The Last Leaf


O. Henry

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Doctor Character Analysis

A busy, older man with “shaggy grey eyebrows” who attends to Johnsy and Behrman. He diagnoses Johnsy with mental as well as physical illness, telling Sue that he cannot help a patient with medicine when she doesn’t want to get better. He is skeptical of the idea that unfulfilled artistic ambitions might be the cause of Johnsy’s depression, asking Sue whether she is depressed over a man. He visits Johnsy again after she has recovered and gives her a good prognosis, but tells Sue that Behrman is dying of pneumonia.

Doctor Quotes in The Last Leaf

The The Last Leaf quotes below are all either spoken by Doctor or refer to Doctor. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Hope and Health Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Random House edition of The Last Leaf published in 1994.
The Last Leaf Quotes

[“]Your little lady has made up her mind that she's not going to get well. Has she anything on her mind?”
“She—she wanted to paint the Bay of Naples some day,” said Sue.
“Paint?–bosh! Has she anything on her mind worth thinking about twice—a man for instance?”

Related Characters: Sue (speaker), Doctor (speaker), Joanna (“Johnsy”)
Page Number: 309
Explanation and Analysis:

[“W]henever my patient begins to count the carriages in her funeral procession I subtract 50 per cent from the curative power of medicines. If you will get her to ask one question about the new winter styles in cloak sleeves I will promise you a one-in-five chance for her, instead of one in ten.”

Related Characters: Doctor (speaker), Joanna (“Johnsy”)
Page Number: 309
Explanation and Analysis:
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The Last Leaf PDF

Doctor Character Timeline in The Last Leaf

The timeline below shows where the character Doctor appears in The Last Leaf. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
The Last Leaf
Hope and Health Theme Icon
Gender and Sexuality Theme Icon
A doctor visits and tells Sue that Johnsy has a one in ten chance of living, and... (full context)
Hope and Health Theme Icon
...die.” A little later, Johnsy mentions her ambition to paint the Bay of Naples. The doctor visits and gives Johnsy a good prognosis (“even chances”), predicting that she will recover. (full context)