The Last Leaf

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The Last Leaf
To be perfect short story neatness, brevity and a significant incident or an aspect of character or an experience of some psychological moment is essential. Within its short frame work, it must have a beginning, middle and an end. There must be completeness in its structure. All the elements plot, character, dialogue, descriptions and background must be organically connected with other. Generally a good story has a surprising end which bears a sense of endlessness. All these characteristics of a good short story are fulfilled in the short story of O Henry’s The Last Leaf. It has an ironical twist at the end that is surprising and at the same time striking to the readers. Old Behrman’s bold self sacrifice for the young Johnsy comes unexpectedly to the readers, but none the less convincing and admirable.The story if farther a parable of christian story of Resurrection and sacrifice.

 The story begins in a leisurely manner with the sketchy background. The old Greenwich village in which painters come to set up their art studio has curious maze streets criss-crossing one another. A traveler loses the directions of the streets. This description of the streets has relevance to the story in which a strong and strange psychological morbidity is focused. The main theme is then introduced it has two characters – Sue and Johnsy. They met together suddenly at a hotel and found themselves sharing taste chicory salad, bishop sleeves and in painting. They become intimate friends and in a cheap rented house two friends Sue and Johnsy set up a common studio. The humours beginning arrest the attention of the readers and relive the tension that awaits them.

                After a serio-comic introduction comes the central situation. One day Johnsy is attacked with pneumonia. She becomes gradually weak in body and mind. She is possessed with death wish. There is an ivy vine on the yard near the Johnsy’s window. She looks at the window and counts the leaves...
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