By Ruchika Gupta
The Last Leaf- CBSE Class 9 English Moments Lesson 7 Explanation Notes
The Last Leaf Class 9 English Moments Lesson – Detailed explanation Notes of the lesson along with meanings of the difficult words Also, the explanation is followed by a Summary of the lesson. All the exercises and Question and Answers given at the back of the lesson have been covered.
CBSE Class 9 Moments Lesson 7 – The Last Leaf
By O Henry
Introduction to the Lesson
The last leaf is a touching story of how a painter inspires a girl to live and in the process, loses his life.
Lesson and Explanation
SUE and Johnsy, two young artists, shared a small flat. The flat was on the third storey of an old house.
Two girls by the names of Sue and Johnsy lived together in a small flat. They were artists. The flat was on the third floor of an old house.
Johnsy fell very seriously ill in November. She had pneumonia. She would lie in her bed without moving, just gazing out of the window. Sue, her friend, became very worried. She sent for the doctor. Although he came every day there was no change in Johnsy’s condition.
Pneumonia: a disease caused due to the infection of the lungs
In the month of November Johnsy was struck by pneumonia. She remained in bed and would look out of the window. Sue was worried about Johnsy and called the doctor. The doctor visited them daily but there was no improvement in Johnsy’s health.
One day the doctor took Sue aside and asked her, ”Is anything worrying Johnsy?”
The doctor secretly asked Sue if something was the matter with Johnsy.
“No,” replied Sue. “But why do you ask?”
Sue replied that there was nothing to worry and asked why did the doctor think so.
The doctor said “Johnsy, it seems, has made up her mind that she is not going to get well. If she doesn’t want to live, medicines will not help her.”
The doctor said that it seemed that Johnsy had decided not to live and did not want to recover from the illness. In such a case, medicicnes would not work on her.
Sue tried her best to make Johnsy take an interest in things around her. She talked about clothes and fashions, but Johnsy did not respond. Johnsy continued to lie still on her bed. Sue brought her drawing-board into Johnsy’s room and started painting. To take Johnsy’s mind off her illness, she whistled while working.
Sue tried to liven up Johnsy. She discussed interesting things like clothes and fashion with her but Johnsy remained unaffected. She lay in bed. Sue sat beside her and started painting in order to create interest in her and take her mind off her illness. Sue would whistle at times to brighten up Johnsy.
Suddenly Sue heard Johnsy whisper something. She quickly rushed to the bed and heard Johnsy counting backwards. She was looking out of the window and was saying, “Twelve!” After sometime she whispered “eleven”, then “ten”, then “nine”, “eight”, “seven”. Sue anxiously looked out of the window. She saw an old ivy creeper climbing half-way up the brick wall opposite their window. In the strong wind outside, the creeper was shedding its leaves.
Sue heard that Johnsy was speaking softly. Johnsy was making a backward counting while looking out of the window. Sue was curious and looked outside. She saw an ivy creeper plant beside the window of the room. As strong winds were blowing, the leaves of the creeper were falling.
“What is it, dear?” Sue asked.
Sue asked her what the matter was.
“Six,” whispered Johnsy. “They are falling faster now. Three days ago there were almost a hundred leaves. There are only five left now.”
Johnsy said “six”. Then she said that the leaves were falling faster. She added that three days ago there were a lot of keaves on the ivy creeper – almost one hundred but now only five were left.
“It is autumn,” said Sue, “and the leaves will fall.”
Sue replied that it was autumn season and it was natural for the creeper to shed its leaves.
“When the last leaf falls, I will die,” said Johnsy with finality. “I have known this for the last three days.”
Johnsy said that she would die when the last leaf fell. She added that she had known this for the last three days.
“Oh, that’s nonsense,” replied Sue. “What have old ivy leaves to do with your getting well? The doctor is confident that you will get better.”
Sue replied that this did not make any sense. The leaves had nothing to do with her health. The doctor was sure that she would recover.
Johnsy did not say anything. Sue went and brought her a bowl of soup.
Johnsy remained quiet. Sue got a bowl of soup for Johnsy.
“I don’t want any soup,” said Johnsy. “I am not hungry… Now there are only four leaves left. I want to see the last one fall before it gets dark. Then I will sleep forever.”
Johnsy did not accept the soup. She was not hungry. Then she said that four leaves were remaning on the ivy plant. She wanted to see the last leaf fall before sunset and than she could die peacefully.
Sue sat on Johnsy’s bed, kissed her and said, “You are not going to die. I can’t draw the curtain for I need the light. I want to finish the painting and get some money for us. Please, my dear friend,” she begged Johnsy, “promise not to look out of the window while I paint.”
Sue tried to show affection towards Johnsy. She said that Johnsy would not die. She kept the curtain open because she needed the light to complete the painting. She would sell it to fetch money for them. Sue requested Johnsy not to look out of the window.
“All right,” said Johnsy. “Finish your painting soon for I want to see the last leaf fall. I’m tired of waiting. I have to die, so let me go away peacefully like one of those poor, tired leaves.”
Johnsy agreed and asked Sue to finish the painting so that she could be in time to see the last leaf fall off the ivy plant. She was tired of waiting to see it fall. She wanted to die and was tired just like the poor tired ivy leaves.
“Try to sleep,” said Sue. “I have to paint an old miner. I will call Behrman up to be my model.”
Sue asked her to try to get some sleep. As she had to paint an old miner, she would call upon their neighbour, Behrman to be a model for her.
Sue rushed down. Behrman lived on the ground floor.
Sue went downstairs to the ground floor of the house where Behrman lived.
He was a sixty-year-old painter. His lifelong dream was to paint a masterpiece but that had remained a dream. Sue poured out her worries to Behrman. She told him how Johnsy was convinced that she would die when the last leaf fell.
Behrman was a 60 year old painter. He aspired to paint a masterpiece. Sue discussed Johnsy’s condiition with him. She said that Johnsy was sure that she would die when the last leaf fell off the ivy plant.
“Is she stupid?” asked Behrman. “How can she be so foolish?”
Behrman commented that Johnsy was being silly.
“She is running a high temperature,”complained Sue. “She refuses to eat or drink and that worries me a lot.”
Sue said that Johnsy was suffering from high fever. She was not eating too. Sue was worried about her.
“I will come with you and see Johnsy,” Behrman said.
Behrman went to see Johnsy.
They tiptoed into the room. Johnsy was sleeping. Sue drew the curtains together and they went to the next room. She peeped out through the window. There was only one leaf on the creeper. It was raining heavily and an icy-cold wind was blowing. It seemed as though the leaf would fall any minute now. Behrman did not say a word. He went back to his room.
They entered the room quietly. Johnsy was asleep. Sue drew the curtains and they went to the adjoining room. Sue looked out of the window. There was only one leaf left on the creeper plant. There was heavy rain accompanied by strong, cold winds. The leaf was due to fall any moment. Behrman did not say anything and went back to his room.
Johnsy woke up next morning. In a feeble voice she asked Sue to draw the curtains. Sue was nervous. She drew back the curtains very reluctantly.
The next morning, Johnsy woke up and in a weak voice, asked Johnsy to open the curtains. Sue was worried and hesitantly drew them back.
“Oh!” Sue exclaimed as she looked at the vine creeper. “Look, there is still one leaf on the creeper. It looks quite green and healthy. In spite of the storm and the fierce winds, it didn’t fall.”
Sue was glad as she announced that there still was one leaf on the creeper. It appeared green and healthy. It hadn’t fallen despite the storm.
“I heard the wind last night,” said Johnsy. “I thought it would have fallen. It will surely fall today. Then I’ll die.”
Johnsy said that she had heard the winds the previous night. She had thought that the leaf would definitely fall. She added that it would fall that day for sure and then she would die too.
“You won’t die,” said Sue energetically. “You have to live for your friends. What would happen to me if you die?”
Sue said that Johnsy would not die. She had to live for her friends. She added that she would become lonely if Johsy died.
Johnsy smiled weakly and closed her eyes. After every hour or so she would look out of the window and find the leaf still there. It seemed to be clinging to the creeper.
Johnsy smiled and closed her eyes. She was weak. After almost every hour, she would look out if the leaf was still there or not. It seemed that the leaf was stuck to the creeper.
In the evening, there was another storm but the leaf did not fall. Johnsy lay for a long time looking at the leaf. Then she called out to Sue.
There was another storm that evening but the leaf did not fall. Johnsy kept on looking at it and then she called to Sue.
“I have been a bad girl. You have looked after me so lovingly and I have not cooperated with you. I have been depressed and gloomy. The last leaf has shown me how wicked I have been. I have realised that it is a sin to want to die.”
Johnsy said that she had been a bad girl. Sue looked after her while she did not cooperate and remained sad. The last leaf had made her realize her mistake. She said that the desire to die was a wrong one.
Sue hugged Johnsy. Then she gave her lots of hot soup and a mirror. Johnsy combed her hair and smiled brightly.
Sue was glad to see the change in Johnsy. She got soup for her, gave har a mirror to tidy her hair. Johnsy was happy and bright.
In the afternoon the doctor came. After examining his patient he told Sue, “Johnsy now has the will to live. I am confident she’ll recover soon. Now I must go downstairs and see Behrman. He is also suffering from pneumonia. But I am afraid, there is no hope for him.”
The doctor visited that afternoon and said that the desire to live was back in Johnsy. He was sure that she would recover. He went downstairs to check Behrman who was suffering from pneumonia and there was no hope that he would recover.
The next morning Sue came and sat on Johnsy’s bed. Taking Johnsy’s hand in hers she said, “I have something to tell you. Mr Behrman died of pneumonia this morning. He was ill for only two days. The first day the janitor found him on his bed. His clothes and shoes were wet and he was shivering. He had been out in that stormy night.”
Janitor: a person whose job is to look after a building
The next morning Sue sat beside Johnsy and told her that Behrman die that morning. He had been ill for the last two days. The caretaker of the building had found him in his bed. His clothes and shoes were wet and he was shivering. He had gone out at night during the storm.
Then they found a ladder and a lantern still lighted lying near his bed. There were also some brushes and green and yellow paints on the floor near the ladder. “Johnsy dear,” said Sue, “look out of the window. Look at that ivy leaf. Haven’t you wondered why it doesn’t flutter when the wind blows? That’s Behrman’s masterpiece. He painted it the night the last leaf fell.”
A ladder and a lantern were lying near his bed. Paint brushes, green and yellow coloured paint were also lying nearby. Sue asked Johnsy to look at the leaf. It did not flutter when the wind blew. It was the masterpiece that Behrman aspired to paint. When the last leaf fell at night, he painted this one.
Two friends Sue and Johnsy live together in a rented appartment. Johnsy contracts pneumonia and loses her desire to live. She announces that she would die when the last leaf fell off the ivy creeper that could be seen from the room’s window. When the last leaf falls off, their neighbour, Mr Behrman goes out in the storm to paint one. This gives hope to Johnsy. On the other hand, Mr Behrman contracts pneumonia and dies.
Question and Answers
1. What is Johnsy’s illness? What can cure her, the medicine or the willingness to live?
A. Johnsy’s illness is the lack of a deire to live. Her illness can be cured her desire to live.
2. Behrman has a dream. What is it? Does it come true?
A. Behrman had a dream of painting a masterpiece. It came true when he got a chance to paint a leaf.
3. What is Behrman’s masterpiece? What makes Sue say so?
A. The leaf painted by Behrman is his masterpiece. Sue said so because it looked as good as a real leaf. Also, it was a masterpiece because it brought back Johnsy’s desire to live.