The Last Leaf
The Gift of the Magi & other stories
A masterpiece is the greatest piece of art an artist creates. The Mona Lisa, for example, is Leonardo da Vinci's masterpiece. It is simple and beautiful and the painting shows great technique and use of color.

There are 3 painters in this story. What are their names?



Mr __________N

Another main character is Mr Pneumonia, though he doesn't sound much like a painter. How would you describe Mr Pneumonia?

If you have already read the Last Leaf try to remember the ending of the story. If you have not read the story yet, this would be good time to read it before trying this exercise.

Ten Lines from The Last Leaf

Here are ten lines from the end of the story. Put them into the correct order to find out how Mr Behrman created his masterpiece. Try to do this without looking at the book.

a) There was a light he had taken outside.

b) Mr Behrman died of pneumonia today in the hospital.

c) There was green and yellow paint.

d) He was helpless with pain.

e) He painted his great masterpiece before the last leaf fell.

f) And they found some things.

g) The night had been so cold and wild.

h) Someone found him in his room.

i) There were materials for painting.

j) His clothes were as wet and cold as ice.

The O' Henry Twist
O' Henry is famous for surprise endings or "twists" in his stories. In The Last Leaf, Johnsy seems to be dying of pneumonia when the story begins, but it is Mr Behrman who dies in the end, while Johnsy survives.

Now we know how Mr Behrman died, think of these other points and discuss them with a friend:

What did Mr. Behrman paint before he died? Try to describe his masterpiece.

What did Mr. Behrman's painting do for Johnsy to help her survive? What feeling did it give her?

Why does Sue call "The Last Leaf" Behrman's masterpiece?

••• contents ••• Title Page ••• synopsis ••• pre-story ••• in-story ••• exercises ••• follow-up •••