. Hence, this story becomes the story of supreme sacrifice.
Q13. Johnsy felt her survival is related to the falling ivy leaves. Explain how blind beliefs can cause harm to us?
Ans. Johnsy was seriously ill with pneumonia. She was highly depressed and lay in bed looking vacantly out of the window. She would keep watching for hours the creeper up the opposite wall shedding its leaves. She would count the number of leaves left on the creeper. She was obsessed with a foolish superstition. She would die with the fall of the last leaf. The doctor said that she would not recover unless she had a wish to live. It seemed to the doctor that Johnsy had no willingness to live in the state of depression. In such a state, no medicine could save her life. So, the doctor advised Sue to try her best to take her friend out of that state.
Q14. Sue played a very important role in saving her friend Johnsy. Explain how she played the role of a trusted friend?
Ans. Sue and Johnsy were good friends. Both of them were artists. They loved each other and shared the same room. One day, Johnsy fell ill. She was suffering from pneumonia. She believed that she would die with the falling of the last leaf on the ivy creeper. Sue looked after her like a mother. She tried to instil in her a desire to live a happy life. She kept whistling in order to make her happy and break her calmness. When her condition started deteriorating she became anxious and informed Behrman about her condition. Behrman took it seriously. He painted the leaf on the wall to save her life. So, Sue succeeds in saving her life.
Q15. “A friend in need is a friend indeed”. Do you think the story “The Last Leaf” supports this statement?
Ans. A friend plays a very important role in one’s life. A true friend supports one in every step. A friend is a person who stands with you in happiness or crises. In the story,
‘’ The Last Leaf” when Johnsy was suffering from Pneumonia she was not getting well because she was the victim of negative feeling. She attached her life to the falling of leaves from a creeper outside the window. She had thought she would die the moment when the last leaf of the creeper falls. Sue tried her best to cheer her up when she learnt Johnsy’s foolish belief. She shared her concern with Behrman. Behrman went out on a rainy night and painted a leaf on the ivy, which looked like a real leaf. Sue helped Johnsy to recover. She gave her a lot of courage. In reality, she was a kind girl and a friend indeed.
Q16. “You have to live for your friends.” How far do you agree with this advice given by Sue to her friend Johnsy?
Ans. The doctor said that she would not recover unless she had a wish to live. It seemed to the doctor that Johnsy had no willingness to live in the state of depression. In such a state, no medicine could save her life. So, the doctor advised Sue to try her best to take her friend out of that state. Behrman had a dream to paint a masterpiece in his life. He kept waiting for the opportunity to give it a practical shape. Yes, he could materialize his dream when he painted the last leaf of the ivy creeper.
Q17. What is the need to maintain a positive attitude in life? Comment with reference to Johnsy’s attitude to life?
Ans. Johnsy was a young girl and lived with one of her friends. They were artists. She was suffering from pneumonia. Her friend Sue looked after her. She loved her very much. The doctor kept visiting Johnsy and had a regular check-up. But there was no improvement in her condition. Her condition went from bad to worse. Both the doctor and Sue were worried. Later on, it was found that she was depressed. In that state of mind, she lost her interest in everything. She kept lying calm gazing through the window. She did not like to live and suffered from the misconception that she would die with the last leaf of the creeper. They tried to convince her, but in vain. She had lost her will to live. In this mental condition, only God could save her.
Q18.The story ‘The Last Leaf is a story of supreme sacrifice by an old artist. Do you agree?
Ans. Firm determination and strong will power are the tools of success in life. A person who has a firm determination and strong will power can never feel depressed on small losses in life and God blesses such a person with success. In the story, The Last Leaf, it is the determination and strong will power that helps a patient Johnsy to recover fast. Johnsy who felt dejected and depressed had lost the will to live. Medicine was ineffective. She thought that she would die with the fall of the last leaf on the ivy. But Behrman and Sue brought her out of this fanciful idea and convinced her that there was no relationship between her life and the falling of a leaf. Gradually, with the efforts of Sue and Behrman she regained will power and thus her willingness to live saved her.