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ASSIGNMENT:1

THE LAST LEAF


(O' HENRY)
CHARACTER ANALYSIS.
THEMES.
SYMBOLS.

submitted BY:
FATIMA SHAHID
SEMESTER:
6TH- B
SUBMITTED TO:
MS MaiMooNA.
Character Analysis

Johnsy:
Johny is one of the main characters of the story who is famous as Joanna. She was an artist. She
came from California. She has a round and dynamic character. She was a hopeless and wicked
character waiting for death as she was suffering from pneumonia. She was pessimist. She wanted
to earn a name in the world of art. She had a wish to paint the Bay of Naples but the disease
caught her. She believed that she will die with the last ivy leaf falls down.

Sudie:
Sudie is another main character also known as Sue. She came from Maine. She is a struggling
artist came with a wish to earn a name in the world of art. She had a round and static character
and is optimistic in nature. Johnsy and Sudie shares studio. She is hopeful about Johnsy recovery
and tries her level best to bring her friend back towards life. She is a loving and caring friend.
She provides mental strength to Johnsy and takes care of her.

Mr. Behrman:
Mr. Behrman was a sixty year old frustrated man. He had a curling beard like Michael Angelo's
Mosses. He is presumed as Scottish due to his accent. He had a wish to paint a masterpiece but
never tried one. He earns his living by serving as a model to those young artist who cannot afford
a professional. He was soft from inside but a hard nut to crack. He cares for both the girls. He
paints a ivy leaf to give hope to Johnsy and it worked. At the end he succeeds to paint a great
masterpiece, the last leaf. In trying to save life of Johnsy he loses his own life.

Themes
Following are the themes in "The Last Leaf"

Compassion.
Power of hope.
Death.
Sacrifice.
Friendship.
Art.

Compassion:
Theme of compassion is quite prominent in the story. Every character understands the suffering
of Johnsy and tries to do something about it. They had deep awareness and sympathy for her
suffering. The doctor calls Sue out of his busy schedule to guide her about Johnsy recovery. Sue
works hard and takes care of her friend. She tried her level best to bring her back towards life.
Mr. Behrman paints the last ivy leaf to give her hope. His compassionate step of painting the leaf
saves Johnsy's life.

Power of hope:
This is the main theme of the story. The hope that the last leaf gave Johnsy saved her life. When
Johnsy was hopeless she was moving towards the death. But when the last leaf survived the
storm, she became hopeful which gave her will and strength to live and fight against the disease.
And at the end she won. The doctor also said that if she loses hope, medicines will not be
effective either. So, hope is the powerful weapon to win any race of life. Mr. Behrman wanted to
paint a masterpiece. Although he never started but was hopeful and at the end he succeeded to
paint the masterpiece, The last leaf".

Death and dying:


The theme of death is depicted in the title, "The Last Leaf". Johnsy who was suffering from
pneumonia and had one out of ten chances of survival, survived while on the other hand Mr.
Behrman died after two days of the attack of the disease. This shows we should fight till the end.

Sacrifice:
Sacrifice is another prominent theme in the story. O' Henry throws light on the sacrificial nature
of human beings. Mr. Behrman who sacrificed his life to give hope to the Johnsy had no blood
relation with her. He lives beneath their apartment. He painted the last leaf in the heavy storm to
give her hope. He risked his life to give Johnsy life. He catches the pneumonia due to heavy
storm and dies.

Friendship:
Friendship is another theme. Sue and Johnsy were friends and cared for each other. During
Johnsy's illness Sue worked hard and took care of her friend. She cooks broth for her and takes
care of her in every possible way. The two shared a strong bond. She helped her to be optimist
about life.

Art:
The whole story revolves around the masterpiece of art "The Last Leaf". Johnsy and Sue walked
in this colony to make their name in the world of art. Mr. Behrman wanted to make a
masterpiece which he succeeded to make at the end. His masterpiece of art gave hope to Johnsy
and brought her back towards life. The art gave power to Johnsy to sustain her life.
Symbols

Leaf:
The leaf symbolizes death as well as hope of life. The falling leaves were a symbol of despair.
Johnsy thought that she is moving towards the death with the falling leaves. She thinks ivy
leaves stands for her life. The leaf which was the symbol of despair turned into symbol of hope
when she saw the last leaf which survived the storm. This last leaf empowers the Johnsy to fight
against death.

Winter:
Winter symbolizes the end and death. This is a cold weather and trees shed their leaves off.
Winter in this story depicts the death. Pneumonia followed the winter which was followed by the
death. Johnsy was suffering of pneumonia. Mr. Behrman died of pneumonia. He was painting
the last leaf in the stormy, winter night which became the reason of his death.