Pre-Task Activities

A. Discuss the following questions.

  • Did you ever have to take care of a friend when they were very ill? If you had, describe the situation. How did you feel?
  • Have you ever been very ill? If yes, describe what it was like. Did someone take care of you? Describe him/her.
  • If a good friend of yours got sick, would you take care of him? Explain why or why not.
  • In which season are people more likely to get sick? Why?

B. Fill in the blanks with the given words

whisper        still          shed          nonsense         confident          masterpiece

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C. Guess the meaning of the following phrases. Select the appropriate definition from the list

۱- willing to know more

۲- to be about or connected with sb/sth

۳- to continue having fever

۴- to drop or lose leaves

۵- to make a decision about something

۶- to make someone stop thinking or worrying about something

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A. take an interest

B. shed leaves

C. take one’s mind off

D. run a high temperature

E. have to do with sth

F. make up one’s mind

Problem-Solving Task

It is autumn. The wind is blowing hard and it is raining heavily. All the leaves on an ivy creeper have fallen, except one. Why doesn’t the last leaf fall?

Sue and Johnsy, two young artists, shared a small flat. The flat was on the third story of an old house.  Johnsy fell very seriously ill in November. She had pneumonia. She would lie in her bed without moving, just gazing out of the window. Sue, her friend, became very worried. She sent for the doctor.  Although he came every day there was no change in Johnsy’s condition. One day the doctor took Sue aside and asked her, “Is anything worrying Johnsy?”

“No, But why do you ask?”

     “Johnsy, it seems, has made up her mind that she is not going to get well. If she doesn’t want to live, medicines will not help her.”

       Sue tried her best to make Johnsy take an interest in things around her. She talked about clothes and fashions, but Johnsy did not respond. Johnsy continued to lie still on her bed. Sue brought her drawing-board into Johnsy’s room and started painting. To take Johnsy’s mind off her illness, she whistled while working. Suddenly Sue heard Johnsy whisper something. She quickly rushed to the bed and heard Johnsy counting backwards. She was looking out of the window and was saying:

“Twelve!” “Eleven”, “Ten”, “Nine”, “Eight”, “Seven”. Sue anxiously looked out of the window. She saw an old ivy creeper climbing halfway up the brick wall opposite their window.  In the strong wind outside, the creeper was shedding its leaves.

“What is it, dear?”

“Six. They are falling faster now. Three days ago there were almost a hundred leaves. There are only five left now.”

“It is autumn, and the leaves will fall.”

      “When the last leaf falls, I will die,” said Johnsy with finality. “I have known this for the last three days.”

“Oh, that’s nonsense. What have old ivy leaves to do with your getting well? The doctor is confident that you will get better.”

Johnsy did not say anything. Sue went and brought her a bowl of soup.

“I don’t want any soup, I am not hungry…  Now there are only four leaves left. I want to see the last one fall before it gets dark. Then I will sleep forever.”

Sue sat on Johnsy’s bed, kissed her and said, “You are not going to die. I can’t draw the curtain for I need the light. I want to finish the painting and get some money for us. Please, my dear friend,” she begged Johnsy, “Promise not to look out of the window while I paint.”

“All right, finish your painting soon for I want to see the last leaf fall. I’m tired of waiting. I have to die, so let me go away peacefully like one of those poor, tired leaves.”

“Try to sleep. I have to paint an old miner. I will call Behrman up to be my model.”

Sue rushed down. Behrman lived on the ground floor. He was a sixty-year-old painter.  His lifelong dream was to paint a masterpiece but that had remained a dream. Sue poured out her worries to Behrman.  She told him how Johnsy was convinced that she would die when the last leaf fell.

“Is she stupid?” asked Behrman. “How can she be so foolish?”

“She is running a high temperature,” complained Sue. “She refuses to eat or drink and that worries me a lot.”

 “I will come with you and see Johnsy.”
To be continued…

Fill in the blanks while watching the video clip

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Post-Task Activities

Suggested Solutions to the Problems

Vocabulary Skill

A. The verb “Get” has been used 5 times in the text in the form of collocation. Find them.

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B. Now, try to imagine yourself as one of the characters in the story (Sue or Johnsy). Then, write a paragraph using the “get collocation” you have just found. Use conjunctions and connectors suggested in Appendix.

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C. First, find the related sentence in the text. Then, make your own sentence.

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D. Let’s do the puzzle.

[game-crossword id="6002" ]


Read the passage carefully. Use ‘would rather/had better’ to write the problems and solutions.  Have you had a similar experience?

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Translation Practice

The following short texts have been taken from the passage. Translate them into fluent Persian.

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 anxiously (adv.): in a worried or nervous way

Beg: ask sb for sth especially in an anxious way because you want or need it very much