Review of “The Last Leaf,” a Short Story by O. Henry
“Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.”
The short story “The Last Leaf” portrays a profound meaning in friendships. When I heard about this title, I thought of a particular climate where strong and wild winds do not stop blowing its full force energy to throw everything on its way. In this particular time, all creatures strive hard not to get carried away by such phenomenon.
There was a very interesting friendship explored in this story of “The Last Leaf” written by O. Henry. Speaking of friendship, I do love strong friendship between the same gender and between people with large age gap. I, myself have more friends older than me compared to friends within my age. My inclination to learn more in life push me to make friends with people older than me as I think that they are wiser and have more experiences.
The thing that occurred to me while I was reading “The Last Leaf” was just how extraordinary O. Henry’s writing style was. He used figurative language such as cold, unseen stranger for pneumonia and attributing human characteristic to it.
Going back to the story, pneumonia devastated New York City. Johnsy, the main character in the “Last Leaf” became a victim too. Having no hope left to get well from pneumonia, she closed his ears to whatever suggestion her friend Sue told to her. She prisoned herself with the belief that she would die even though the doctor opened up to her that there was still a chance to live if she would just change her way of thinking.
But Johnsy was stubborn, she envisaged that there was no more hope for her to get well. Her world fractured because of the epidemic illness. As all she was looking forward to is her impending death.
She could not take away her eyes from the falling leaves of the vine tree across the room where she was staying. She was engrossed counting the leaves and confirmed to herself that when the last leaf falls, she would too, give up on her life.
The obsession with the leaves troubled Sue and Mr. Behrman. With the dialogues between Sue and Mr. Behrman, their care and love for Johnsy could be reflected as incontrovertible. Unfortunately, Johnsy’s self-centeredness made her unaware of her friends’ love.
Speaking of another character, I adored Mr. Behrman, a man over sixty years old who played the most important role in the “Last Leaf.” When he was introduced in the story, readers will mistaken him as man of no importance. He kept on getting drunk and talking about his dream of making a masterpiece in the future, yet never really acted on it. But O. Henry did a twist in the story that absolutely blown me away. It was something that readers will never thought will happen at the end.
“The Last Leaf” made me realized the importance of the people around us, that each has a particular role perfectly designed by our Creator. Sue and Mr. Berhman certainly inspire me to hold on to my aspirations and have a positive mindset in life.
Certainly, Mr. Behrman was a paragon of what a true friend is when he gave his life to an almost dying friend. Mr. Behrman needed to draw a leaf on the wall to open the mind of Johnsy that she should not give up on her illness. It was a real masterpiece for when Johnsy saw that the leaf was still there, she thought it was a real leaf. That was the pivotal moment for Johnsy. The sight of the leaf still holding on made her realized how foolish she was of wishing to die. The last leaf regained her hope and gave her motivation to live.
What are your opinions about the characters? Let us know in the comments below.
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