Comparing 'The Last Leaf And Gwilan's Harp'

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In the short stories: “Gwilan’s Harp” by Ursula K. LeGuin, “The Washwoman” by Isaac Singer, and “The Last Leaf” by O. Henry, all of the authors make their characters go thorough loss. Gwilan in “Gwilan’s Harp” loses her harp—her livelihood. The Jewish family in “The Washwoman” experiences the loss of their servant, and Johnsy in “The Last Leaf” loses a friend that saved her life. However, none of these stories end with a sense of loss. All of them finish with a sense of victory over their specific hardship. These short stories: “Gwilan’s Harp,” “The Washwoman,” and “The Last Leaf,” includes themes of loss, but also end with a redeeming theme of victory. “Gwilan’s Harp” traces the life of a young harpist, Gwilan, and the tough times she endures. Her wrists broke in a tragic cart accident, and the wheel of the still-moving cart crushed the harp to splinters. This incident took her livelihood. She only had the comfort of a husband when Torm, the cart driver, married her. Still, the harp…show more content…
Her friend, Joanna, or Johnsy, loses all hope when she contracts pneumonia, and has a disturbing notion that once all the leaves on an old ivy branch fall off, she will die. This is Sue’s first loss—the loss of hope of relieving her friend of this alarming thought. Sue also loses another friend, one who ended up saving the life of Johnsy. When Sue called him up for his services as a model, she told him of Johnsy’s strange idea of the ivy leaves. He feels compassion on Johnsy, and in the night, secretly, when he discovered that the last leaf fell, “he painted it there [on the wall] the night that the last leaf fell." This fake leaf fooled Johnsy, and she lived, since she realizes that the leaf did not want her to die, but in the cold, windy night, the painter, Old Behrman, as Sue knew him, died. This was Sue’s second and final loss, but with the victory of keeping her
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