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English Class 12th FLAMINGO – PROSE ~ Chapter 1: The Last Lesson ( Alphonse Daudet)

                                      The Last Lesson

The Last Lesson" Class 12 English Flamingo Chapter 1 Explanation ...

1. The Last Lesson
Points to Remember

  • Notice on the Bulletin Board about the war front.
  • Crowd gathered
  • School quiet
  • No sound of desks, lessons, teacher's rule M. Hamel.
  • Did not scold / spoke quietly.
  • Wore green coat, frilled shirt, black silk-cap.
  • Announced last lesson in french, German to be taught.
  • Villagers, Hauser, Postmaster, others on back benches.
  • Everyone working very quietly.
  • Only sound heard was the scratching of pens over paper.
  • Franz's Reaction to Last Lesson in French
  • Shocked, realized that he had not learnt the language, wished
  • he had not wasted time.
  • Felt sorry, repented for wasting time.
  • Appreciated M. Hamel, accepted him with his faults.
  • Wanted to impress M. Hamel but fails in his recitation of participle rules.
  • Understood presence of villagers.
  • to thank master
  • to show solidarity for the country.
  • repenting for not attending the school.
  • M. Hamel made the Class realize they were
  • reluctant to learn, postponed learning
  • parents sent them to work
  • himself sent students to water his plants.
  • all to blame for the situation
  • too late to make amends
  • no time to make up for lost time
  • Germans would laugh at their inability to speak French
  • Main Characters
  • 1. M. Hamel
  • sincere French teacher, teaching French for the last 40 years.
  • knows subject very well
  • passionate about French
  • considers French - clearest, most beautiful and logical language.
  • feels language as a key to guard oneself.
  • proud of being French
  • upset by occupation of Alsace by Germans
  • attached to town, School, People.
  • particular about discipline and learning
  • last day made students do exercise on all aspects of language.
  • blamed himself for being selfish. emotional, could not utter a word at the end of the class

2. Franz
  • sensitive, honest
  • blames himself for ignoring lessons
  •  feels greatly embarrased after the announcement by M. Hamel
  • about the lesson being the last lesson

  • filled with a deep sense of regret.
  • pays the utmost attention to every word
  • fears that even the pigeons would have to coo in German
  • understands feelings of Hauser
  • is a good observer, notices changes
  • empathizes with M. Hamel
  • understands M. Hamel's emotions, accepts him with his faults.
  • The Last Lesson – becomes the most memorable lesson for him.

Answer the following questions in about 30-40 words each :–
1. Why was Franz reluctant to go to school?
Ans. His French teacher said that he would ask questinos on pariticiples. He had not prepared and learnt the rules about participles.

2. Why had M. Hamel put on his fine Sunday Clothes?
Ans. After the order from Berlin had come, that only German would be taught in schools and not French M. Hamel knew that it was his last French lesson. It was honour of the last lesson that he had put on his fine Sunday clothes which he put on inspection and Prize Distribution Day.

3. Why were the villagers sitting there in the back of the classroom?
Ans. The villagers - Old Houser, postmaster and several others were there in the classroom because it was their way of showing respect for their country and thanking M. Hamel for his forty years of faithful service. They too felt sorry that they had not been to school.

4.For Franz, what was more tempting than going to school and why?

Ans.Franz was tempted to run away and spend the day out of doors because it was very warm and bright outside. The birds were chirping at the edge of the woods and in the open field on the back of the sawmill, the Prussian soldiers were drilling.

5. How does M. Hamel appreciate their mother tongue? Why?

Ans. Hamel told them that french was the most beautiful language in the world.It was the clearest and the most logical language. He asked them to guard it among them and never forget it. He gave a reason also.

Long Answer Type Questions

1. Our language is a part of our culture and we are proud of it.

Describe how regretful M. Hamel and the village elders are for having neglected their native language.
Ans. Value Points
 According to the latest order from Berlin, only German was to be taught in the schools to Alsace & Lorraine
 This affected everyone badly as everyone was repenting on having wasted the time and not learning French
 M. Hamel felt guilty for sending his students for his personal tasks
 The parents of the students never bothered and sent children to work on a farm or at mills
 Elders showed regret too – they neither learnt French themselves nor did they encourage their children
 Of course, M. Hamel, villagers and even Franz - all were honest enough to accept the mistake of neglecting French language

2. Write a Speech for your morning assembly on the topic "Significance of lanuage / Mother Tongue in our Life"
Ans.Value Points
 language empowers countrymen
 Better understanding of the Subject-matter
 used as a weapon to fight a cause
 better expression
 everyone should feel proud of one's mother tongue.

Question.1. What tempted Franz to stay away from school? (Delhi 2014; Medtffot)
Answer. Franz feared a scolding at school as he had not prepared hte lesson on participles, on which his French teacher M Hamel was to question the class that day. Besides* the warm and bright weather, the chirping of birds and the watching the drill of Prussian soldiers also tempted Franz to stay away from school.
Question.2. What was unusual about M Hamel’s dress on his last day in the school?
(Compartment 2014)
Answer. M Hamel had put on his ceremonial clothes on his last day in the school. He was wearing a beautiful green coat, a frilled shirt, and a little black embroidered silk cap. This was a special ceremonial attire which he usually wore on days of inspection and prize distribution.
Question.3. Why is the order from Berlin called a thunderclap by Franz? (Compartment 2014)
“What a thunderclap these words were to me!” What were the words that shocked
and surprised the narrator? : (Delhi 2013)
Answer. M Hamel told his students that it was their last French lesson, as an order had come from Berlin that henceforth only German was to be taught in the schools of Alsace and Lorraine. This announcement seemed to be a thunderclap to Franz. He was left in surprise and shock to learn that a new master was going to arrive the next day and they would learn German instead of their mother tongue.
Question.4. Who were sitting on the back benches during M Hamel’s last lesson? Why? (Compartment 2014)
Why had the villagers come to school on the day of the last lesson? (Foreign 2008)
Why were the elders of the village sitting in the classroom? (Allindia 2014)
Answer. Some of the elderly people from the village were sitting on .the back benches during M Hamel’s last lesson. The villagers had come there to attend his last lesson as it was their way of paying respect to the master, who had given forty years of faithful service to the school.
Question.5. Why does M Hamel reproach himself for his students, unsatisfactory progress in
Studies? (Compartment 2014)
Answer. M Hamel had been rather irregular as a teacher. He took leave whenever he wanted to. Besides, he had often sent the students to water his plants, and whenever he wanted to go fishing, he just gave them a holiday. So, he reproaches himself for his students’ unsatisfactory progress in studies.
Question.6. What shows M Hamel’s love for the French language? (Foreign 2014)
What did M Hamel tell them about the French language? What did he ask them to
do and why? (Delhi 2013)
Answer. In his last lesson, M Hamel told the students that the French language was the most beautiful language in the world—the clearest and the most logical. He asked them to guard it amongst themselves and never forget it, because when a people were enslaved, as long as they held fast to their language, it was as if they had the key to their prison.
Question.7. What words did M Hamel write on the blackboard before dismissing the last class?
What did they mean? (Compartment 2014)
Answer. Before dismissing the last class, M Hamel turned to the blackboard, and wrote the phrase, ‘Vive La France!’ as large as he could. These words meant ‘Long live France’, and spoke of M Hamel’s great love for his country and his deep sense of patriotism.

Question.8. What made M Hamel cry towards the end of his last lesson? (Compartment 2014)
Answer. M Hamel had taught French at the school for the last forty years. He was emotionally attached to the school and everything in and about it. He was really heartbroken to leave it all. Besides, his own predicament reminded him that his country would soon lose its independence. All this made him cry towards the end of his last lesson.
Question.9. How did Franz react to the declaration that it was their last French lesson? (Delhi 2013)
What announcement did M Hamel make? What was the impact of this on Franz?
(All India 2011)
‘‘This is your last French lesson.” How did Franz react to this declaration of M Hamel? (Delhi 2010)
What changes came over little Franz after he heard M Hamel’s announcement?
(All India 2010)
What did the French teacher tell his students in his last French lesson? What impact did it have on them? (All India 2009)
Answer. The French teacher M Hamel announced that he would be teaching his last French lesson that day because the orders had come from Berlin to teach only German in the schools of Alsace and Lorraine. On hearing this, all the students as well as Franz felt very sorry that they would not be learning their mother tongue in future. Franz regretted not having learnt his lessons. Earlier his books seemed a nuisance to him, but at that moment they became very dear to him.

Question.10.What was the order from Berlin and what changes did it cause in the school?
(AU India 2013)
What changes did the order from Berlin cause in the school? (Delhi 2012)
What was the mood in the classroom when M Hamel gave his last French lesson?
(Delhi 2009)
Answer. The order from Berlin stated that only German will be taught in the schools of Alsace and Lorraine. The order effected many changes, as an unusual silence prevailed in the school, compared to the hustle and bustle earlier. M Hamel became soft in speaking to the students, while the people realised the importance of their language. The villagers even attended the school to show respect to M Hamel.
Question.11. How did M Hamel say farewell to his students and the people of the town?
(All India 2012)
Answer. At the end of his ‘Last Lesson’,. M Hamel stood up to say farewell to his students and the people of the town. He tried to speak, but overwhelming emotion choked his voice. He then wrote as large as he could on the blackboard ‘Vive La France’; then he dismissed the class with a gesture with his hand.
Question.12. What was Franz expected to be prepared with for the school that day? (Delhi 2011)
Answer. Franz was expected to be prepared with participles that day. His teacher M Hamel, was to question him on the topic. Franz had not learnt his lessons and feared to be scolded by him.
Question.13. What had been put up on the bulletin-board? (Delhi 2011)
Answer. Since the last two years the bulletin-board had news of lost battles, the draft and the orders of the commanding officer. On that day a notice had been put up stating that orders from Berlin were to teach only German in the schools of Alsace and Lorraine.
Question.14. Who did M Hamel blame for the neqlect of leaminq on the part of boys like Franz?
(Delhi 2011)
Answer. M Hamel blamed himself for the neglect of learning on the part of boys like Franz. He himself was not quite regular and took leave whenever he needed it, which reflected on the behaviour and studies of the students. He also blamed their parents for not taking mterest in their education.
Question.15. Franz thinks, “Will they make them sing in German, even the pigeons?” What does
this tell us about the attitude of the Frenchmen? (All India 2011)
Answer. This shows that the Frenchmen were full of hatred and desperation against the Germans. Besides, they feared German atrocities. They thought that they would be forced to read German and no one will be spared.
Question.16. Mention two thingsLabout M Hamel that surprised Franz on his last day at school.
(Foreign 2009)
Answer. M Hamel didn’t scold Franz for being late; instead he told him very kindly to go to his place. Also, that day he was dressed in his best clothes; he was in his beautiful green coat, frilled shirt and little black silk cap with embroidery, which he wore only on inspection or prize days.
Question.17. How was the scene in the school in the morning of the last lesson different from that
on other days? (Delhi 2008)
Answer. Usually, there used to be great hustle and bustle when the school began. The din of opening and closing of the desks, lessons being repeated in unison and the rapping of the teacher’s ruler on the table, could be heard out in the street. But that day, it was all very quiet and still as on a Sunday morning.
Long Answer Type Question 
Question.1. What changes did the narrator find in the school when the order from Berlin came?
(Ail India 2008)
Answer. The order from Berlin prohibited teaching of French in the schools of Alsace and Lorraine. Instead, German was to be taught in the schools. Franz was late for school that day. He noticed that the hustle and bustle was missing. There was no opening and closing of desks, no repetition of lessons or rapping of the teacher’s ruler on the table could be heard. It was all very quiet and still.
Franz was further surprised because, instead of meeting an angry teacher, he was welcomed by a kind and polite teacher, who was dressed in his best clothes, a beautiful green coat, frilled shirt and an embroidered silk cap, which he wore only on inspection and prize days. The back benches were occupied by the village people who never came to school, as they were more concerned about their livelihood. He was further astounded to know that , M Hamel was going to teach his last lesson that day.

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