Metaphors used in The Last Leaf

The Last Leaf is a story by O. Henry about a young girl Johnsy who is suffering from Pneumonia. Johnsy has a roommate Sue, who is very optimistic about Johnsy’s recovery. She is so inclined to have Johnsy believe this, that she asks Mr Behrman a painter to paint a leaf on the wall to give Johnsy some hope. To help the reader get the message of the story, the author employs the use of metaphors. The following are the meanings behind these metaphors.

By definition, a metaphor is the direct comparison of two things. The main reason for this is to help the reader understand something that is not clear by comparing it to something that he or she knows well about. “Mr Pneumonia was not what you would call a chivalric old gentleman.” The comparison here is between Mr Pneumonia’s character and that of a chivalric old gentleman. The author uses this metaphor to inform the reader of Pneumonia. Given that some of the traits considered as being chivalry are good to women, honour and courtesy. The author says that Pneumonia was unlike a chivalric gentleman to show that it was neither of these traits. It attacked a young girl without any notice and had no honour in how it dealt with those it affected. Pneumonia was not courteous it affected whoever it caught up with and it did not distinguish between women and men. All who got infected were brought to the brink of death.

“A cold unseen stranger visited the city, the doctors called him Mr Pneumonia.” The author compares how Pneumonia got to the first patient to a stranger arriving in a

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