CBSE Class 12 English Flamingo Book Chapter 1 The Last Lesson
The Last Lesson Summary, Explanation, Word meaning and Question Answers
The Last Lesson – CBSE Class 12 English Chapter 1 The Last Lesson Summary and detailed explanation of the story along with meanings of difficult words. Also, the summary is followed by an explanation of the lesson. All the exercises and Question Answers are given at the back of the lesson, CBSE board questions have also been solved. Also, Take Free Online MCQs Test for Class 12
- The Last Lesson Summary
- The Last Lesson Hindi Summary
- Theme of the Lesson
- The Last Lesson Summary in Hindi Video Explanation
- The Last Lesson Explanation
- The Last Lesson Video Explanation Part 1
- The Last Lesson Video Explanation Part 2
- The Last Lesson Question Answers
- The Last Lesson Extract based questions
- The Last Lesson Important Question Answers
- CBSE Class 12 English Notes, Lesson Explanation, Question Answers
- CBSE Class 12 English MCQ Question Answers
- Class 12 English Flamingo Book Chapter wise word meaning
- Class 12 English Flamingo Poems Word meaning
- Class 12 English Vistas Book Word meanings
- CBSE Class 12 English Important Question Answers
- Character Sketch of Class 12 English
The Last Lesson Summary
Given below is the Summary of the lesson “The Last Lesson”. This summary is followed by a detailed explanation and Question and Answers
The story is narrated by a French boy, Franz. He is lazy but sensitive and likes to play. He dislikes studying French and hates his teacher M. Hamel.
After overpowering their districts of Alsace and Lorraine in France, Berlin has ordered that German language instead of French be taught in the schools there.
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It is the last day of their French teacher M. Hamel, who has been there for forty years. He is full of grief, nostalgia and patriotism. As a mark of respect to his hard work, the village men also attend his ‘last lesson’. They are sad as they did not learn their mother tongue, French in their childhood.
Franz is shocked to know that it’s his last lesson, as he does not know French. Now, suddenly, he gets interested in learning it and understands everything taught on that day!
He develops an instant liking for the teacher, M. Hamel and respects him for his sincerity and hard work.
He feels sad at departing from him and is ashamed for not being able to recite the lesson of participles.
M. Hamel tells them that they all are at fault for not being eager enough to learn, putting it off to the next day. He blames himself for not teaching them sincerely.
His patriotism is reflected in his praise for the French language as being the most beautiful and most logical language in the world. He tells the class to guard their language as being close to one’s language is the key to escape from the prison of slavery. It will help them in getting free from the Germans.
They realize the importance of learning their mother tongue and that they have been defeated by the Germans because of their illiteracy.
Franz feels that it is not possible to take away one’s language from a person as it is natural to each being, may it be the “coo” to the pigeons or “French” to the Frenchmen.
The Last Lesson Summary in Hindi Video Explanation
The Last Lesson Summary in Hindi
कहानी का मुख्य पात्र फ्रांसीसी लड़का फ्रांज है। कहानी एक फ्रांसीसी लड़के फ्रांज द्वारा सुनाई गई है। वह आलसी लेकिन संवेदनशील है और खेलना पसंद करता है। उसे फ्रेंच पढ़ना पसंद नहीं है और वह अपने शिक्षक एम. हैमेल से नफरत करता है।
फ्रांस राज्य के जिलों अलसैस और लोरेन पर अधिकार करने के बाद, बर्लिन ने आदेश दिया है कि वहां के स्कूलों में फ्रेंच के बजाय जर्मन भाषा सिखाई जाए।
यह उनके फ्रांसीसी शिक्षक एम. हैमेल का अंतिम दिन है, जो वहां चालीस वर्षों से पढ़ा रहे है। वे शोक, विषाद और देशभक्ति से भरे है । उनकी कड़ी मेहनत के सम्मान में, गांव के लोग भी उनके ‘अंतिम पाठ’ में शामिल होते हैं। वे दुखी हैं क्योंकि उन्होंने बचपन में अपनी मातृभाषा, फ्रेंच नहीं सीखी थी।
फ्रांज यह जानकर हैरान है कि यह उसका आखिरी पाठ है, क्योंकि वह फ्रेंच नहीं जानता है। अब, अचानक, वह इसे सीखने में दिलचस्पी लेता है और उस दिन पढ़ाया जाने वाला सब कुछ समझता है!
वह शिक्षक एम. हैमेल को अचानक से पसंद करने लग जाता है और उनकी ईमानदारी और कड़ी मेहनत के लिए उनका सम्मान करता है।
वह उनके विदा होने पर दुखी होता है और पार्टिसिपलस को याद ना कर पाने के लिए शर्मिंदा होता है।
एम. हैमेल उन्हें बताता है कि सीखने के लिए पर्याप्त उत्सुक नहीं होने, इसे अगले दिन के लिए टालने के लिए वे सभी दोषी हैं। वह उन्हें ईमानदारी से नहीं सिखाने के लिए खुद को दोषी ठहराता है।
एम. हैमेल फ्रेंच भाषा कि प्रशंसा करते हुए कहते है कि वह विश्व कि सबसे सुन्दर और तर्कपूर्ण भाषा है। इस से उनकी देशभक्ति झलकती है। वह कक्षा को अपनी भाषा की रक्षा करने के लिए कहता है क्योंकि गुलामी की जेल से बचने के लिए अपनी भाषा के करीब होना महत्वपूर्ण है। यह उन्हें जर्मनों से मुक्त होने में मदद करेगा।
वे अपनी मातृभाषा सीखने के महत्व को महसूस करते हैं और जर्मनों द्वारा उनकी निरक्षरता के कारण उन्हें पराजित किया गया है।
फ्रांज को लगता है कि किसी व्यक्ति से किसी की भाषा को छीनना संभव नहीं है क्योंकि यह प्रत्येक प्राणी के लिए स्वाभाविक है। जिस तरह कबूतरों के लिए “कू” कि आवाज स्वाभाविक है उसी तरह फ्रांसीसीयो के लिए उनकी मातृभाषा फ्रेंच भी स्वाभाविक है। या फ्रांसीसी के लिए “फ्रांसीसी” हो सकता है।
The importance of language and its connection with nationalism are the central themes of the chapter “The Last Lesson.” The protagonist of the narrative is a little kid, Franz, whose teacher, M Hamel is compelled to flee his native town in France’s Alsace region because German settlers are annexing it and making German its official language. Now the mother tongue, French will not longer be taught in the schools of Frech districts of Alsace and Lorraine. Even though it is obvious that his students won’t be able to speak French in the future, the narrator’s French teacher, Monsieur Hamel, is determined to give them one more lesson in the language. The teacher emphasizes that language is an integral element of one’s identity and culture and that its suppression constitutes an act of oppression, as done by the enemy country. The French villagers reaize that they have been overpowered by the enemy soldiers because they did not value their country and their mother tongue.
The Last Lesson Video Explanation Part 1
Passage: I started for school very late that morning and was in great dread of a scolding, especially because M. Hamel had said that he would question us on participles, and I did not know the first word about them.
Word Meaning: in great dread of: fear of
Explanation of the above passage: The narrator of the story is a young school-going boy named Franz. That morning, he was scared as he was late for school. Also, as their teacher M. Hamel had announced the previous day that he would test them on the topic of ‘Participles’ and Franz did not know anything at all, he was more scared of being scolded.
Passage: For a moment I thought of running away and spending the day out of doors. It was so warm, so bright! The birds were chirping at the edge of the woods; and in the open field back of the sawmill the Prussian soldiers were drilling.
Sawmill: a factory for cutting wood
Explanation of the above passage: Franz had another option in his mind – to miss school and enjoy the day out in the warm and bright weather. He describes the scene – there were birds chirping on the trees and the noise of the Prussian soldiers doing the drill behind the sawmill could also be heard.
Passage: It was all much more tempting than the rule for participles, but I had the strength to resist, and hurried off to school.
Resist: to stay away
Explanation of the above passage:The scene outside was more attractive than the school but Franz controlled the temptation and chose to attend school.
Passage: When I passed the town hall there was a crowd in front of the bulletin board. For the last two years all our bad news had come from there — the lost battles, the draft, the orders of the commanding officer — and I thought to myself, without stopping, “What can be the matter now?”
Word Meaning :
bulletin-board: a notice board for putting up the latest news and communication
Explanation of the above passage: As Franz walked past the town hall, he noticed a huge crowd at the notice board. The war with Prussia had begun two and a half years ago and since then all the bad news like losing the war, occupation of Alsace and Lorraine by the enemy i.e. Prussia, etc had been communicated to the people through this bulletin board. Franz kept on walking towards the school and thought in his mind that what news could have been put up at the board now.
Passage: Then, as I hurried by as fast as I could go, the blacksmith, Wachter, who was there, with his apprentice, reading the bulletin, called after me, “Don’t go so fast, bub; you’ll get to your school in plenty of time!”
I thought he was making fun of me, and reached M. Hamel’s little garden all out of breath.
Word Meaning: Apprentice: trainee
Explanation of the above passage: As he walked hurriedly towards the school, the blacksmith who was also reading the news and had come along with his trainee called out to Franz from behind and said that he needn’t go in such a hurry as there was plenty of time for him to reach school.
Franz thought that the blacksmith was making fun of him as he was already late for school. When Franz reached the garden outside the school, he was out of breath as he had walked very fast.
Usually, when school began, there was a great bustle, which could be heard out in the street, the opening and closing of desks, lessons repeated in unison, very loud, with our hands over our ears to understand better, and the teacher’s great ruler rapping on the table.
Word Meaning :
a great bustle: a lot of noise created by many people
in unison: at the same time
Explanation of the above passage:Franz describes the usual scene at the school in the mornings – a lot of noise created by the moving of desks, children repeating their lessons and teachers striking the tables with the rulers could be heard.
Passage: But now it was all so still! I had counted on the commotion to get to my desk without being seen; but, of course, that day everything had to be as quiet as Sunday morning.
Word Meaning :
counted on: depended upon
commotion: noise and confusion
Explanation of the above passage:That day was unusual as there was no such sound coming out of the school and it seemed that the school was closed as it used to be on a Sunday morning. Franz had planned that he would take cover under the commotion and reach the class without being noticed but that did not seem possible.
Passage:Through the window, I saw my classmates, already in their places, and M. Hamel walking up and down with his terrible iron ruler under his arm.
Explanation of the above passage:Franz peeped inside his class and saw his classmates seated and M. Hamel, their teacher walking in the class with the ruler made of iron placed under his arm. Franz feared a beating.
Passage:I had to open the door and go in before everybody. You can imagine how I blushed and how frightened I was.
Word Meaning :
Blushed: face turned red in colour due to shame
Explanation of the above passage:Franz was ashamed of being late and feared a scolding as he had to enter the classroom in front of everyone.
Passage:But nothing happened. M. Hamel saw me and said very kindly, “Go to your place quickly, little Franz. We were beginning without you.”
Explanation of the above passage:Franz found it strange as M. Hamel did not say anything and on the contrary, politely asked him to get to his seat,as the class was about to begin without him.
Passage:I jumped over the bench and sat down at my desk. Not till then, when I had got a little over my fright, did I see that our teacher had on his beautiful green coat, his frilled shirt, and the little black silk cap, all embroidered, that he never wore except on inspection and prize days.
Explanation of the above passage:Franz hurried to his seat. After some time when he overcame the scare and became comfortable, he noticed that their teacher had worn his best embroidered that day. The teacher normally wore it on occasions like inspection and prize distribution days. Franz wondered if that day was a normal day, then what could be the reason for M. Hamel to wear his special dress.
Explanation of the above passage: Besides, the whole school seemed so strange and solemn. But the thing that surprised me most was to see, on the back benches that were always empty, the village people sitting quietly like ourselves; old Hauser, with his three-cornered hat, the former mayor, the former postmaster, and several others besides.
Word Meaning: Solemn: serious.
Passage:Franz felt that the atmosphere in the school was unusual and serious. To add to it, the last benches of the classroom were occupied by the senior village men – Hauser, who was wearing his three-cornered hat, the retired mayor, postmaster, etc.
Passage:Everybody looked sad; and Hauser had brought an old primer, thumbed at the edges, and he held it open on his knees with his great spectacles lying across the pages.
Primer: basic reader of any language
Thumbed: torn and damaged
Explanation of the above passage:They all looked sad. Hauser had brought his reader which was old and torn. He had opened it, kept it on his knees and had placed his spectacles on it.
Passage:While I was wondering about it all, M. Hamel mounted his chair, and, in the same grave and gentle tone which he had used to me, said, “My children, this is the last lesson I shall give you. The order has come from Berlin to teach only German in the schools of Alsace and Lorraine. The new master comes tomorrow. This is your last French lesson. I want you to be very attentive.”
Word Meaning :
Explanation of the above passage:Franz was confused and could not figure out what was happening that day. Just then M. Hamel told them that it was their last lesson in French as the Prussians in Berlin had ordered that French language would no longer be taught in the schools of Alsace and Lorraine and that German language be taught instead. The German teacher would arrive the next day and as this was the last lesson in French, he wanted them to pay attention.
Passage:What a thunderclap these words were to me! Oh, the wretches; that was what they had put up at the town-hall!
Word Meaning :
Thunderclap: used in comparison to refer to something startling or unexpected
Wretches: here, it refers to an unfortunate happening
Explanation of the above passage:Franz was shocked to know that he could not learn French any longer and now he knew the latest news that had been put up at the bulletin board of the town hall.
Passage:My last French lesson! Why, I hardly knew how to write! I should never learn any more! I must stop there, then! Oh, how sorry I was for not learning my lessons, for seeking birds’ eggs, or going sliding on the Saar!
Word Meaning :
Saar: a river which passes through France
Explanation of the above passage:Franz regretted for not being serious towards studies and for wasting his time in hunting bird’s eggs and playing in the Saar river.
Passage:My books, that had seemed such a nuisance a while ago, so heavy to carry, my grammar, and my history of the saints, were old friends now that I couldn’t give up.
Word Meaning :
Nuisance: problem, burden
couldn’t give up: cannot leave
Explanation of the above passage:Till now Franz considered his books to be an unwanted burden but suddenly, he starts considering them to be his best friends whom he could never leave. The writer wants to show the change in Franz’s attitude towards study after hearing the news that he could not learn French any longer.
Passage:And M. Hamel, too; the idea that he was going away, that I should never see him again, made me forget all about his ruler and how cranky he was.
Word Meaning :
Cranky: strange, short – tempered
Explanation of the above passage:The news that their teacher M Hamel was leaving also had a similar impact on him. Franz did not want him to go away. He no longer thought the teacher to be short–tempered and strict.
Passage:Poor man! It was in honour of this last lesson that he had put on his fine Sunday clothes, and now I understood why the old men of the village were sitting there in the back of the room.
Word Meaning :
Sunday clothes: the best dress that a person has.
Explanation of the above passage:Now Franz knew that M Hamel was wearing his best dress in honour of this last lesson. He also realized that the village men had come to pay respect and thank M Hamel for his service of forty years in that school.
Passage:It was because they were sorry, too, that they had not gone to school more. It was their way of thanking our master for his forty years of faithful service and of showing their respect for the country that was theirs no more.
Explanation of the above passage:The village men had come to the class as they were also repenting for not have studied well in their childhood. They had come to thank their teacher for his forty years of service as a teacher of French. Also, they wanted to show respect to their country and were sad as their mother tongue – French would no longer be taught to them.
Passage:While I was thinking of all this, I heard my name called.
Explanation of the above passage:The teacher calls out to Franz as it his turn to recite the topic of participles.
Passage:It was my turn to recite. What would I not have given to be able to say that dreadful rule for the participle all through, very loud and clear, and without one mistake?
Word Meaning :
Explanation of the above passage:As the news had impacted Franz, he was eager to study and so, he was desperate to show his eagerness. He wanted to be able to recite the topic in one go and without any mistake and please his teacher. His desperation is reflected in his willingness to give away all that he had in return for reciting the lesson well.
Passage:But I got mixed upon the first words and stood there, holding on to my desk, my heart beating, and not daring to look up.
Word Meaning :
mixed up: confused
Explanation of the above passage:As Franz did not know the lesson, he got confused and stood quietly. His heart was beating fast as he was ashamed of himself and did not have the courage to face his teacher.
Passage:I heard M. Hamel say to me, “I won’t scold you, little Franz; you must feel bad enough. See how it is! Every day we have said to ourselves, ‘Bah! I’ve plenty of time. I’ll learn it tomorrow.’ And now you see where we’ve come out.
Word Meaning :
where we’ve come out: result
Explanation of the above passage:M. Hamel said to Franz that he would not scold him as now he had realized his mistake. Everyday Franz told himself that he would study the next day and now the opportunity to study had ended and he knew nothing.
Passage:Ah, that’s the great trouble with Alsace; she puts off learning till tomorrow. Now those fellows out there will have the right to say to you, ‘How is it; you pretend to be Frenchmen, and yet you can neither speak nor write your own language?’ But you are not the worst, poor little Franz. We’ve all a great deal to reproach ourselves with.”
Word Meaning :
to reproach: blame
Explanation of the above passage:M Hamel says that all the people of Alsace were to be blamed as no one was serious towards learning. He tells the class that the enemies (Prussians) would laugh at them and say that they only show to be Frenchmen as they
can neither speak nor write their own language. He says that Franz should not feel guilty as everyone is at fault.
Passage:“Your parents were not anxious enough to have you learn. They preferred to put you to work on a farm or at the mills, so as to have a little more money. And I? I’ve been to blame also. Have I not often sent you to water my flowers instead of learning your lessons? And when I wanted to go fishing, did I not just give you a holiday?”
Explanation of the above passage:M. Hamel says that Franz’s parents were not interested in getting him educated. They wanted him to work at a farm or a mill and earn some money. He says that as a teacher, he was also not interested in teaching them. He would send them to his home to water the plants. Sometimes, he would declare a holiday and go for fishing.
Passage: Then, from one thing to another, M. Hamel went on to talk of the French language, saying that it was the most beautiful language in the world — the clearest, the most logical; that we must guard it among us and never forget it, because when a people are enslaved, as long as they hold fast to their language it is as if they had the key to their prison.
Explanation of the above passage:M. Hamel praises their mother tongue – French language as being the most beautiful, clearest and most logical language in the world. He tells the class to guard their language as it is the only way to free oneself from the prison of slavery. If a person knows his mother tongue well, no one can enslave him. Knowing the mother tongue well as a language is a tool to fight domination.
Passage:Then he opened a grammar and read us our lesson. I was amazed to see how well I understood it. All he said seemed so easy, so easy! I think, too, that I had never listened so carefully, and that he had never explained everything with so much patience.
It seemed almost as if the poor man wanted to give us all he knew before going away, and to put it all into our heads at one stroke.
Word Meaning :
at one stroke: at once, in one go.
Explanation of the above passage:The teacher took a lesson in grammar. That day Franz was surprised that he understood the lesson with ease. He felt that he had been attentive and that M. Hamel also explained the lesson with a lot of patience. Franz felt that the teacher wanted to give them all the knowledge he had before leaving.
Passage:After the grammar, we had a lesson in writing. That day M. Hamel had new copies for us, written in a beautiful round hand — France, Alsace, France, Alsace.
Explanation of the above passage:After Grammar, they had a lesson in writing. M. Hamel gave the class new notebooks with “France, Alsace, France, Alsace” beautifully written on them.
Passage:They looked like little flags floating everywhere in the school-room, hung from the rod at the top of our desks. You ought to have seen how everyone set to work, and how quiet it was! The only sound was the scratching of the pens over the paper.
Explanation of the above passage:Franz felt that here was an air of patriotism in the class. The notebooks were like flags of France that were floating all around. The entire class was busy writing and the only sound that could be heard was that of the pen writing on the paper.
Passage:Once some beetles flew in; but nobody paid any attention to them, not even the littlest ones, who worked right on tracing their fish-hooks, as if that was French, too.
Word Meaning :
beetles: a large-sized insect
not even the littlest ones: refers to the pigeons
who worked right on tracing their fish-hooks: scratching with their claws.
Explanation of the above passage:Once some mosquitoes flew into the class, but no one panicked as everyone was busy writing. The writer considers the pigeons sitting on the roof of the class to be students as well and says that even the pigeons were busy scratching the roof with their claws and it seemed that they were also busy writing the task of French language.
Passage:On the roof the pigeons cooed very low, and I thought to myself, “Will they make them sing in German , even the pigeons?”
Word Meaning :
Cooed: the sound made by the pigeons
Explanation of the above passage:The ‘coo’ sound of the pigeons could be heard in the class and Franz wondered that would the Prussians force the pigeons also to change their language and coo in German. The writer wants to say that language comes naturally to a being and it cannot be forced upon anyone – be it the pigeons or the French men.
Passage:Whenever I looked up from my writing I saw M. Hamel sitting motionless in his chair and gazing first at one thing, then at another, as if he wanted to fix in his mind just how everything looked in that little school-room.
Word Meaning :
Gazing: looking intently
fix in his mind: store or keep forever
Explanation of the above passage:In between writing, Franz looked at M. Hamel who sat still and stared at the different things in the classroom in succession as if he wanted to memorize the appearance of everything before leaving.
Passage:Fancy! For forty years he had been there in the same place, with his garden outside the window and his class in front of him, just like that.
Only the desks and benches had been worn smooth; the walnut-trees in the garden were taller, and the hopvine that he had planted himself twined about the windows to the roof.
Word Meaning :
worn smooth: had worn out and became smooth due to overuse
Explanation of the above passage:M. Hamel had been teaching at that same place for the last forty years. The only changes were that the desks in the classroom had worn out due to use over the years, the walnut trees in the garden outside had grown taller, the hopvine on the outer wall of the school building had climbed up to the roof.
Passage:How it must have broken his heart to leave it all, poor man; to hear his sister moving about in the room above, packing their trunks! For they must leave the country next day.
Explanation of the above passage:Franz feels that the teacher must be heartbroken to be sent away from a place where he had spent forty years of his life. The noises of his sister packing and moving their luggage could be heard from the room upstairs as they had to leave the next day.
Passage:But he had the courage to hear every lesson to the very last. After the writing, we had a lesson in history, and then the babies chanted their ba, be bi, bo, bu.
Explanation of the above passage:M. Hamel remained composed and heard the lesson from the entire class. After the writing task, there was a lesson of history followed by phonetics where they recited the sounds of alphabets. Franz referred to the class as “babies” because although they were grown up, they were reciting the lesson of phonetics which is usually done by younger children. So, he calls himself and his class to be ‘babies’.
Passage:Down there at the back of the room old Hauser had put on his spectacles and, holding his primer in both hands, spelled the letters with them.
You could see that he, too, was crying; his voice trembled with emotion, and it was so funny to hear him that we all wanted to laugh and cry. Ah, how well I remember it, that last lesson!
Explanation of the above passage:Hauser had put on his spectacles and holding the primer in both his hands, recited the letters with the class. He was crying, his voice trembled as he spoke. Franz had mixed feelings – he found it funny to see how an old man like Hauser was crying and trembling and on the other hand, he also felt emotional like Hauser did. Franz could never forget this last lesson.
Passage:All at once the church-clock struck twelve. Then the Angelus.
Word Meaning :
Angelus: prayer song in the church, the start is marked by the ringing of the bell.
Explanation of the above passage:Just then the clock at the church struck twelve and the prayer song begun.
Passage:At the same moment the trumpets of the Prussians, returning from drill,
sounded under our windows. M. Hamel stood up, very pale, in his chair. I never saw him look so tall.
Word Meaning :
Trumpets: a musical instrument.
Pale: used to describe a person’s face or skin if it has less colour than usual
Explanation of the above passage:At the same moment, the sound of the trumpets played by the Prussian soldiers who were returning from the drill was heard. M. Hamel’s face became dull and colourless as the time had come for the class to get over. He stood straight and motionless and Franz says that he had never appeared to be so tall.
Passage:“My friends,” said he, “I—I—” But something choked him. He could not go on. Then he turned to the blackboard, took a piece of chalk, and, bearing on with all his might, he wrote as large as he could — “Vive La France!”
Word Meaning :
Choked: became unable to speak due to strong emotions
Explanation of the above passage:M. Hamel began to speak but could not continue as he was overpowered by his emotions. He took a piece of chalk and wrote the words “Vive La France” meaning ‘Long Live France’ on the blackboard as large as he could.
Passage:Then he stopped and leaned his head against the wall, and, without a word, he made a gesture to us with his hand — “School is dismissed — you may go.”
Word Meaning :
Gesture: a signal
Explanation of the above passage:Then he stopped writing, bent towards the wall and without speaking anything signalled the class to leave as the class was over.
The Last Lesson Video Explanation Part 2
Question and Answers
Q1. The people in this story suddenly realise how precious their language is to them. What shows you this? Why does this happen?
A. When the village men realize that their mother tongue, French will no longer be taught to them, they realize its importance. Suddenly, they develop an inclination towards learning.
They attend the last lesson of French, bring their old, torn primers to learn the language which shows their eagerness. They regret putting off learning French to the next day. Now, finally, the last lesson has arrived, and they cannot read their own language. They are ashamed of themselves and realize that the Germans have overpowered them due to their lack of knowing their own language.
Q2. Franz thinks, “Will they make them sing in German, even the pigeons?” What could this mean?
A. Franz is disheartened when he comes to know that he can no longer learn his language – French. Their district has been captured by Germany and now German will be taught to them. Franz feels that mother tongue comes to a person naturally, he is born with it and no one can snatch it away.
Just like the pigeons make the ‘coo’ sound, irrespective of the country from which they are, similarly, human beings also communicate in their mother tongue. As the Germans are trying to impose their language on the French, so similarly, Franz feels that they will teach the pigeons also to ‘coo’ in German language. He has given this example to highlight his point that language is a natural mode of communication and it cannot be imposed.
CBSE Class XII Board questions
Q1: Answer in 30 – 40 words: (2)
[CBSE paper, 2012]
What changes did the order from Berlin cause in the school?
A: The order from Berlin directed schools in the districts of Alsace and Lorraine in France to teach German instead of French.
Q2: Answer in 30 – 40 words: (2)
[CBSE paper, 2013]
How did Franz react to the declaration that it was their last French lesson?
A: Franz was shocked and sad when he heard this news. Suddenly he developed a liking for ‘his’ language and was keen to learn French. He was remorseful for not learning well in the past and was sad that his teacher, Mr. Hamel would go away.
Q3: Answer in 30 – 40 words: (2)
[CBSE paper, 2014]
Why were the elders of the village sitting in the classroom?
A: The elders of the village came to the classroom to attend the last lesson of French in the school as a mark of respect to the French teacher Mr. Hamel who had been teaching there for the last forty years. These ‘elders’ had not studied well and could not read and write their mother tongue, French and so as it was the last opportunity for them, they came to attend the class.
Q4. Answer the following question in 120 – 150 words: (6)
[CBSE paper, 2015]
The order from Berlin aroused a particular zeal in the school. Comment.
Q5: Answer the following question in 120 – 150 words: (6)
[CBSE paper, 2016]
Our language is 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, French.
A: When Berlin ordered that French language would no longer be taught in schools in the French districts of Alsace and Lorraine, it stirred the otherwise lazy Frenchmen. Suddenly, they all had a strong desire to learn how to read and write their mother tongue. It was not only the children who went to school but also the elders of the village who had not studied seriously in their childhood, putting off ‘unimportant’ works to the next day. The day finally arrived as the last day of French language in the schools. They become serious and keen to learn as they feel the German would laugh at them for not knowing their own language. They are ashamed of themselves when the teacher says that this lack of knowledge is the reason for their defeat to the Germans and asks them to guard their mother tongue as being close to one’s language is the key to escape from the prison of slavery.
The Last Lesson Extract based questions
1. But now it was all so still! I had counted on the commotion to get to my desk without being seen; but, of course, that day everything had to be as quiet as Sunday morning. Through the window I saw my classmates, already in their places, and M. Hamel walking up and down with his terrible iron ruler under his arm.
1. ‘Counted on’ means___________
a. To count numbers
b. To depend on
c. To borrow
d. To think
2. Find a synonym of disturbance
3. Why did the narrator want to reach his desk without being seen?
a. He was afraid of the enemy soldiers
b. He was afraid of being caught by the teacher
c. He was afraid of his classmates
d. He was afraid of his mother
4. Why was everything quiet on a Sunday morning?
A. It was quiet on a Sunday morning because it was a holiday in the school.
5. State true or False
A. The statement “M. Hamel walking up and down” means that he was walking on the wall of the classroom
2.Ah, that’s the great trouble with Alsace; she puts off learning till tomorrow. Now those fellows out there will have the right to say to you, ‘How is it; you pretend to be Frenchmen, and yet you can neither speak nor write your own language?’ But you are not the worst, poor little Franz. We’ve all a great deal to reproach ourselves with.”
1. Who / what is Alsace?
a. A girl
b. A district
c. not mentioned
d. Both a and b
2. Who are ‘those fellows’?
A. The enemy German soldiers.
3. Why does he call Franz poor?
A. Franz is called poor because he is not learned in his mothertongue the French language.
4. Find a synonym of scold
5. ‘A Great deal’ means
a. A big matter / issue
b. A big business deal
c. both a and b
d. None of these
3.Then, from one thing to another, M. Hamel went on to talk of the French language, saying that it was the most beautiful language in the world — the clearest, the most logical; that we must guard it among us and never forget it, because when a people are enslaved, as long as they hold fast to their language it is as if they had the key to their prison. Then he opened a grammar and read us our lesson. I was amazed to see how well I understood it. All he said seemed so easy, so easy! I think, too, that I had never listened so carefully, and that he had never explained everything with so much patience.
1. How can we guard a language?
A. We can guard a language by not forgetting it and by using it in our daily lives.
2. How is our language the key to the prison of enslavement?
A. One’s language or mother tongue helps one remain attached to the mother land and unites all countrymen because it is a unique thing which is common in the people of one country.
3. Why on that day Franz understood the lesson?
a. It was easy
b. He listened carefully
c. Teacher had taught with patience
d. b and c
4. Find a synonym of surprised
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