This story is really beautiful and one of my favorite short story written by this author.
“The Last Leaf”, this story symbolize a lot of different aspects of life:hope, friendship, sacrifice , pessimism, optimism and death.
There were four characters, Johnsy, Sue, doctor, and old Behrman.
Johnsy was a pessimist, while Sue was an optimist. Old Behrman here in this story was a friend , who sacrificed. All three of them were artists.
Old Behrman had never painted a masterpiece, but he said that, one day he’ll paint a wonderful picture, a masterpiece.
And he did, he painted the last leaf on the vine, before he died, and saved a life of an ill friend, Johny, who binds herself with a fancy that she’ll die with the fall of last ivy leaf.
According to me in this particular story the leaf symbolize life, death and hope. The life of a tree can be guessed by looking at its leaves, also the last leaf in this story signifies hope of life for tree and as it falls it conveys death.
I love the twist and ironic circumstances in O. Henry’s stories and this short story was worth reading.
You can also read the story here, The Last Leaf by O. Henry
You can also watch this short film.