Resources to Analyze “The Last Leaf” Short Story


The Last Leaf is a short story by O. Henry. Set in Greenwich Village, it depicts characters and themes typical of O. Henry’s works.

William Sydney Porter (September 11, 1862 – June 5, 1910), better known by his pen name O. Henry, was an American short story writer.

His stories are known for their surprise endings. O. Henry’s stories were considerably more playful, and are also known for their witty narration.

Most of O. Henry’s stories are set in his own time, the early 20th century. Many take place in New York City and deal for the most part with ordinary people: policemen, waitresses, etc

Among his most famous stories are:

  • The Gift of the Magi
  • The Ransom of Red Chief
  • The Cop and the Anthem
  • A Retrieved Reformation
  • The Duplicity of Hargraves
  • The Caballero’s Way

The Last Leaf: Video and PDF

This is a video about the last leaf

YouTube video

If you want to read the Last Leaf short story, you can try any of the following links

The Last Leaf: Plot

Johnsy has fallen ill and is dying of pneumonia. She watches the leaves fall from a vine outside the window of her room, and decides that when the last leaf drops, she too will die. While Sue tries to tell her to stop thinking like that, Johnsy is determined to die when the last leaf falls.

The Last Leaf Characters

This is a description of the main character of the Last Leaf short story

Joanna, a young artist from California. She lives with Sue in a studio apartment in Greenwich Village and has long dreamed of visiting Italy to paint the Bay of Naples. She falls seriously ill with pneumonia.

Sue, a young artist from Maine. She is very close to Johnsy, cooking for her, caring for her, and financially supporting her in her illness.

Behrman, An old and somewhat cantankerous artist who lives downstairs from Sue and Johnsy. He has been painting for four decades without any commercial success.

The Last Leaf Quiz

This is a collection of questions about the Last Leaf Short Story

#1 Where did the story take place?

  1. In the famous Bay of Naples, Italy
  2. In a little district west of Washington Square
  3. In the brick building in the outskirts of town

#2 Who is Johnsy’s relative?

  1. Behrman
  2. Angelou
  3. Sue

#3 What is the occupation of the Sue?

  1. Writer
  2. Painter
  3. Web designer

#4 What is Johnsy’s true name?

  1. Johann
  2. Johanna
  3. Joanna

#5 What is Johnsy’s health problem?

  1. Psoriasis
  2. Tuberculosis
  3. Pneumonia

#6 When did Johnsy get sick?

  1. May
  2. August
  3. November

#7 According to the doctor, what is Johnsy’s chance of surviving?

  1. Ten to one
  2. One in ten
  3. Fifty fifty

#8 What is Johnsy’s dream?

  1. To bake Belgian waffles someday
  2. To paint the Bay of Naples someday
  3. To go to the Bay o Naples someday

#9 What is Sue sketching when she heard sounds from Johnsy’s room?

  1. A Texan cowboy
  2. An Idaho cowboy
  3. A barbarian

#10 Where is Johnsy looking when Sue entered the room?

  1. Door
  2. Ceiling
  3. Window

#11 What is Johnsy counting when Sue saw her?

  1. Growing Ivy leaves
  2. Falling Ivy leaves
  3. Paintings

#12 What did Johnsy say regarding the leaves?

  1. She will go away when the last leaf falls.
  2. She will pass away when the last leaf falls.
  3. She will be healthy again when the last leaf falls.

#13 Sue needed a model for what character?

  1. Old Barbarian
  2. Old Hermit Miner
  3. Old Intelligent Man

#14 Who posed as a model for Sue?

  1. Brihann
  2. Behrman
  3. Bermaine

#15 What is Mr. Behrman’s work?

  1. Painting
  2. Writing
  3. Modeling

#16 What did Mr. Behrman always say regarding his work?

  1. He will paint the Bay of Naples someday.
  2. He will soon do his masterpiece.
  3. He will soon write a novel filled with literary devices.

#17 What happened when Johnsy asked to see the vine the next morning?

  1. All the leaves were gone.
  2. New leaves are starting to grow on the vine.
  3. There is a leaf left on the vine.

#18 Who painted the leaf on the brick wall?

  1. Sue
  2. Johnsy
  3. Behrman

#19 What did Johnsy feel after seeing the last leaf stay longer?

  1. She felt motivated.
  2. She wanted to die.
  3. She wished to go outside and pick it.

#20 Why did Mr. Behrman die?

  1. He climbed the wall and fell.
  2. He painted the leaf and died because of the cold.
  3. He underwent chemotherapy but failed to survive cancer.

Comprehension Questions: Last Leaf

These are some reading comprehension questions about the Last Leaf Short Story

  1. Why did artists want to settle in Greenwich Village?
  2. How did Sue and Johnsy become room mates?
  3. Give a description of Mr. Pneumonia.
  4. What did the doctor recommend for Johnsy to recover?
  5. How does the doctor demonstrate his low regard for painting?
  6. What did Johnsy count and why did she do it?
  7. How does Sue try to persuade Johnsy to stop thinking that she was going to die?
  8. Who is Mr. Behrman and why does Sue see him?
  9. Why does Johnsy command Sue to open the green shades? Why are they both taken by surprise?
  10. What caused Mr. Behrman’s death?

More Information about Literature

These are some posts that you might find interesting

  1. A Guide to Renaissance Literature
  2. Types of Conflict in Literature
  3. Point of View in Literature: Guide & Examples
  4. Introduction to Literature: The Monkey’s Paw
  5. A Guide to Modernism in Literature
  6. A Guide to the Beat Generation in Literature
  7. A Guide to Naturalism in Literature
  8. A Guide to Existentialism in Literature
  9. A Guide to Transcendentalism in Literature
  10. A Guide to the Victorian Period Literature
Jose Manuel Campos N - English Professor

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I am Jose Manuel, English professor and creator of, a blog whose mission is to share lessons for those who want to learn and improve their English