What Is the Theme of the Story “The Last Leaf?”

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The theme in the story “The Last Leaf” is one of friendship, pessimism and optimism and the power of hope. “The Last Leaf” was written by William Sydney Porter and published under his alias, O. Henry.

In “The Last Leaf” two artists, Sue and Johnsy, move into a building in the district west of Washington Square in Greenwich Village in New York City. One of their neighbors was an old artist named Behrman. Behrman desperately wanted to build a masterpiece. One day, Johnsy became sick with pneumonia and, as she lay in bed, she saw leaves begin to fall outside off of a vine. She said to Sue that when all the leaves fell, she would die and she believed it. She pinned all of her hope on the leaves. There was a terrible storm in the area and in the morning when Johnsy asked Sue to pull up the window curtain, the two saw that there was just one leaf left on the vine. Johnsy ended pulling through and recovering from pneumonia, but Behrman died just two days later. The doctor said that Behrman had died from pneumonia because he had climbed outside during the storm and painted the leaf so that Johnsy could keep hope.