Q. 1. How different from usual was the atmosphere at school on the day of the last lesson? [Outside Delhi Set I, 2015]
How did the order from Berlin change the situation in the school? [Outside Delhi Set III, 2015]
What changes did the order from Berlin cause in school that day?
Ans. Value Points: – school very quiet and still – usually very noisy – Mr. Hamel with ruler – banging on the desks – lessons repeated in unison – that day Mr. Hamel dressed in his Sunday best – spoke gently and kindly – all very attentive – even small children not distracted – villagers present – feeling of patriotism and regret at not having learnt French when they had the time
Detailed Answer: Usually, there used to be a great bustle of opening and closing of the desks the lesson used to be repeated loudly and the teacher’s ruler would go rapping on the table, but that day everything was very calm and quiet like any Sunday morning. All the students were in their classroom. Mr. Hamel was walking with his iron ruler under his arm. Franz was frightened to enter the class as he thought that he would be scolded badly as he was very late. But to his surprise, Mr. Hamel did not say anything to him, rather he said to him very politely “Go to your place quickly little Franz.” After sitting in his seat, Franz noticed that the teacher was wearing his beautiful green coat, frilled shirt with a little black silk cap having embroidery on it, this type of dress he usually wore for functions or prize ceremonies. Franz noticed that the other villagers including old Hauser, the former Mayor and the former Post master were also present in class and they were sitting on the back benches.
Q. 2. What changes did come over Franz after he heard Mr. Hamel’s announcement? [Comptt., Delhi Set-I, 2010]
How did Franz’s feelings about Mr. Hamel and school change?
Ans. The French districts of Alsace and Lorraine had passed into Prussian hands after the defeat of France. The French teacher, Mr. Hamel told the students that it was their last French lesson he would give them, as an order had come from Berlin to teach only German in the schools. Thus, a new teacher would come the next day. These words felt like a peal of thunder to Franz because he thought he hardly knew how to write French. He felt that he would never learn French anymore and felt sorry for not learning it quite seriously. The books which seemed quite a satire a short while ago and heavy to carry, had now become like friends that he could not give up. Moreover, the thought that Mr. Hamel was going away and that he would never see him again, made Franz forget all about his ruler as well as how eccentric he was.
Q. 3. Franz’s attitude towards the little school as well as Mr. Hamel changes when he comes to know about the take over of his village by the Prussians. Do you agree? Discuss with reference to ‘The Last Lesson’. [CBSE, SQP 2012, 2011]
Ans. When Franz came to know that his village had been taken over by the Prussians, suddenly his attitude changed. Feelings of loyalty were aroused in him. He decided that now, he would pay attention to his lesson. Love for his school and his language suddenly became important to him. He felt that he would never miss his school from the very next day which was in contrast to his attitude of avoiding school earlier. Even, Mr. Hamel became a good teacher. Suddenly, his lesson became interesting. Franz developed an interest in learning the rules of participles. Franz was genuinely upset that Mr. Hamel was leaving the village. He felt that he had hardly learnt to read and write. He was sorry to have wasted his time. He had always been enjoying himself outdoors. He had hated his books. He had dreaded Mr. Hamel and his iron ruler. But his attitude suddenly changed. Mr. Hamel now seemed to him like a gentleman. The sudden threat of losing his very identity sent shivers down his spine and he desperately wanted to learn as much as he could in those forty minutes. The subject was no longer difficult and Mr. Hamel, no longer was a cranky teacher.
Q. 4. Our native language is a part of our culture and we are proud of it. How does the presence of village elders in the classroom and Mr. Hamel’s last lesson show their love for French? [Outside Delhi Set I, 2016]
Ans. Value Points: — old men of the village sitting quietly at the back of classroom — were sad as well as sorry for not having gone to school more often — came to thank the master for forty years of faithful service and to show respect for a country that was theirs no more. — regretted neglecting their language — Mr. Hamel explained everything patiently — appealed to people to preserve ‘French’— holding on to their language will keep them united.
— spoke about the beauty of French language
— was overwhelmed with emotions
— wrote Vive la France on the board in spite of Prussian soldiers marching outside
Detailed Answer: The imposition of German language over the French speaking population can’t be justified at all. It is the worst kind of colonialism. The people of Alsace, particularly the village elders, suddenly realise how precious their language is to them. They come to attend the last class. Students like Franz too are not immune to patriotic feelings. Franz feels sorry for neglecting the learning of French. He hates the idea of German language being imposed on them. He remarks sarcastically: “Will they make them sing in German, even the pigeons”
Mr. Hamel’s love for French is genuine. The shocking order from Berlin arouses patriotic feelings in him. He loves French as the most beautiful language in the world. He calls it the clearest and the most logical language too. He regrets that the people of Alsace have not paid much heed to the learning of this great language. He asks the people to safeguard it among themselves. It is the key to their unity and freedom.
Q. 5. Our language is part of our culture and we are proud of it. Describe how regretful Mr. Hamel and the village elders are for having neglected their native language, French. [Delhi Set I, 2016]
Ans. Value Points: — Mr. Hamel blamed himself and natives for neglecting French — got his flowers watered — had given a holiday when he wanted to go fishing — parents sent children to work — elders showed regret – sat quietly at the back of classroom — Mr. Hamel appealed that they hold fast to their language, a key to their freedom
Detailed Answer: One day Mr. Hamel told everyone that an order had come from Berlin that French would not be taught there any more. Among the listeners were village people, the former Mayor, the former Post master, and the old Hauser. He further told them that instead of French, German was going to be taught. That day, they were going to have their last lesson in French. Those words struck Franz like a thunderbolt. He had hardly learnt to read and write. He was sorry to have wasted his time. The same thought was passing through the minds of other village elders. Then, he praised his mother tongue. He said that French was the most beautiful, most logical and the clearest language in the world. He exhorted the people to stick to it. He assured them that if they held fast to their language, they would be able to get rid of the Prussian rulers. Their language was the key to their freedom from slavery. When the clock struck twelve, he tried to say something but he couldn’t. Then, he wrote in large letters on the blackboard, “Vive La France!”. Mr Hamel reproached himself for his students’ unsatisfactory progress.
Q. 6. How did Mr. Hamel display his love for French language? [Comptt., Set I,II , 2015]
What does Mr. Hamel tell about the significance and safeguarding of French language? How does he conclude his last lesson?
Ans. Mr. Hamel, while talking of the French language, said that it was the most beautiful, the clearest and the most logical language in the world. He said that they must guard it among them and never forget it because when the people are enslaved, as long as they hold fast to their language, it is as if they had the key to their prison. Then, Mr. Hamel opened a grammar book and read the lesson to the students. All he said seemed so easy. He had never explained everything with so much patience. After the grammar, they had a lesson in writing. He requested all of them to hold fast to their language and culture for only their language could get them freedom. The moment they lost their language, they would be colonized forever. Mr. Hamel had new copies for the students, written in a beautiful round hand “France, Alsace”. He had the courage to hear every lesson to the very last. He wanted to say something, but he could not, so he wrote on the black board “Vive La France”! and finally with the gestures of his hand he told the students that the class was dismissed and they could go.
Q. 7. Everybody during the last lesson is filled with regret. Comment. [Outside Delhi Set I, 2015]
Ans. Content : Expression grammatical accuracy, appropriate words and spelling [1½] coherence and relevance of ideas and style [1½] Value Points : Regret in Franz : – wished he had attended classes more often – paid more attention. – found lessons more interesting. The village people regretted : – they had paid less heed to learning their language. – for not letting their wards go to school more often. Mr. Hamel: – for sending his students to water flowers. – giving students a holiday when he wanted to go fishing. Detailed Answer : Yes, it is true that everybody in the Last Lesson is filled with regret. We begin with the narrator. As soon as he heard that it was his last lesson of French, he immediately realised the value of learning French and wished he had done his studies properly. He even wished he had learnt his participles properly.
Mr. Hamel, the teacher regretted that he did not devote all his time in teaching them French. There were times when he had given them a day off as he had gone fishing or he had sent them to water his plants. Now, he wished he had utilized each of those moments.
The villagers and the elderly people of the village also regretted that they had never made an effort to study. They all sat on the last benches in the last class of Mr. Hamel wishing that they had not wasted their time earlier and had studied.
Q. 8. What shows Mr. Hamel’s love for the French language? [Foreign, Set-I, II & III, 2014]
How did Mr. Hamel say farewell to his students and the people of the town? [Outside Delhi Set-I, II & III, 2012]
Ans. Value Points : was filled with emotions/taught them all he could on that one day/blamed himself, for the children not being good in French/told them about the richness of the French language and insisted upon people to old fast to their mother tongue/wrote with tears in his eyes -Vive-La-France.
Detailed Answer: On his last day at school, Mr. Hamel wore his best clothes. He was emotional and serious. He mounted his chair and in a grave and gentle tone, said that this was his last lesson and that an order had come from Berlin that now only German would be taught in the schools of Alsace and Lorraine. Then, he went on to talk about the French language.He made the villagers realize the importance of their language. He spoke about the beauty of it. He expressed his dismay that the whole population of Alsace was responsible for neglecting their mother tongue. He called upon them to guard it among themselves and never forget it. Their language was the key to their unity and liberation.
He, then, read the grammar lesson and later had a lesson in writing. That day, he gave out new copies on which it was written France, Alsace. He heard every lesson. When the clock struck twelve, he started to say something but his throat was choked. In the end, he turned to the blackboard and wrote as large as he could. ‘‘Vive La France!’’He, then, stopped and leaned his head against the wall and made a gesture which said ‘‘School is dismissed, you may go.’’