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"The last leaf" is one of the greatest masterpieces by the writer O.Henry. It conveys the important message "Health is wealth" and it also emphasizes the impact ones feelings can exert on one's physical health. When Johnsy became a victim of the deadly disease pneumonia, she loses hope of continuing her life despite the desperate efforts of her best friend Sue who tried instiling some hope. Sometimes hope is the best medicine for any disease but it is rarely used by many. Johnsy's lack of hope slowly deteriorated her already deteriorating health condition. She used to keep counting the falling leaves of the ivy plant outside her window and thought to herself that it symbolized her fading life. Once there was only one leaf left and Johnsy was sure that when it fell she would also die. But , Behrman ( Johnsy and Sue's friend and an artist ) painted a leaf on the wall in such a way that it looked like a leaf on the plant itself. The painting looked so real and luckily Johnsy fell prey to the deception. That "leaf" gave her hope and her health improved. This is what we call " placebo effect". Had Behrman not braved the stormy night and painted the leaf on the wall it is needless to say that Johnsy wouldn't have survived the next day. Hence a diseased mind is worse than the disease itself.
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I read this story almost a year back. I hope the characters' names are right !!