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The Last LessonOld SpringUnit 3Unit 4Unit 5Unit 6Unit 7Unit 8


Q.1. 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.

 Q.2.  What was Franz expected to be prepared with for the 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 on this topic in grammar.

 Q.3.  What did Franz notice that was unusual about the school that day?

Ans:  Franz noticed a crowd in front of the bulletin board. Nobody seemed to be in a hurry to reach the school. Everything was still. There was no commotion that day and everything was as quiet as on a Sunday morning. Even Mr. Hamel was not annoyed when Franz walked into the classroom late.

 Q.4.  What had been put up on the bulletin board?

Ans:  The crowd in front of the bulletin board indicated the display of some important news item on it. Later, Franz realised that the news was about an order sent 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 since German language would be taught from the next day onward.

 Q.5.  Why were Mr. M. 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 realised that he hardly knew how to write and would not get a chance to learn any more of 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.

 Q.6.  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, were sorry for not having gone to school often. It was their way of thanking the teacher for his forty years of faithful service and showing their respect for the country that was no more theirs.

 Q.7.  What was Hamel’s reaction when Franz could not answer his question in the 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.

 Q.8.  What did Hamel blame Franz for?

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

 Q.9.  Write a note on the character of M. Hamel as a teacher.

Ans:  M. Hamel, the French teacher, comes across as an example of discipline, punctuality and patriotism. He is introduced by the narrator as a ruler-wielding strict teacher who is domineering and particular. He is adamant that his students learn their lessons well. He is a hard taskmaster and students like Franz, who are not good learners, are in great dread of being scolded by him. 

M. Hamel, however, emerges as a dedicated, true facilitator and guide for his pupils when he teaches his last lesson. His domineering tone fades away and his love for his subject becomes more prominent. As a patient teacher, he makes Franz realise why he insisted on learning the lesson in time and not postponing the learning. He is also seen as a true patriot for he loves his country and its language. At the end, he emerges as a man of deep emotions and sentiments when he proudly writes on the blackboard ‘Viva La France’. M. Hamel is a truly devoted teacher, a competent guide and a patriot to the core.

 Q.10. Why was Franz tempted to play truant from school?

Ans:  The French teacher M Hamel was going to ask questions on participle which Franz had not prepared. To avoid being scolded he was tempted to play truant from school and spend the day out doors in a pleasurable manner.

Q.11. Why was it the last lesson? How did Franz react to it?

Ans:  As the order from Berlin had come to teach German in all schools of Alsace and Lorraine there would be no French lesson form the next day M Hamel announced in the class. The announcement was like a thunderclap to Franz. He felt sorry for not learning French. The French books, which earlier were nuisance, became attractive. He felt he could not give up his French books.

Q.12. What reasons did M Hamel give for their lack of interest in learning French?

Ans: The lack of interest in learning French was due to the parents who wanted their children to work in farm or mill to earn, due to the students who were reluctant to learn and often put off the lesson for the next day and due to himself as he asked them to water the flower and gave them off when he had to go for fishing

Q.13.  Why does not M Hamel want the people to forget French?

Ans:  M Hamel wanted them not to forget French as it is the most beautiful and logical language and as long as they hold fast to their language it would be as if they had the key to the prison.

Q.14. Describe how M Hamel conducted the last lesson.

Ans: . In his last French class though M Hamel was emotional he fully involved himself in the teaching learning process. He heard every lesson to the last sitting motionless in the chair. When the church bell struck twelve he stood up pale and wrote ‘Vive La French’ and with a gesture he communicated that the school is dismissed.

Q.15. Justify the title of the story ‘The Last Lesson’.

Ans:  The story ‘The Last Lesson’ highlights the human tendency that there is plenty of time to do things; hence, 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 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 the school and collect birds’ eggs. However, the unexpected happens and an order is received from Berlin regarding compulsory teaching of German in the schools of Alsace and Lorraine. It is then that they realise that they would be deprived of what they had been evading all this while.

The last French lesson taught by M. 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, defeat of the French people and the resultant threat to their language and culture.

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 that is reflected in his motionless posture, his fixed gaze on things in the classroom and his eventual words- ‘School is dismissed – You may go’.

 

Q.16. ‘The Last Lesson’ teaches us very important lessons of life. Discuss.   

Or 
Discuss the theme of the lesson.

Ans:  ‘The Last Lesson’ highlights the human tendency to postpone the learning of things because one feels there is plenty of time to do so. One does not realise that each day brings with it changing circumstances that change life for better or worse. Alphonse Daudet also, fleetingly, asks the reader to value time, freedom and peace. One never knows what a new dawn would bring with it that might end our hopes and aspirations. 

Through the narrator, the author urges the reader to respect his country, its people, its culture and specially its language for ‘it has key to their freedom’. The natives of Alsace realise their folly of not giving due importance to the study of French in their school days.

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