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The Last Leaf


The Last Leaf - Summary

"The Last Leaf" by O. Henry is a touching story set in Greenwich Village, focusing on hope, friendship, and the ultimate sacrifice. It narrates the tale of Sue and Johnsy, two young artists, and their elderly neighbor Behrman. As Johnsy battles pneumonia and loses her will to live, fixating on the falling leaves of an ivy vine as a morbid countdown to her demise, Behrman performs a selfless act. He paints a realistic leaf on the wall, giving Johnsy hope and the strength to fight her illness. Unfortunately, Behrman succumbs to pneumonia after his exposure to the cold. His final act, however, serves as his masterpiece, inspiring Johnsy to recover and highlighting the themes of sacrifice and the transformative power of belief and friendship.


"The Last Leaf" is a poignant narrative that explores themes of hope, friendship, and sacrifice through the lives of two young artists, Sue and Johnsy, living in Greenwich Village. As Johnsy falls critically ill with pneumonia, she becomes obsessed with the ivy vine outside their window, believing her fate is linked to the leaves. Convinced she will die when the last leaf falls, her hope wanes with each dropping leaf. Enter Behrman, their elderly neighbor, a once aspiring artist who never achieved his dream of creating a masterpiece. Moved by Johnsy's despair, Behrman braves a cold, stormy night to paint a single, lifelike leaf on the wall visible from Johnsy's window. This act of selflessness rekindles Johnsy's will to live, as she perceives the enduring leaf as a sign of her survival against all odds. Tragically, Behrman's exposure to the harsh elements while painting the leaf costs him his life, succumbing to pneumonia himself. His final act becomes his masterpiece, a testament to the power of hope and the profound impact of sacrifice.

##Conclusion Through "The Last Leaf," O. Henry delivers a timeless message on the resilience of the human spirit, inspired by acts of kindness and self-sacrifice. It's a story that celebrates life, art, and the indomitable will to live, making it a masterpiece in its own right.