1. What was Franz expected to be prepared with for school that day?
Ans. Franz was expected to be prepared with the lesson on ‘participles. His teacher, M. Hamel, had announced an oral test on participles, but Franz didn’t know anything about the rules of participles.
2. What did Franz notice that was unusual about the school that day?
Ans. When he reached the school, Franz was surprised to find everything still and quiet as if it was a Sunday morning. His teacher, M. Hamel, was dressed in his green coat, frilled shirt and black cap he used to wear this formal dress only on special days. Moreover, the last benches of the classroom were occupied by the village elders who looked very sad.
3. What had been put up on the bulletin board?
Ans. An order from Berlin had been put up on the bulletin board. It stated that from the next day only German would be taught in the schools of Alsace and Lorraine.
4. What changes did the order from Berlin cause in the school that day?
Ans. The order from Berlin created an atmosphere of dismay at the school. Everything became quiet and still. Everyone was shocked and upset. The teacher, M. Hamel, was highly depressed. He had put on his finest dress which he used to wear only on special days. Some elders of the village also came to attend the class as a mark of respect to their mother tongue and to the teacher.
5. How did Franz feelings about M. Hamel and school change?
Ans. M. Hamel was a very strict teacher. Franz didn’t like him and always wanted to spend his time and outside and bunk his class. But when he came to know that it was going to be the last lesson French would no more be taught to them, he felt a great love for the language and the teacher. He started understanding whatever M. Hamel taught.
Understanding the Text
6. The people in this story suddenly realise how precious their language is to them. What shows you this, Why does this happen?
Ans. People of Alsace and Lorraine were shattered and shocked to read the order that came from Berlin As per this order French would no more be taught in schools. Only German was to be taught. This order made them realise what they were going to miss. Their basic right to learn the mother tangle was taken away from them. This evoked patriotism and love for mother tongue in them. They were full of remorse and regretted that they had not given importance to their mother tongue earlier.
As a mark of respect to their mother tongue and the French teacher, M. Hamel, the eminent people of the village came to attend the last lesson of M. Hamel, Hauser had brought an old primer. Even the little children were shocked. Franz who never liked to learn the language found himself in a state of shock and suddenly started developing a liking for the language as well as for his teacher.
7. Franz thinks, “Will they make them sing in German, even the pigeons?” What could this mean?
Ans. This shows the patriotic fervour and love of French people for their mother tongue. Even a small boy like Franz was very upset at the fact that he would be deprived of his own language. He wondered if the pigeons would also be made to sing in German. In fact, it is a remark on the hollowness of man’s authority. Man can exert authority only on human beings, but not on nature.