Last Courtesies Essay

Ella Leffland
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Ullmann is a freelance writer and editor. In the following essay, Ullmann examines the theme of courtesy as exhibited and understood by the characters of Leffland's short story “Last Courtesies.”

Leffland's short story “Last Courtesies” explores themes of civility and rudeness through four of the major characters: Aunt Bedelia, her niece Lillian, their friend Vladimir, and a neighbor's boyfriend named Jamie. Bedelia is a consummate judge of character. Vladimir is also a good judge; however, Lillian is trying too hard to be courteous and looking for courtesy from others to pay attention to a person's true nature. To her, Vladimir is vulgar and overly impassioned whereas Jamie is a morose, vaguely rude “pretty boy.” Even while she comes to trust Vladimir because of his connection to her aunt, she cannot see Jamie, with all his strangeness as well as his brief courtesies, as a serial killer. The...

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This section contains 2,066 words
(approx. 6 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the Last Courtesies Study Guide
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