Compare the climaxes in each  story by Richard O'Connell's "The Most Dangerous Game" and O.Henry's "The Last Leaf "?    How does each climax of the stories change the characters forever ?

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mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Certainly, the climaxes of "The Last Leaf" and "The Most Dangerous Game" pivot around the change in attitudes and the determination of the main characters to survive against the odds.  While Johnsy of O. Henry's story feels that she is at the point of the solitary leaf on the vine being pummeled by the cold wind and Rainsford is the "beast at bay," they both resolve to survive.  And, through sheer force of will and a new reasoning, they do. After watching the leaves from a vine fall one after another, Johnsy has despaired of living.  But, when the one leaf does not blow off during storms, Johnsy concludes that "it is a sin to want to die." As the doctor has told Sue, Johnsy just needed a reason, and the tenacity of the leaf has given her this.  Likewise, Rainsford's instinct to live, like the beast at bay, gives him the impetus to continue his and General Zaroff's most dangerous of games. He changes his mind about prey from what he says earlier--"Who cares what a jaguar feels?"--to knowing what a beast of bay feels as he is now such prey.  And, this beast at bay desires to live. 

Both O. Henry's and O'Connell's characters are victorious over great odds against their survivals, as well.  And, although the deaths of other characters are under very different circumstances, there is the sacrifice of one character in each story who makes possible the survival of the main characters of Johnsy and Rainsford.

melanieee55 | Student

Are you from hackensack high school?

j3nny | Student

yup !! :)

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The Most Dangerous Game

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