A Short Story The Last Leaf by O. Henry – Sebuah cerita pendek (short story) tentang the last leaf / daun terakhir yang dikarang oleh O. Henry. Semoga cerita ini menjadi pengetahuan dari sebuah cerita.
Many artists lived in Greenwich Village in New York City. Sue and Johnsy, two artists, also lived there in a studio apartment. Their rooms were at the top of old building in Greenwich Village.
In November, it was very cold and with it a cold unseen stranger, whom the doctors called Phenumonia, stalked the city, tocuhing one here and there with his icy fingers. The icy finger of Phenumonia also touched Johnsy. She was very ill, lying in her bed and not moving at all. A doctor visited her every day but Johnsy was not getting better. One morning, the doctor spoke to Sue outside johnsy’s room.
“I can’t help her,” the doctor said. “She is very sad and has no desire to live. Someone must make her happy again. What is she interested in?” “Painting!” said the doctor. “That won’t help her!”
Sue was distressed by this news and didn’t know what to do to help Johnsy. She went into in the workroom and cried and then she swaggered into Johnsy’s room with her drawing board, whistling ragtime. Johnsy lay silently in her bed with her face towards the window. Sue stopped whistling, thinking Johnsy was asleep.
Sue arrange her board and began drawing to illustrate a magazine story. As Sue was sketching a figure of a hero, an Idaho cowboy, she heard a low sound, several times repeated. She went quickly to the bedside.
Johnsy’s eyes were open wide. She was looking out the window and counting-counting backwards.
“Twelve,” she said, and little later “eleven”; and then “ten,’ and “nine”; and then “eight” and “seven”, almost together.
Sue looked out of the window wondering what was there to count. There was only a bare, dreary yard to be seen, and the blank side of the brick house twenty feet away. An old, old ivy vine, gnarled and decayed at the roots, climbed half way up the brick wall. The cold breath of autumn has stricken its leaves from the vine until its skeleton branchesclung, almost barem to the crumbling bricks.
“What is it, dear?” asked Sue.
“Six,” said johnsy, in almost a whisper. ” They’re falling faster now. three days ago there were almost a hundred. My head ached when I was counting them but now it’s easy. There goes another one. There are only five left now.
“Five what, dear/ tell me.”
“Leaves on the ivy vine. When the last one dalls I must go, too, I’ve known that for three days. Didn’t the doctor tell you?”
“Oh, i never heard of such nonsense,” complained Sue, with magnificent scorn. “What have old ivy leaves to do with your getting well? Try to sleep,” said Sue. “I must call Behrman up to be my model for the old hermit miner. I’ll not be gone a minute. Don’t cry to move till come back.”
Old Behrman was a painter who lived on the ground floor of the same building. He was sizty years old and had always dreamed of painting a masterpiece, but unfortunately till now he was not able to fulfill his dream. Sue found Behrman in his dimly lighted apartment sitting in his chair. She told him of Johnsy’s condition. Old Behrman, with his red eyes plainly streaming, shouted his contempt and derision for such idiotic imaginings.
Johnsy was sleeping when they went upstairs. Sue pulled the shade down to the windowsill, and motioned Behrman into the other room. in ther they peered out the window fearfully at the ivy vine. Then they looked at each other for a moment without speaking. A persistent, cold rain was falling, mingled with snow. When Sue awoke from an hour’s sleep the next morning, she found Johnsy with dull, wide-open eyes staring at the drawn greens shade.
“Pull it up; I want to see,” she ordered, in whisper. Wearily Sue obeyed. “It is the last one,” said Johnsy. It will fall today, and I shall die at the same time.” “Dear, dear!” said Sue, leaning her worn face down to the pillow, “think of me, id you won’t think of yourself. What would I do? But Johnsy did not answer.
The leaf stayed on the vine all day. That night, there was more wind and rain. When it was light enough, Johnsy commanded that shade be raised. The ivy leaf was still there.
“I’ve been a foolish girl, Sue,” said Johnsy. :I wanted to die but the last leaf stayed on the vine to teach me a lesson. Please bring me some soup now.” “you know Sue, some day I hope to paint the Bay of Naples.”
The doctor visited the girls in the afternoon. “Take good care of your friend,” he said. “She is going to get well. Now I have to go downstairs. I have to visit Mr. Behrman. He has pneumonia too. I must send him to the hospital.
The next day, the doctor said to Sue: “She’s out of danger. You won. Nutrition and care now that’s all.” And that afternoon Sue came to the bed where Johnsy lay, contentedly knitiing a woolen shoulder scarf. “I have something to tell you, dear,” she said. “Mr. Behrman died of pneumonia today in the hospital. He was ill only two days. The janitor found him the morning of the first dat in his room downstairs helpless with pain. His shoes and clothing were wet through and icy cold. They couldn’t imagine where he had been on such a dreadful night. And then they found a lantern, still lighted, and a ladder that had been dragged from its place, and some scattered brushes, and a palette with green and yellow colors mixed on it, and look out the window, dear, at the last ivy leaf on the wall. Didn’t you wonder why it never fluttered or moved when the wind blew? ah, darling, it’s Behrman’s masterpiece – he painted it there the night that the last leaf fall. (Adapted from The Last Leaf by O. Henry, 1907). Baca juga: Benefit of Doubt Letter to God
Read the questions carefully. Note down your opinions and reactions to the questions. During the discussion with your teacher and classmates, offer your personal reaction and understanding of the text.
- The story is based on multiple themes like love, sacrifice, hope, belief and pessimism. Which one do you think is more obvious in the story? Why? Give evidence to support your answer.
- Why does Sue call “the last leaf” as Behrman’s masterpiece? Do you think it was a masterpiece?
- Were you surprised at the ending of the story? Did you think it would end differently? Why?
- Painting the picture on the wall resulted in Mr. Behrman’s death. Do youthink he would still have painted the leaf if he had known that it would result in his deat? Discuss and give reasons to support your answer.
- If you were in Sue’s shoes, how would you have reacted to Johnsy’s irrational thoughts? Describe.
- Why do you think Mr. Behrman made a sacrifice? Discuss
- What would you have done if you were in Behrman’s place? Discuss.
- What is the greatest sacrifice you have ever made for your family or friends? Describe
- Describe Mr. Behrman’s personality based on the story.
- Why do you think Johnsy never noticed that the last leaf never fluttered or moved even thought it was raining heavily?
(Sumber: Kementerian Pendidikan dan Kebudayaan RI 2017 Bahasa Inggris Kelas XI SMK/SMA/MAK)