The Last Leaf Summary and Important Questions for class 9th

The Last Leaf Summary and Important Questions for class 9th

The Last Leaf by O Henry is a brilliantly written short story exploring the themes of sacrifice, hope, and the transformational potential of art. Written by the well-known American novelist William Sydney Porter, writing under the pen name O. Henry, the story takes place in the small artistic neighborhood of Greenwich Village, New York, amid a bohemian environment. The narrative spins a tale of resiliency, camaraderie, and the lasting effects of unselfish deeds against the backdrop of a fatal illness and the shadow of impending death.

The Last Leaf Summary and Important Questions

The Last Leaf Summary

"The Last Leaf" is a moving short story by William Sydney Porter, aka O. Henry. The story takes place against the backdrop of a small artistic community in Greenwich Village, New York. The narrative examines themes of sacrifice, hope, and the resilience of creativity in the face of hardship.

The Last Leaf Summary and Important Questions-Three main characters are at the center of the story: Behrman, an elderly painter who lives in the same building as Johnsy, an ambitious young artist, and Sue, a loyal friend and fellow artist. The story starts with Johnsy having a severe case of pneumonia. She declares that she will pass away when the last leaf on the vine outside her window falls because she is certain she won't be able to recover.

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As Johnsy's health deteriorates, Sue is deeply concerned for her friend's well-being. To distract Johnsy from her grim thoughts, Sue engages her in various activities. Despite Sue's efforts, Johnsy remains fixated on the vine and the falling leaves, viewing each leaf as a countdown to her own demise.

The Last Leaf Summary and Important Questions-The narrative introduces Behrman, an eccentric artist with a gruff exterior but a kind heart. He is known for never having achieved success in his own artistic pursuits. Behrman, however, cares deeply for Sue and Johnsy. When he learns about Johnsy's conviction that she will die with the falling of the last leaf, he becomes determined to save her.

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One night, in the midst of a severe storm, Behrman braves the weather to create a masterpiece: a painting of a leaf clinging to the vine outside Johnsy's window. Despite falling ill himself due to the cold and wet conditions, Behrman completes the painting just before succumbing to pneumonia.

The Last Leaf Summary and Important Questions-The twist in the story comes when Sue reveals to Johnsy the truth about the last leaf. She explains that Behrman sacrificed himself to give Johnsy hope and to save her life. The realization of Behrman's selfless act profoundly impacts Johnsy, transforming her perspective on life.

The Last Leaf Summary and Important Questions

The narrative concludes with Johnsy recovering from her illness, and the last leaf remaining steadfast on the vine. The story, while tinged with sorrow, ultimately carries a message of the enduring power of hope, the selflessness of friendship, and the ability of art to inspire and uplift even in the face of adversity.

O. Henry's "The Last Leaf" is celebrated for its emotional depth, thematic richness, and the unexpected twist that elevates it beyond a simple tale of illness and recovery. The characters, particularly Behrman, embody the themes of sacrifice and the indomitable spirit of the human soul. The story's exploration of art as a source of inspiration and the role of hope in overcoming challenges continues to resonate with readers across generations.

Characters in  The Last Leaf

1. Johnsy:

Role: Protagonist

Personality: Initially pessimistic, later transformed

Johnsy is an aspiring young artist who falls seriously ill with pneumonia. Her character serves as the catalyst for the unfolding events in the story. Convinced that she will not recover, Johnsy fixates on the falling leaves of a vine outside her window, seeing them as an omen of her impending death. As the narrative progresses, Johnsy undergoes a significant transformation in response to the selfless acts of her friends.

2. Sue:

Role: Johnsy's friend and fellow artist

Personality: Devoted, caring

Sue is Johnsy's close friend and roommate. She plays a central role in the story, attempting to distract Johnsy from her morbid thoughts and providing emotional support. Sue's character embodies the themes of friendship and loyalty. She also becomes the bearer of the story's crucial revelation about the last leaf and Behrman's sacrifice.

3. Behrman:

Role: Elderly artist, neighbor

Personality: Gruff, eccentric, selfless

Behrman is an aging painter living in the same building as Johnsy and Sue. Despite his lack of success as an artist, Behrman cares deeply for the two young women. His character takes a surprising turn when he learns of Johnsy's belief about the last leaf and decides to sacrifice himself to give her hope. Behrman's selflessness becomes a key element of the story's resolution.

The Last Leaf  Important Questions and Answers

1.Who were Sue and Johnsy? Where did they live?

Sue and Johnsy were young artist friends who were struggling to establish themselves in the world of art. Both lived in a small flat which was on the third floor of an old house. They shared this place.

2. Why did Sue become worried when Johnsy fell ill?

Sue became worried because Johnsy would lie in her bed without moving, just gazing out of the window. Johnsy had pneumonia and it seemed curable but her condition indicated otherwise.

3. Why was Johnsy’s condition worrisome according to the doctor?

According to the doctor, Johnsy’s condition was worrisome because she did not show any signs of improvement despite good treatment. He thought that perhaps she had lost her will to live and no medicine could help her in this negative state of mind.

4. What is Behrman’s masterpiece? What makes Sue say so?    

Behrman was a 60-year old artist who had a dream to paint a masterpiece. His painting of an ivy leaf was his masterpiece which saved the life of Johnsy. It was such a painting and it was not easy to make out whether the leaf was real or a painted leaf. When Behrman died because of creating this life-saving painting in the cold weather, Sue called it a masterpiece.


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