The Last Leaf Explanation, Line by Line, Meaning of Difficult Words, Class 9  CBSE English Chapter 7 NCERT Moments


(Explanation, Meaning of difficult words)

Author – O Henry

Word Meaning
Third Storey Third Floor

Two young artists Sue and Johnsy lived in a small flat. They were painters. Their flat was on the third floor of an old house.



Word Meaning
Gaze To look intently or continuously

In the month of November, Johnsy became ill. Her condition was serious. She was suffering from pneumonia. She was not able to move. She used lie in her bed. She would continuously look out of the window.



Word Meaning
Sent for Called

Johnsy’s friend Sue was very much worried. She called a doctor to their house. The doctor was coming to their house every day to examine Johnsy.  But the health of Johnsy did not improve.



Word Meaning
Took her aside Called her slightly away

One day the doctor called Sue slightly away from Johnsy. He asked Sue if Johnsy was worried about something. Sue replied that there was no reason for worry. Sue wanted to know why the doctor had asked that question.



Word Meaning
Make up the mind Decide
To get well To recover from sickness

The doctor told Sue about his assessment. The doctor thought that Johnsy seemed to have decided to not to improve her health. If Johnsy does not have any desire to live, medicine cannot cure her.



Word Meaning
Respond To answer, To react
Still Without movement

Sue increased her attempts so that Johnsy could start taking interest in her surroundings. Sue made several attempts to draw attention of Johnsy about clothes and fashionable things. But Johnsy did not react to any of her attempts. Johnsy continued to lie in the bed. She did not move out of her bed.



Word Meaning
To take mind off To divert attention

Sue wanted to make more efforts to draw attention of Johnsy. So she brought her drawing board into the room of Jhonsy. To divert the attention of Johnsy from her sickness, Sue started whistling while painting.



Word Meaning
Whisper To speak in a low voice
Rushed Came quickly

Suddenly Johnsy started saying something in a low voice. Sue heard that voice. She quickly came near the bed of Johnsy. Johnsy was doing reverse counting. She was looking out of the window. Johnsy said twelve



Word Meaning
Ivy creeper A type of climber
Shedding its leaves Its leaves were falling

After sometime Johnsy said eleven. She continued to do reverse counting till seven. Sue looked out of the window. She saw an old climber. It had grown to reach upto half height of the wall. The wall was opposite the window so Johnsy could see the creeper. The wind was blowing at good speed. Leaves of the creeper were falling due to wind.



Sue asked Johnsy what she was counting.  Johnsy said six. She told Sue that leaves of the creeper were falling at faster rate. Three days ago the creeper had almost a hundred leaves. But now there were only five leaves on it.



Word Meaning
Finality Surety, Final decision

Sue replied that during autumn season,  leaves do fall from plants. Johnsy replied that when the last leaves fell from the creeper, she would die.  She said this as if it were sure to happen. She further told that she knew about her death since last three days.



Sue replied that Johnsy was talking something foolish. Leaves of a climber does not have any relation with your health. The doctor is confident that you will soon improve your health. Johnsy did not reply. Sue went to kitchen. She brought soup for Johnsy.



Word Meaning
Sleep forever To die

Johnsy said that she was not hungry. So she did not want to have soup. Johnsy said that now the creeper had only four leaves. She wanted that the last leaf should also fall before it became dark. Sue thought that she would die after the last leaf fell from the creeper.



Sue sat on the bed near Johnsy. She kissed Johnsy. Sue said that Johnsy was not going to die. Sue did not want to pull the curtain on the window. She wanted some sunlight to come into the room. She wanted to complete the painting. She would sell the painting to obtain some money for them.



Word Meaning
Poor Helpless

Sue requested Johnsy to make a promise. Sue requested her to not to look outside the window while Sue was making the painting. Johnsy agreed. She requested Sue to quickly finish her painting. She wanted to see that last leaf had fallen. She was very tired because the last leaf had taken too much time to fall. I want to die. I want to die peacefully in same way as those leaves are falling.

Author wants to say that Johnsy had no desire to live.



Word Meaning
Miner A person who works in a mine

Sue requested Johnsy to try to sleep. Sue wanted to make painting of a mine worker. She told Johnson that she will call Behrman. He will stand there as a miner. And Sue will make painting.  Sue quickly went to lower floors of the building. Behrman used to live on the ground floor of the building.



Word Meaning
Masterpiece Work of very high quality

Behrman was 60 years old. He was a painter.  Throughout his life, he had been dreaming of making a painting of very high quality. But he could never fulfil his dream.



Sue told Behrman about her worries. She told him what Johnsy thought about her life. Johnsy was sure that she would die as soon as the last leaf fell down.



Behrman told that it was a foolish thinking. He even told that Johnsy was stupid. Sue informed Behrman that Johnsy was having high temperature. Johnsy did not eat or drink anything. Sue was worried about Johnsy because of these reasons.



Word Meaning
To see someone To meet someone
Tiptoed Walked without making sound
Peeped Looked

Behrman told Sue that he will come with Sue to meet Johnsy. They silently came to the room. Johnsy was sleeping. Sue pulled the curtains on the windows. Behrman and Sue went to another room. Sue looked through the window. There was only one leaf on the creeper.



At that time it was raining heavily. Extremely cold wind was blowing. Sue thought that the last leaf could fall any moment. Behrman did not speak anything. He went back to his house.



Word Meaning
Feeble Weak
Reluctantly Unwillingly, With hesitation

Next morning Johnsy woke up. She had a very weak voice. She requested Sue to remove curtains from the window. Sue was very nervous. She thought that the last leaf might have fallen down. With lot of hesitation, she removed curtains from the window.



Word Meaning
Exclaimed Said with surprise
Vine creeper Grape climber
Fierce Very strong

Sue looked at the creeper through the window. Sue said with surprise that the last leaf had not fallen. She said that the creeper still had that one leaf. The leaf was looking quite green and healthy. There was a storm during the night and the wind was very strong.  But the leaf did not fall.



Johnsy said that sound of wind blowing was high during the night. Meaning that speed of the wind was high. I thought that the leaf would have fallen last night. It will surely fall today. And after that I will die.



Word Meaning
Energetically With energy, With passion

With lot of energy and passion Sue told Johnsy that she would not die. She advised Johnsy to live for her friends. Sue asked Johnsy what would happen to her if Johnsy died.



Word Meaning
Cling Attach, Join, Hold

Johnsy gave a weak smile to Sue. Then she closed her eyes. After about every hour Johnsy was looking out of the window. She was checking if the leaf had fallen.  The leaf was still attached to the creeper. It was not getting separated from the creeper.



In that evening another storm came. But the leaf did not fall from the creeper. Johnsy was lying on her bed. She was looking at the leaf for a very long time. Then she called Sue.



Word Meaning
Look after Take care
Depressed Sad
Gloomy Without any hope
Wicked Wrong, Guilty

Johnsy started talking to Sue. Johnsy accepted that she had been a bad girl. Her thoughts were not correct. You have taken care of me with lot of affection. I was sad and did not have any hope. The last leaf has shown me that I was wrong in my thinking. I have now understood that it is sin to have a desire for death.



Sue and Johnsy hugged each other. Sue gave lot of soup to Johnsy. Sue also gave a mirror to her. Then Sue combed hair of Johnsy. After that Sue gave a broad smile to Johnsy.



Word Meaning
Will Desire
Recover Improve, Regain

In the afternoon doctor came to examine Johnsy. He told Sue that now Johnsy wants to live. Therefore doctor was confident that her health would soon improve.



Word Meaning
Downstairs Lower floors

Now doctor wanted to go to lower floors of the house to meet Behrman. He was also suffering from pneumonia. The doctor was worried about him. According to doctor Behrman had no chance of surviving.



Next morning Sue came to Johnsy. She took Johnsy’s hand in her hand. She informed Johnsy about death of Behrman. He died because he had developed pneumonia.



Word Meaning
Janitor Care taker, Watchman

Sue told Johnsy that he had fallen sick only two days ago. First day watchman noticed that Behrman was lying on his bed. He was not able to get up. His shoes and clothes were wet. He was shivering. When a storm had come during the night, he was out of his house.



A ladder and a lantern was lying near his bed.  The lantern was still lighted. Some brushes, green and yellow colours were found near the ladder and on the floor.



Word Meaning
Flutter Move rapidly because of wind

Sue requested Johnsy to look out of the window. She advised her to carefully look at the leaf of ivy creeper. Sue asked Johnsy to guess why the leaf was not moving even when the air was flowing. Sue told Jhonsy that it was a painting. It was a painting of very high quality. Behrman made this painting in the night the last leaf had fallen.



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