O'Henry the Last Leaf

Topics: Guy de Maupassant, Short story, Metaphor Pages: 3 (1019 words) Published: January 10, 2011
The stylistic analysis of “The Last Leaf” by O’Henry
The text under stylistic analysis is the short story “The Last Leaf” by O’Henry. William Sydney Porter was born on 11-th of September in 1862 in North Carolina. His mother died when he was three year old. Porter worked at drug store of his uncle. Then he went to Texas and tried many professions. For example rancher, bank teller, journalist, founding a comic weekly magazine The Rolling Stone. Then was employed by the Houston Post to write a humorous daily column. When Porter alleged from bank he was arrested and spent 3 years in federal penitentiary in Columbus, Ohio. Here Porter started to write short stories under pseudonym O’Henry. In all, Henry wrote 270 stories, and they consist of a rich mixture of semi-realism, sentiment and surprise endings. He is frequently thought of as a “funny” writer. His masterpieces reflect the atmosphere of the early twentieth century, of how life was lived at a time when slavery and the Indian Wars were only a generation or so in the past. O’Henry was interested in social problems and revealed his negative attitude to the bourgeois society. O’Henry’s heroes are various: cowboys, writers, artists, milliners, clerks, politicians. He doesn’t show psychological side of character’s action, so it reinforces unexpectedness of the end. After his death, O’Henry Memorial Awards were established to be given annually for the best magazine stories. The plot revolves around two artist girls – Sue and Johnsy - who live together in quaint old Greenwich Village. They have “common tastes in art, chicory salad and bishop sleeves”. Everything is going well till Johnsy fell ill with pneumonia. She lay all day on her bed awaiting her death, looking out of the window hopelessly. The doctor put her chances at one-in-ten. Johnsy had her eyes on an old ivy-vine, losing leaves. Johnsy believe she would die when the last leaf fell. On the ground floor of Sue’s studio lived old Behrman, who wanted create...
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