Analysis of the Last Leaf, by O’ Henry

930 words 4 pages
The short story “The Last Leaf” portraits two young women named Sue and Johnsy living together in New York. Pneumonia has hit the area they are living in and Johnsy, not being used to the climate - as she is from California, is suffering from the disease. Sue takes on the role as the caretaker of Johnsy. Because Johnsy is terminally ill, she is therefore in need of medical help.
The unnamed doctor, who is called in to Johnsys aid, is portrayed as a presumptuous and nonchalant man. He seems presumptuous by stating that he could increase Johnsys survival-prognosis if Sue got her “to ask one question about the new winter styles in cloak sleeves”; implying that by being a woman you automatically have an interest in fashion. The fact that he
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Because, by leaving her life in the hands of something besides herself, Johnsy might - instead of losing hope - be seeking relief from responsibility for her own fate. This countdown might not be intended to be analyzed as a last hope. If it is however, this could mean that O’Henry is trying to tell his readers that as long as there is some hope (and inspiration) left, there will still be time to change an outcome. The story is told from a third person perspective.
Sue cries when she is introduced to the news about Johnsys condition in the beginning of the short-story, but this is also her only break-down. The girl recovers quickly, and she represents the moral support and the firm rock for Johnsy through the rest of the tale. Sue characterizes care, love, belief, authority and also strength through her continued nurture and encouragement of Johnsy.
O’Henry made an interesting remark about “Mr. Pneumonia”, in the beginning of the story, which I think could be an attempt to portray a classic theme, repeated in countless stories; martyrdom. An innocent life is being claimed by the villain, and then the hero comes sweeping in to save the day by taking on the scoundrel, thus sacrificing himself. The way the author defines Mr. Pneumonia as a villain, he also describes how the hero will, or should, be.
“Mr. Pneumonia was not what

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