Chapter-1 The Last Lesson – Extra Questions and NCERT Solution

By | July 7, 2020

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Extra Questions, Notes, Assignment and study material for Class 12th as Per CBSE Syllabus

Chapter- 1 English Language and Literature

           The Last Lesson – The Last Lesson

                                           By- Alphonse Daudet

 About the Author                                               

Name – A Short Biography

Author

Alphonse Daudet is considered to be one it most iconic names of French literature. Unlike many famous writers in world history, Alphonse wasn’t very well educated; he wrote his first novel at the age of fourteen. His works drew inspiration from instances of his life. His works Trente and de Paris’ and ‘Souvenirs dun home de letters’ seemed to be more like autobiographies. Passed away in the final decade, his name is very popular amongst the citizens of France. A lot of educational institutions in France have been named after this famous writer. Alphonse is one of the handful writers who portray human emotions in a very realistic manner.

Theme / Central Idea of the Lesson. Analysis of The Last Lesson

Theme

Dominant Theme raised in the text: linguistic chauvinism

“Chauvinism” is a devotion for or against something, just based on what you feel (not necessarily what you may know). So, Linguistic chauvinism is the idea that one’s language is superior to that of others. This happens generally when the language is that of the ruling class.

 Linguistic chauvinism refers to the imposition of one language on others. Language is considered to be the cultural identity of the people who use it. The language is the pride of the country as it defines the cultural history.

The Last Lesson raises the burning question very innocently through the words of little Franz that “Will they make them sing in German, even the pigeons?” This raises the question of imposing a language on others. The child questions that when even the birds and animals can’t be forced to abandon their language, then what forces a man to enforce a language on others.

Theme (2)

‘The Last Lesson’ revolves around the language and its importance to the citizens of a country. It is the duty of every citizen to safeguard the language of the country as it is the identity of that country. The lesson depicts how after defeating France in the war, the Prussians wanted to rule over not only the territory of France but also over the minds and hearts of the people. The story reinforces the fact that we value something more when it is lost. The pain and anguish of the students and the teacher is evident as everyone realizes how things were taken for granted. The lesson emphasizes the importance of the mother tongue for everyone and the need to realize the fact that it is our language which gives us our identity, respect and freedom.

Sub Theme

The attitude of teachers and students towards learning and teaching.

Justify the title of (The Last Lesson )

Justification of Title

 The story ‘The Last Lesson’ highlights the human tendency that there is plenty of time to do things; hence, the man keeps postponing the lessons of life, oblivious to the fact that life is subject to change. The people of Alsace always thought they had plenty of time to learn the lessons; therefore, they did not give much importance to the school. They preferred their children to work on the farms and mills instead of having them learn the lessons. Even Franz, the narrator, always looked for opportunities to skip school and look for birds’ nests or go sliding on the banks of the river Saar. However, the unexpected happens and an order is received from Berlin regarding the compulsory teaching of German in the schools of Alsace and Lorraine. It is then that the people of Alsace realise that they would be deprived of what they had not been valuing all this while. The story is aptly titled as it evokes the consciousness in the reader not to put off things and do what one can do that day. M. Hamel’s bold ‘Long live France’ on the blackboard becomes substantial evidence of his sadness, patriotism and finality.

Moral/ Message of the lesson – (The Last Lesson )

Message

The story depicts the irony of the whole situation about how people feel when they don’t learn their own language.

CHAPTER NUTSHELL

1.Franz’s reluctance to reach school:

(i) was worried as he started late from home.

 (ii) was apprehensive of facing his teacher, M. Hamel as he had not prepared his lessons on participles, which was to be questioned in class.

(iii) distracted by the chirping birds, warm and bright day and Prussian soldiers drilling.

2.Usual scene of the classroom:

(i) great commotion.                                                 (ii) opening and the closing of the desks.

(iii) lessons being repeated in unison.                  (iv) teacher’s ruler rapping on the table.

 (v) back benches were usually empty.

3.The difference on the last day of School:

(i) the quiet atmosphere as on Sunday mornings.

(ii) all classmates occupying their respective places.

(iii) M. Hamel walking to and fro with his iron ruler under his arm-was formally dressed-spoke to Franz in a gentle manner.

 (iv) back benches were occupied by old Hauser, former Mayor, former postmaster and several other villagers.

4. The response to M. Hamel and the class in the last lesson:

 (i) M. Hamel taught the students without losing his temper-was patient-made special notebooks putting in extra efforts-giving his best on the last day-imparted knowledge about the importance of the mother tongue in each one’s life.

(ii) children in the class were quiet and gave a patient ear to the teacher.

 (iii) Old people of the village attended the class.

 (iv)Franz made a special effort to understand the lesson for he found it comfortable to grasp-was guilty of not paying attention earlier.

5. Old people of the village in the class:

 (i) They were sorry that they had not gone to the school for longer.

 (ii) they wanted to pay respect to the language which they would not be able to learn anymore.

(iii) they wanted to thank M. Hamel for his unflinching service to the village for the past forty years.

 (iv) to show respect to the country which would not be theirs now.

6. Responsible for neglecting French:

(i) Alsace as a city was responsible for procrastinating.

 (ii) Franz was responsible for delaying and avoiding the learning of the language.

(iii) Parents were responsible for they were not keen for the education of their children and made them run errands.

(iv) M. Hamel blamed himself for sending Franz to water his plants or even taking an off, the day he wanted to go fishing.

7. 1W. Hamel on the French language:

(i) the most beautiful language in the world.

(ii) the clearest and most logical.

 (iii) it had to be guarded.

(iv) it acts as a key to the prison if people are enslaved.

8. Franz on M. Hamel:

(i) Franz desperately wanted to give the answer on participles to reassure his teacher that all his years of teachings have not been wasted.

 (ii) Franz felt that M. Hamel was giving his best on the day of the last lesson as he wanted to share all his knowledge before going away.

 (iii) Franz felt that his teacher was sitting motionless and was staring at things as he wanted to fix in his mind and take each memory with him from that school room where he had taught for forty years.

(iv) Franz felt that the teacher must be heartbroken for he was to leave the country the next day.

 (v) Franz could well identify with the teacher’s sorrow as to what he felt on hearing his sister move boxes to pack and leave.

9. M. Hamel as a teacher.

 (i) had been teaching for forty years without wavering.

(ii) refused to give up on the last day of teaching-treated it as the most important day was in his best fineries-had prepare copies for the children in which he had written beautifully-was ready to teach all age groups without reservation-decided to be patient and impart whatever he could even if it was the last day-stood tall to bid and accept farewell.

 (iii) imparted knowledge about the importance of the mother tongue.

(iv) instilled patriotism amongst his students with his wise words.

Short and Simple Summary of the lesson in English– (The Last Lesson )/ Summary in simple Words/ Critical appreciation of the lesson – (The Last Lesson )

Summary

The prose The Last Lesson’, written by Alphonse Daudet describes the year 1870 when the Prussian forces under Bismarck attacked and captured France. The French districts of Alsace and Lorraine went into Prussian hands. The new Prussian rulers discontinued the teaching of French in the schools of these two districts. The French teachers were asked to leave. The story describes the last day of one such French class under M. Hamel. M. Hamel could no longer remain in his old school. He gave his last lesson with utmost devotion.

 One of his students, Franz, who played truant with French class and feared M. Hamel’s iron rod, came to the school that day thinking he would be punished as he had not learnt his lesson on participles. On reaching school, he found M. Hamel dressed in Sunday clothes and all the old people of the village sitting there. (He later learned that it was due to an order on the bulletin board.) That was when he realized for the first time how important French was for him, that it was his Last Lesson in French.

The story ‘The Last Lesson’ highlights the human tendency to procrastinate and put away things for tomorrow; hence, the man keeps postponing the lessons of life, oblivious to the fact that life is subject to change. The people of Alsace always thought they had plenty of time to learn the lessons; therefore, they did not give much importance to the school. They preferred sending their children to work on the farms and mills instead of having them learn the lessons. Even Franz, the narrator, always looked for opportunities to skip the school and collect birds’ eggs. However, the unexpected happens and an order is received from Berlin regarding the compulsory teaching of German in the schools of Alsace and Lorraine. It is then that they realize that they would be deprived of what they had been evading all this while.

The last French lesson taught by It Hamel symbolizes the loss of language and the loss of freedom for France. It becomes an emotional lesson rendered by M. Hamel to the villagers, signifying the changing order of life and its impact on the sensibilities and emotions of people. The marching soldiers under the windows represent the dawn of Prussia in France, the defeat of the French people and the resultant threat to their language and culture.

Summary (2)

The story ‘The Last Lesson’ is set in the days of the Franco-Prussian war. France was defeated by Prussia and districts of Alsace and Lorraine had passed into Prussian hands. The orders came from Berlin to teach only German in the schools of Alsace and Lorraine. The story tells the effect of this transition on the people through the eyes of a young boy, Franz.

The story describes what is just another ordinary day for Franz who started very late for school that morning. In fact, he was reluctant to go to school as he had not prepared his French lesson on participles and his teacher, M. Hamel, was going to conduct an oral test on the topic in the class. Initially, he thought of spending the bright warm day outdoors enjoying the chirping of birds and drilling of Prussian soldiers at the back of the sawmill. But finally, he decided to go to school.

On the way, Franz passed the town hall, where he saw a large crowd reading the bulletin board which had been a source of all bad news. Franz didn’t stop there and rushed to the school.

When Franz arrived at the school, he found a strange quietness there. He found that his classmates were already seated in their places and the teacher had already started teaching. The back benches were occupied by the village elders who were grim and solemn. To his surprise, M. Hamel was in the formal dress that hewed to wear only on the inspection or prize distribution days. Franz found M. Hamel to be kinder than usual. He didn’tscold Franz for being late and allowed him to take his seat. Franz was shocked to get the news that it 105 w scold last lesson in French and the new German teacher would take charge on the following day.

 He was full of regret for not learning his mother tongue and felt a sudden love for French. He even started liking M. Hamel and forgot all about his ruler and crankiness. When M. Hamel asked Franz to answer a question ac participle, he was not able to answer. Even then, M. Hamel didn’t scold him and remarked that the only trouble with people of Alsace was of putting off learning till the next day. He blamed parents for sending their children to earn money rather than to school. He also blamed himself for sending students to water his plants or to give them a holiday when he wanted to go fishing.

Hamel then talked of the French language, calling it the most beautiful language in the world. He told the class la to keep their language close to their hearts to feel free and happy. As long as an enslaved people held fast to their language, it was as if they had the key to their prison. Their language could liberate them forever. As the church clock struck twelve, M. Hamel with a choked throat wrote on the blackboard Vive La France!, ie. Long Live France and dismissed the class.

The story, written in historical background, is a beautiful depiction of the emotional bond of people with their mother tongue. It depicts the pathos of the situation that in order to conquer the minds of the people, it is not enough to win a country physically by force. In order to enslave a people completely, a conqueror needs to enslave their thoughts and make them devoid of their own mother tongue.

Following is the complete question bank for (The Last Lesson )

MULTIPLE CHOICE QUESTIONS

MCQ Based Questions-

1.For the last two years, where did all the bad news come from?

 (a) the Bulletin Board                                                                (b) Town Hall

(c) school                                                                                       (d) M. Hamel’s House

2.Who asked Franz not to hurry to school?

 (a) Old Hauser                                                                             (b) former Mayor

 (c) former Postmaster                                                               (d) blacksmith Watcher

3.What was M. Hamel going to question Franz about?

 (a) participles                                                                              (b) adjectives

(c) old primer                                                                               (d) Ba be bi bo bu

4. What was unusual about M. Hamel’s dress?

(a) wore clean clothes                                                               (b) wore a brand new outfit

(c) wore clothes he wore on prize days                                 (d) wore traditional French clothes

5. Who sat on the back bench on the last lesson?

 (a) Franz                                                                                    (b) Prussians

 (c) the village people                                                             (d) The new teacher

6. What order had come from Berlin?

(a) to close the school                                                 

(b) teach German in schools of Alsace and Lorraine

(c) to open a new school in Alsace and Lorraine   

 (d) that Hamel would have to leave

7. Why did Hamel blame himself?

 (a) not having taught them enough French           

 (b) not being strict

 (c) giving students a holiday at times                                   (d) not being responsible

8. What does the last lesson taught by Hamel symbolize?

 (a) no more teaching of French                               (b) domination of Prussia

(c) learning of German                                               (d) loss of language and loss of freedom

9.What is the moral that the Alphonse Daudet wants to bring out?

 (a) not to put off things that one can do that day            

 (b) old order changed to new

 (c) one should accept everything that happens       

 (d) teachers should be respected

10. What does the marching of soldiers under the windows represent?

(a) the departure of Hamel                                              (b) dawn of Prussia in France

 (c) freedom for Franz                                                            (d) sorrow of the villagers

11.What does M. Hamel’s motionless posture reflect?

 (a) the school is dismissed                                                      (c) changing order of life

(b) sense of finality                                                                   (d) feeling of nostalgia

12. Why does Hamel blame the parents?

 (a) they preferred children to work in farms

(b) they were not strict

 (c) they did not come to M. Hamel’s class

 (d) they did not love the French language

13. Franz thinks- will they make them sing in German- even the pigeons? What could this mean?

 (a) German would use brutal force over everyone

 (b) harsh orders will be passed

 (c) when people are deprived of their essence even the surroundings are affected.

(d) the Germans will rob France of its language.

14. Why does the author urge the reader to respect his language?

 (a) It is what makes you respect your countrymen.

(b) It is the key to freedom.

 (c) You can express yourself.

(d) It is unique and reflects literature and art.

15. M. Hamel is introduced as a ruler-wielding teacher. This demonstrates that:

(a) he is concerned.                                                       (b) he is adamant.

(c) he is unfeeling.                                                         (d) he is a hard taskmaster.

16. M. Hamel emerges as a when he teaches his last lesson.

(a) meek person            (b) true patriot                (c) repentant man            (d) defeated the man

17. What was Franz banking on to enter the class as he was late?

 (a) M.Hamel’s teaching on the blackboard

 (b) commotion in the class

 (c) Hauser helping him sneak in

(d) to quietly walk in when everyone was preoccupied with participles

18. Which district came under the Prussian rule?

 (a) Alsace and Berlin                                   (b) Berlin and Lorraine

 (c) Alsace and Lorraine                               (d) the southern districts of France

19. Franz looked for opportunities to skip school to do what?

(a) work on mills                                          (b) go fishing

(c) water the plants                                     (d) collect birds eggs

20. ‘Viva la France’ became an emotional evidence of M. Hamel’s?

 (a) sadness and patriotism.

 (b) finality and depression.

(c) nostalgia and emotional outburst.

(d) love for the school and teaching as a profession.

ANSWERS

1.(a) the Bulletin Board

2.(d) Blacksmith Watcher

3.(a) participles

4.(c) wore clothes he wore on prize days

5.(c) the village people

6.(b) teach German in schools of Alsace and Lorraine

7.( c) giving students a holiday at times

8.d) loss of language and loss of freedom

9.(a) not to put off things that one can do that day

10.(b) dawn of Prussia in France

11.(b) sense of finality

12. (a) they preferred children to work in farms

13.(c) when people are deprived of their essence even the surroundings are affected.

14. (b) it is the key to freedom.

15. (d) he is a hard taskmaster.

16. (b) true patriot

17. (b) commotion in the class

18. (c) Alsace and Lorraine

10.(d) collect birds egg’s

20. (a) sadness and patriotism.

SHORT ANSWER TYPE QUESTIONS                  

Q1. What was Franz expected to be prepared with for school that day?

Ans. That particular day Franz was expected to be prepared with participles as Mr Hamel, the French teacher was going to question the students in school and Franz didn’t know it at all.

 Q2. What did Franz notice that was unusual about the school that day?

 Ans. There was no commotion and on that day everything was as quiet as a Sunday morning. Even Mr Hamel was not annoyed when. Franz walked into the classroom late. M. Hamel was in his Sunday best. There was village folk sitting on the back benches.

 Q3. What had been put up on the bulletin board?

 Ans. The crowd in front of the bulletin board indicated the presence of an important news item. Later, Franz realized that the news was that the order had come from Berlin to teach only German in the schools of Alsace and Lorraine. Mr Hamel announced that he would be teaching his last French lesson that day.

Q4. Why were Mr. 1101? Hamel’s words like a thunderclap to Franz?

 Ans. Franz was shocked when Mr Hamel announced that it would be the last French lesson that day. He realized that he hardly knew how to write and would not get a chance to learn any more French. He felt sorry for not having learnt his lessons and for having wasted his precious time. The thought that Mr Hamel would go away made him feel uneasy.

Q5. What was Franz’s reaction when he learnt that he was attending his French lesson for the last time?

Ans. He felt sorry that he had not learnt his lessons and wasted his time in seeking birds’ eggs and going sliding on the Saar. He felt that his books which were such a nuisance a while ago and heavy to carry were now like old friends that he didn’t want to give up at all. The teacher whom he thought to be so cranky now appeared to be a friend.

Q6. Why were the old men of the village present in the classroom?

 Ans. The old men of the village were sitting in the classroom. Franz felt that they too, like him, we’re sorry for not having gone to school often. It was their way of thanking the master for his forty years of faithful service and showing their respect for the country that was no longer theirs.

Q7. What was Hamel’s reaction when Franz could not answer his question in class, correctly?

Ans. Franz was scared of Mr Hamel’s reaction when he was unable to answer the question. His heart started beating and he dared not look up. Mr Hamel, instead, told Franz that he would not scold him. He blamed all Frenchmen for not knowing how to speak or write their own mother tongue.

Q8. Who did Hamel blame for not knowing French?

Ans. Hamel not only blamed Franz and other Frenchmen for not loving their mother tongue but held himself responsible for sending his students often to water his flowers instead of learning their lessons. He also fell guilty of having given them a holiday when he wanted to go fishing.

Q9. How had the teacher dressed on the day of the last lesson?

 Ans. He was dressed in his beautiful green coat, his frilled shirt and little black silk cap-all embroidered, something he never wore except on special days like prize days and inspection days.

Q10.Why was Franz afraid of being scolded?

 Ans. Franz was afraid of being scolded because his teacher M. Hamel was to question the students on participles. Franz was not prepared and he had started for school very late that morning.

 Q11.What did Franz find much more tempting than the rule of participles? What did Franz do?

Ans. It was a warm and bright day. The birds were chirping at the edge of woods. The Prussian soldiers were drilling in the open field at the back of sawmill. He could spend life out of doors. He resisted the temptation and hurried off to school.

Q12.What was the usual scene when Franz’s school began in the morning?

 Ans. Usually, there was a great bustle. The noise could be heard out in the school. Students opened and closed their desks. They repeated the lessons together very loudly. They kept their hands over their ears to understand better. The teacher would go on rapping the table with his great iron ruler.

Q13.What did Wachter tell Franz? What was the latter’s response?

Ans. Wachter, the blacksmith on reading the latest bulletin about the teaching of German told Franz not to go so fast. He added that he would get to school in plenty of time. Franz thought Wachter was making fun of him so he rushed to school.

Q14.What did M. Hamel tell the class about French language?

Ans. M. Hamel said that French was the most beautiful language in the world. It was the clearest and the most logical language. The French should guard it among them and never forget. He added that when people are enslaved, as long as they held fast to their language, they had the key to their prison.

Q15.How was M. Hamel behaviour contrary to how he would usually behave?

 Ans. M. Hamel was solemn and gentle. He was no longer the ruler-wielding teacher. M. Hamel was wearing clothes he wore on special occasion. What he taught seemed so easy to Franz. He explained everything with a lot of patience. It seemed that he wanted to put into their heads at one stroke all that he knew.

 Q16.How did Franz enjoy their lesson in writing?

 Ans. M. Hamel had made copies for the class. The words ‘France, Alsace, France, Alsace’ were written on them in a beautiful round hand. The pupils set to work quietly.

 Q17.Why did Franz not want to go to a school that day?

Ans. Franz was reluctant to go to a school that day as he was unprepared with his homework—the rules of participles. M. Hamel was to question the class on the topic and he was scared of the teacher.

Q18.Why was Franz not scolded for reaching the school late that day?                   

Ans. Franz was late for school. Usually, there was always a great hustle and bustle in the morning. He had hoped to take advantage of that noise and commotion. He wanted to get to his desk without being noticed. But that day he had to go in before everybody. M. Hamel only asked him very politely to take up his seat without scolding him as it was Hamel’s last lesson of French in that school.

Q19.What did Franz wonder about when he entered the class that day?                  

 Ans. M. Hamel was to question the students on participles. Franz knew nothing about them and feared a scolding. He also wondered about a big crowd he had seen around the notice board at the Town Hall. For a moment he was tempted to run away but he overcame his temptation and hurried off to school.

Q20.Why were some elderly persons occupying the back benches that day? [All India 2017]

 Ans. Some elderly persons occupied the last benches on the day as it was the last day of the teaching of French. They wanted to pay homage to their country and respect to M. Hamel for his dedicated service of forty years. They regretted having lost the opportunity to learn their own language.

Q21.”What a thunderclap these words were to me!” (Franz). What were those words and what was their effect on Franz?                                                                                                                    

 Ans. Franz reached the school late on the day of the ‘ant lesson. M. Hamel mounted on his chair. He spoke in a grave and gentle tone and made it clear that it was his last French lesson as an order had come from Berlin. All the schools of Alsace and Lorraine would teach only German from the next day when a German teacher would replace him. The news left Franz shocked and aggrieved as he was going to lose his teacher, and the opportunity to learn his language.

 Q22. How were the parents and M. Hamel responsible for the children’s neglect of the French language?                                                                                                                                       

 Ans. M. Hamel didn’t scold Franz for neglecting the learning of French. Most of the people of Alsace could neither speak nor write their own language. Their parents preferred to put them to work on a farm or at the mills. Mr Hamel didn’t even spare himself from blame. He had often sent his students to water his flowers instead of learning their lessons.

23. What shows M. Hamel’s love for the French language?

Ans.As a mark of his love for the French language. M. Hamel gave a tribute to his mother tongue in his Ian lesson. He called it ‘the most beautiful language’ in the world, which is the clearest and most logical. He appealed to the children and the people of the village to keep their mother-tongue close to their heart.

24. What tempted Franz to stay away from school?

 Ans. Franz was already late for school. He had not even prepared the topic of participles for which he was going to be tested that day. Moreover, it was a warm day and he was tempted by the chirping of birds and sounds of Prussian soldiers exercising at the back of the sawmill.

25. What changes came over little Franz after M. Hamel’s announcement?

Ans. Franz was shocked at M. Hamel’s announcement that it was their last lesson in French. Suddenly he felt his love for his mother tongue and realised that he could hardly write well enough in French. He was full of remorse and regret being so careless and unattentive in his class. Moreover, he also developed a liking for his teacher M. Hamel.

26. What was the mood in the classroom when M. Hamel gave the last French lesson?

Ans. There was complete silence in the class. Everyone was full of regret and remorse. Children as well the village elderly were gloomy and repentant for not giving importance to their mother tongue. The order from Berlin had caused a sea-change in the attitude of the people of Alsace and Lorraine to their language.

27. What had Franz counted on to enter class unnoticed?

Ans. Franz was late for school that day. But he was quite confident to enter the class unnoticed because usually there was a lot of confusion and noise at the beginning of the school. Every day there was a sound of opening and closing of desks, lessons repeated in unison and teacher’s great ruler rapping on the table. So Franz thought that the word take advantage of the situation and enter the class unnoticed.

28. Why was M. Hamel kind to Franz even though he was late for school?

Ans. It was the last lesson of M. Hamel in the school as the new German teacher was arriving the following day. M. Hamel was sad and sentimental as he was to leave the school after forty years of service as a teacher in French. He was very emotional, kind and understanding. So, He did not scold Franz even though he was late.

29. How had the teacher dressed on the day of the last lesson?

 Ans. He was dressed in his beautiful green coat, his frilled shirt and little black silk cap-all embroidered, something he never wore except on special days like prize days and inspection days.

30. Why was Franz afraid of being scolded?

 Ans. Franz was afraid of being scolded because his teacher M. Hamel was to question the students on participles. Franz was not prepared and he had started for school very late that morning.

 31. What did Franz find much more tempting than the rule of participles? What did Franz do?

Ans. It was a warm and bright day. The birds were chirping at the edge of woods. The Prussian soldiers were drilling in the open field at the back of sawmill. He could spend life out of doors. He resisted the temptation and hurried off to school.

32. What was the usual scene when Franz’s school began in the morning?

 Ans. Usually, there was a great bustle. The noise could be heard out in the school. Students opened and closed their desks. They repeated the lessons together very loudly. They kept their hands over their ears to understand better. The teacher would go on rapping the table with his great iron ruler.

33. What did Wachter tell Franz? What was the latter’s response?

Ans. Wachter, the blacksmith on reading the latest bulletin about the teaching of German told Franz not to go so fast. He added that he would get to school in plenty of time. Franz thought Wachter was making fun of him so he rushed to school.

34. What did M. Hamel tell the class about French language?

Ans. M. Hamel said that French was the most beautiful language in the world. It was the clearest and the most logical language. The French should guard it among them and never forget. He added that when people are enslaved, as long as they held fast to their language, they had the key to their prison.

35. How was M. Hamel behaviour contrary to how he would usually behave?

 Ans. M. Hamel was solemn and gentle. He was no longer the ruler-wielding teacher. M. Hamel was wearing clothes he wore on special occasion. What he taught seemed so easy to Franz. He explained everything with a lot of patience. It seemed that he wanted to put into their heads at one stroke all that he knew.

 36. How did Franz enjoy their lesson in writing?

 Ans. M. Hamel had made copies for the class. The words ‘France, Alsace, France, Alsace’ were written on them in a beautiful round hand. The pupils set to work quietly.

 37. Why did Franz not want to go to a school that day?

Ans. Franz was reluctant to go to a school that day as he was unprepared with his homework—the rules of participles. M. Hamel was to question the class on the topic and he was scared of the teacher.

38. Why was Franz not scolded for reaching the school late that day?                   

Ans. Franz was late for school. Usually, there was always a great hustle and bustle in the morning. He had hoped to take advantage of that noise and commotion. He wanted to get to his desk without being noticed. But that day he had to go in before everybody. M. Hamel only asked him very politely to take up his seat without scolding him as it was Hamel’s last lesson of French in that school.

39. What did Franz wonder about when he entered the class that day?                  

 Ans. M. Hamel was to question the students on participles. Franz knew nothing about them and feared a scolding. He also wondered about a big crowd he had seen around the notice board at the Town Hall. For a moment he was tempted to run away but he overcame his temptation and hurried off to school.

40. Why were some elderly persons occupying the back benches that day? [All India 2017]

 Ans. Some elderly persons occupied the last benches on the day as it was the last day of the teaching of French. They wanted to pay homage to their country and respect to M. Hamel for his dedicated service of forty years. They regretted having lost the opportunity to learn their own language.

41.”What a thunderclap these words were to me!” (Franz). What were those words and what was their effect on Franz?                                                                                                                     

 Ans. Franz reached the school late on the day of the ‘ant lesson. M. Hamel mounted on his chair. He spoke in a grave and gentle tone and made it clear that it was his last French lesson as an order had come from Berlin. All the schools of Alsace and Lorraine would teach only German from the next day when a German teacher would replace him. The news left Franz shocked and aggrieved as he was going to lose his teacher, and the opportunity to learn his language.

 42. How were the parents and M. Hamel responsible for the children’s neglect of the French language?                                                                                                                                       

 Ans. M. Hamel didn’t scold Franz for neglecting the learning of French. Most of the people of Alsace could neither speak nor write their own language. Their parents preferred to put them to work on a farm or at the mills. Mr Hamel didn’t even spare himself from blame. He had often sent his students to water his flowers instead of learning their lessons.

Important Long/ Detailed Answer Type Questions- to be answered in about 100 -150 words each Value based questions-

Long Answer-type Questions

1. The ban on teaching French strengthened the resolve of the French to learn their language. Give evidence from the text to prove/disapprove the above statement.

Ans. The Last Lesson’ clearly brings out the resolve of the French to hold fast to their language. The order from Berlin imposing German language on them made them more determined to respect and learn their language. This was evident in the last lesson of M. Hamel. All the back benches were occupied by villagers that day, including old Hauser, former mayor, former postmaster, etc. Students in the class were quiet and were eager to make the best of the last opportunity to learn their mother tongue.

Hammel taught the last lesson with immense patience and told his students to safeguard their language. lie reminded them that they would be able to liberate themselves only if they would keep their language with them. Even the students realised the importance of their language and listened to their teacher very carefully. They could not be distracted by beetles or the cooing of the pigeons that day.

2. How was the last lesson different from earlier lessons?

Ans. The last lesson was different from earlier lessons in many ways. It revealed the love and respect of the teacher and students for their mother tongue. M. Hamel spoke very kindly and taught very patiently. He did not scold anybody that day. It seemed as if he wanted to give all that he knew before going away.

He was in his best attire and his ‘iron ruler’ was no more in use. This lesson was attended by villagers to show their love and respect for their mother tongue and M. Hamel. The students listened very carefully and everybody was absolutely quiet. Franz was sorry for not learning his lesson. The last lesson was an emotional time which stirred patriotic feelings and awakened the villagers to the importance of their mother tongue.

3. Justify the title ‘The Last Lesson’.

Ans. The title The Last Lesson’ is significant and conveys the central theme of the story. The title highlights the fact that sometimes even the most precious things in our lives are taken for granted by us. The people of Alsace never gave much thought or importance to their mother tongue. They did not insist that their children should give it wholehearted attention. They did not encourage regular attendance of their children in French classes. They thought there was plenty of time to learn it. They preferred their children to work and earn rather than learn. They received a severe jolt when orders came from Berlin to ban French and make German compulsory. This brutal order from Prussians made them realise the importance of their mother tongue. So they came in full force to attend M. Hamel’s last lesson. In fact, the story shows the awakening of the turn to the importance of their mother tongue. This was displayed by them by attending the last person of the French. Thus, the title The Last Lesson’ reveals the theme of the story and is fully justified.

4. Write a character sketch of little Franz.

 Ans. Franz was a typical schoolboy. He was carefree and hated to go to school. He was afraid of his French Teacher M. Hamel’s ‘iron ruler’. He was more interested in spending his time outside the school. Many times, he missed the school and went in search of ‘bird’s eggs’ or watching the Prussian soldiers drilling at the sawmill. He did not realise the importance of learning his mother tongue till the time his country passed into Prussian hands and teaching French was banned. This came as a thunderbolt to him when he came to school and found it to be his last French lesson. At this point, he lamented the loss of his language. His entire perspective towards the language and the teacher changed. He was surprised to learn and understand everything on the last day and did not find M. Hamel strict during the lesson. He was not able to understand the severity of war and wondered whether “the Pigeons would be made to coo in German”.

5. How did the order from Berlin change

Or

The day of the last lesson was full of regret and sadness. Describe the events of the day in the classroom in light of the above remark.

Or

 “Order from Berlin aroused a particular zeal in the school.” Comment.                        

Or

 “Everybody in the last lesson is filled with regret.” Comment.                                      

Ans. The order from Berlin brought a sense of shock and surprise in the class. As per the order, this was the last French class. Alsace and Lorraine had been captured by the Prussians. So only German was to be taught in the schools. This made all the distinguished village elders feel guilty of ignoring theft mother tongue. So, they all came to the class to showcase their love and respect for their mother tongue and French teacher M. Hamel. The entire school was filled with an air of remorse and regret. There was complete silence. The teacher, M. Hamel, was in his best dress and was full of emotions. Even the students in the class, including little Franz, felt remorse for their indifference to their mother tongue. There was an atmosphere of stillness and quietness in the class.

6. Give a character sketch of M. Hamel.

Ans.M. Hamel was a teacher at a school in a village in the French districts of Alsace and Lorraine. He used to teach the French language. He had been teaching his mother tongue for the last forty years. He loved his profession from the core of his heart and had a deep sense of respect for the mother tongue. He had always been very particular and strict in imparting the knowledge of the language to his pupils. The news, that French would no more be taught in the schools of Alsace and Lorraine and that this was going to be his last lesson, completely shattered a calm and composed man like M. Hamel. He tried his level best to remain calm and composed but broke down at the end. He felt tormented at the fact that people had become indifferent to learning French and appealed to them to keep their language alive.

Hamel was a patriot in the real sense. He regarded the mother tongue to be a means of holding one’s identity and self-respect. He blamed not only the parents and children but himself also for neglecting French.

 His concern and love for his country are evident when, at the end of his last lesson, he writes on the blackboard ‘Vive La France!’ in bold letters.

Value Based Questions and Answers of (The Last Lesson )

Q1. My Last French Lesson! Why! I hardly know how to write! The problem is that students don’t take school seriously and parents are not keen to make them study. Write an article on the role of society and the government in solving the problem.

 Ans. M. Hamel blames himself and the parents for the neglect of learning by the students. The parents would rather send their children to work on farms and in mills (for extra money, rather than attend school. M. Hamel, the teacher would give students a holiday when he wanted to go fishing or wanted them to water the flowers thus neglecting studies. India has a poor literacy rate. The problem of illiteracy and school dropouts persists. This problem can be solved with the efforts of the society and the government. The NGOs and the government can make education need-based and incorporate vocational training into the curriculum. The government can give incentives so that children go to school. Midday meals, free uniform and books can be an incentive. Media can create awareness about the importance of education for removing backwardness and illiteracy.

Q2. What message does the story ‘The Last Lesson’ carry? How relevant is it today?                                                                                                                          

Ans. The story carries the message of the importance of holding on to one’s identity and culture and not losing it or taking it for granted. It emphasizes the importance of holding onto one’s language as the key to our identity. It highlights the importance of one’s language in preserving our heritage and history. In the story, the oppressors were using the ultimate weapon of imposing their language on their captives in a bid to wipe out their national identity and pride. It, therefore, has a strong message for us to take pride in our own language because it gives us our identity which once lost cannot be regained.

3.Bah! I have plenty of time. I’ll learn it tomorrow.

 Franz was shocked when he heard that it was the last lesson in French and he hardly knew his mother tongue.

Many of us find ourselves in similar situations and regret when all is over. What qualities should we inculcate in our life so that we are able to achieve our goals?

Ans. Opportunity knocks the door only once. In fact, everyone gets only one chance in life and if it’s lost there. is no way to redeem it. It is said that hard work can turn the impossible into possible. But along that, value for time is very essential. Most of us are in a habit of delaying things. Unless and until we are consistent and regular in our efforts, we cannot achieve our goals. Setting a goal is an easy a task but the journey to reach that goal is a tedious task and demands perseverance, grit and determination. One has to be focused and consistent in one’s efforts.

To achieve our goal in life, we need to understand the importance of time. Like Franz, we should not delay the efforts and sit comfortably thinking that there is enough time. As we know that time and tide wait for no man. So in order to achieve our goals, we need to be vigilant, consistent, punctual, regular hardworking and a determined person who greatly values time.

4. The people of Alsace and Lorraine did not understand the importance of learning their language French. Emphasising the importance and need for learning one’s native language, discuss what values are revealed when one sets upon learning one’s native language.

Ans. One of the major effects of Westernization is that people have started losing interest in learning their native language. One’s native language is the repository of one’s culture, identity and way of living. As long as one speaks and communicates in one’s language, one can be proud of oneself. Many Indians who live abroad make it compulsory for their family to speak in their native language at home so as to have a sense of belongingness to their country. In fact, the native language binds us with our roots. Every language has its own speciality and the people who speak that language imbibe that speciality. Above all, native language inculcates a sense of pride. A person who doesn’t know his native language is like a slave who has no freedom.

 

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