Today, I would like to talk about the short story ” The Last Leaf” written by O. Henry in 1907.Let me come to the story.
In early 1900s, the New York city was hit by a pneumonia epidemic in which hundreds of people lost their lives. Two young girls who were friends, named Sue and Johnsy lived together in an apartment in Greenwich Village, New York.As days passed, Johnsy got sick and was on her bed dying of pneumonia.Sue was sad and was worried about Johnsy’s health.The doctor told Sue that Johnsy can’t be saved just by medicine, but by giving her the hope and will to live. Sue shared her thoughts and worries with her neighbors including Mr.Behrman, an old artist who lived in the same building who had very little success in his artistic life.
Through her window Johnsy could see an old vine (growing on a nearby wall), gradually shedding its leaves as autumn turns into winter, and she has taken the thought into her head that she will die when the last leaf falls. The leaves falled day by day, but the last lone leaf stayed on for several days. The ill Johnsy’s health quickly recovered as she gained some hope that she could recover and survive if the lonely leaf survived in the severe storm and snow outside.At the story’s end, we learn that the old artist, Behrman who always wanted to produce a masterpiece painting but had never had any success, spent considerable amount of time painting with great realism a leaf on the wall for the whole night and it became his magnum opus.Furthermore, the old artist himself died of pneumonia contracted while being out in the wet and cold.
In our lifes too, we might not become the so called successful or famous ones. But what is actual success?. Its undefinable. We might not have big acheivments or milestones under our belt. But we will never know that even our simplest acts can enlighten others, even the least expected ones. So keep on working hard and just enjoy what you do. Age and circumstances never matter. All that count is your attitude. We can spread love and hope through simple deeds and words and it cost us nothing. So do the right thing and move on and on. In the story, Behrman found the aim of his life at a very old age. Just like a candle which burns itself to provide light for others,he brought sick Johnsy back to life meanwhile lost his own life.The idea he leaves behind is priceless and sows seeds of humanity and love among all of us. Let us take his example and live a better life that not only benefit us but others too.