The Last Leaf by O. Henry

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Can I get summary of Sue's character in "The Last Leaf" by O. Henry?

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mrs-campbell eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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In this short story by O. Henry, Sue is an artist, who lives with Johnsy her roommate.  She is young, and part of the "artist" scene of Greenwich Village, of which O. Henry writes about in a rather mocking tone.  She is independent-minded.  When the doctor inquires if a man is the root of Johnsy's stress, Sue scoffs, “A man?...Is a man worth-" indicating that she and Johnsy don't give men a second thought, but are instead independent women content being on their own.  Sue also has dramatic mood shifts; after the doctor leaves she "cries a Japanese napkin to a pulp," but then immediately cheers up and goes into Johnsy's room, "whistling ragtime" and proceeds to paint to earn some money.

Overall, she is a caring individual, waiting on Johnsy and hoping for her recovery.  She is friendly to the burly Behrman downstairs, even though he makes fun of her and Johnsy for their silly feminine ways.

Overall, Sue is a kind person, although a bit shallow and flaky.  I hope that those thoughts help a bit; good luck!

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rupkaur2001 | Student


Sue is a struggling artist from Maine who has come to New York in order to establish her name in the world of art. She is a very good friend ofJohnsy and cares about her well being. Afer hearing the doctor's unappealing prognosis, she is so overcome by sadness and anxiety for her roommate that she cries "a bamboo napkin to pulp" we also realize that she is a very memtally strong woman. When she goes into Johnsy's room again, she walks with "swagger" indicating confidence and is "whistling ragtime". This shows her strength how for the sake of johnsy's well being, she puts on aclever, cheerful facade in order to cheer her up. When Johnsy first tells her about her absurd fantasy, she brushes it off but in reality, she is quite worried about this pessimistic fantasy and this is revealed later in her conversation with Behrman.

To sum it up, Sue is a strong, caring and gentle person, who helps Johnsy throughout her illness.

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