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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