The Last Leaf
Johnsy has fallen ill and is dying of pneumonia. She watches the leaves fall from a vine outside the window of her room, and decides that when the last leaf drops, she too will die. In the night, a very bad storm comes and wind is howling and rain is splattering against the window. In the morning, Johnsy wants to see the vine, to be sure that all the leaves are gone, but to their surprise, there is still one leaf left.Johnsy believes that the leaf stayed there to show how wicked she was, and that she sinned in wanting to die. She regains her will to live, and makes a full recovery throughout the day. The doctor says that Mr. Behrman has come down with pneumonia and, as there is nothing to be done for him, he is being taken to the hospital to be made comfortable in his final hours. A janitor had found him helpless with pain, and his shoes and clothing were wet and icy cold. The janitor couldn't figure out where he had been on that stormy night, though she had found a lantern that was still lit, a ladder that had been moved, some scattered brushes, and a palette with green and yellow colors mixed on it.
The Last Leaf is a short story by O. Henry. Set in Greenwich Village, it depicts characters and themes typical of O. Henry's works.Johnsy has fallen ill and is dying of pneumonia. She watches the leaves fall from a vine outside the window of her room, and decides that when the last leaf drops, she too will die. To encourage her, Mr. Behrman painted the last leaf in the stormy night but he himself died of pneumonia.
“Tell me as soon as you have finished,” said Johnsy, closing her eyes, and lying white and still as fallen statue, “because I want to see the last one fall.I’m tired of waiting.I’m tired of thinking.I want to turn loose my hold on everything, and go sailing down, down, just like one of those poor, tired leaves.”
O. Henry's stories are gems of their kind; mellow, humorous, ironic, ingenious and shot through with that eminently salable quality known as 'human interest.'" —Bennet Cerf and Van Cartmell
- The Last Leaf