Summary of ‘The Last Lesson’
This chapter revolves around the narrator of this chapter who wants to spend his day out of doors listening to chirping of birds and looking at Prussian soldiers drilling. Besides, he is feared of being reprimanded by his French teacher as he has not gone through the rules of participles given as homework by his French teacher.
Somehow, he overcomes his temptation and moves towards his school. At town hall, he finds a huge crowd in front of bulletin board which is famous for all the bad news such as draft, commanding orders of officers etc. He turns a blind eye and reaches his school. On reaching his school, he finds that there is no hustle and bustle in his school, there is no opening and closings of desks, and no lesson is being repeated in unison. Besides, he notices that he is the sole one outside the class whereas the rest of the students are seated.
The moment he enters, M.Hamel tells him that they were beginning the class without him. M.Hamel neither scolds nor beats him. When the narrator overcomes his fears, he looks up and finds his teacher wearing unusual clothes which he wears on special days. Besides, he finds that the back benches, which always remained vacant, were occupied by the rural as well as urban people.
Before he could understand what the matter was, his teacher narrates and each and everything from the scratch. He tells all the students that an order has come from Berlin to teach German in the schools of Alsace in place of French. These words astonish little Franz and later make him realize the importance of his mother tongue.
After that, M.Hamel starts putting up questions on participles. When Franz turn comes, he gets mixed up in first few words, but not scolded by M.Hamel. He holds his parents as well as himself responsible for the poor performance of the children. Moreover, he holds their habit of putting off till tomorrow responsible too.
Then, he starts preaching them about the importance of their mother tongue and request all of them to guard it. Soon, the church clock strikes twelve and M.Hamel, with his heavy heart, bids adieu to his students. He writes ‘Vive La France’ which means long live France on the board.
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CHAPTER 1 – THE LAST LESSON (Short Answer Type Questions)
Q1. What was Franz expected to be prepared with for that day?
Franz was expected to be prepared with the rules of participles for that day given by M. Hamel as homework to be learnt. But, he did know the first word of it. As a result he feared that M. Hamel would scold him.
Q2. Why did Franz want to spend his day out of doors?
Franz was aware of the fact that his teacher would certainly ask him to recite the rules of participles and he did not know the first word of it. Moreover, he was known to the cranky nature of this teacher. Keeping all the things in mind, he decided to spend his day out of doors.
Q3. What was Bulletin Board? What had been put on it?
Bulletin Board was a kind of notice board that was famous for all the bad news such as; draft, lost battle, order of commanding officers & other bad news. But the latest information on the board was about the German rulers’ order banning the teaching of French in Alsace and Lorraine.
Q4. What was the order came from Berlin that day?
The order that came from Berlin that day was about the banning of French language in the schools of Alsace and Lorraine. Now, French was going to be replaced by German as a language.
Q5. What changes did the order from Berlin cause in school that day?
Plenty of changes could be seen on that day in the school. On entering the school, Franz noticed that the day was as silent as of Sunday’s morning. There was no noise of opening and closing of desks, lessons being repeated, students were sitting silently in the class & the back benches which always remained vacant were occupied by the villagers & his teachers was wearing his unusual clothes that were green coat, frilled shirt and black silk cap.
Q6. What did the narrator observe while passing the town hall?
The narrator noticed a huge crowd standing in front of bulletin board. The sight troubled him because, for the past two years they had received all the bad news from there.
Q7. How was Franz treated by M. Hamel in the class?
Franz had expected a severe punishment & Scolding from M. Hamel before entering the class. But on entering, he was taken aback as M. Hamel asked him to take his seat and listen to the lesson carefully.
Q8. What was the thing that shocked everybody in the class?
The news of M. Hamel’s departure shocked each and everybody in the class. M. Hamel himself announced this news in front of all the students and the villagers sitting in the class.
Q9. Why had the villagers occupied the back benches of the class that day?
The beck benches were occupied by the villagers to thank their master for his forty years meritorious service. Moreover, they wanted to repent for their guilt for not being regular and serious towards their mother tongue and country.
Q10. How did the narrator recite the rules of participle? Was he disrespected in the class?
When narrator turn came to recite the rules of participle, he got mixed up & confused. He was, not at all, disrespected by M. Hamel as he didn’t want to hurt or beat anyone before leaving the school.
Q11.”We’ve all a great deal to reproach ourselves with” what did M. Hamel mean by this statement?
Who does M. Hamel hold responsible for the poor performance of the children in the class?
According to M. Hamel, both parents and he himself were responsible for the poor performance of the children. Parents wanted their children to work on the fields or at sawmill just for the sake of little amount and he sent children for watering his plants and for holidays when he had to go for fishing and outing. So he wanted people and him to reproach their doings.
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