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The Last Lesson
By- Alphonse Daudet
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
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.
“Order from Berlin aroused a particular zeal in the school.” Comment.
“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 ‘Viva La France!’ in bold letters.