|India People Economy
1. How did Franz react to the declaration: 'This is your last French lesson'?
The words appeared startling and unexpected like a thunderclap. He now understood why there was a crowd at the bulletin board, why the village people had come to school, why the teacher was. dressed in his Sunday best and why there was sadness and silence in the school.
2. Why were the elders of the village sitting in the classroom?
M. Hamel was taking the class of last French lesson. That is why elders of the village were sitting in the classroom to attend it. It was done not only to pay respect to M. Hamel but to pay respect to his own language.
3. How did M. Hamel feel and behave during the last lesson?
M. Hamel was solemn and gentle. He sat motionless in his chair (luring the writing lesson. Its gazed at one thing or the other. Perhaps he wanted to Its in his mind how everything looked in that little school room. Surely, it must have broken his heart to leave it all after forty years.
4. How had Franz hoped to get to his desk? What had he to do and why?
Franz had hoped to get to his desk unseen during the commotion. But that day it was quite quiet. So Franz had to open the door and go in before everybody. He blushed as he was late. He was frightened that the teacher might rebuke him, but M. Hamel spoke kindly to him that day.
5. Why had the villagers come to school that day? How did they look?
The villagers had come there to thank M. Hamel for his forty years of faithful service. They also wanted to show their respect to the country that was theirs no more. They were sorry that they had not gone to school more. They were sitting quietly and looked sad.
6. What did M. Hamel tell them about French language? What did he ask them to do and why?
M. Hamel told them that French was the moat 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. When a people were enslaved, as long as they held fast to their language, they had the key to their prison.
7. Why do you think was little Franz afraid of being scolded?
Franz was afraid of being scolded that day especially because M. Hamel, the teacher, had said that he would question them on participles. Franz frankly admits that he was totally ignorant about the topic. His exact words are: “I did not know the first word about them.” Secondly, he had started for school very late that morning.
8. "What can be the matter now?" says Franz. Why, do you think did he make this comment?
There was a bulletin-board near the town-hall. When Franz passed by it, he noticed a crowd there. He did not stop to look at it. He wondered what could be the matter then. For the last two years they had received all the bad news from the bulletin-board—the lost battle, conscription and the orders of the commanding officer.
9. What was the usual scene when Franz's school began in the morning?
Usually, when the school began, there was a great bustle. The noise could be heard out in the school. Students opened and closed their desks. They repeated the lessons together very loudly. They kept their hands over their ears to understand better. The teacher would go on rapping the table with his great iron ruler.
10. "He had the courage to hear every lesson to the very last." What led Franz to make this remark?
Franz noticed that M. Hamel was feeling sad on having to leave the place after 10 years and not being allowed to teach French any longer. Yet, he kept control on his emotions. He performed his duties faithfully. He heard every lesson to the last. The school was dismissed only at mid-day prayer time.
11. "Ah, how well I remember it, that last lesson!" says the narrator. Which scene does he remember more vividly than the others?
The narrator remembers the scene of old Hauser spelling the letters from the primer with the babies. He too was crying. His voice trembled with emotion. It was so funny to hear him that all of them wanted to laugh and cry at the same time.
12. "It was all much more tempting than the rule for participles." What did Franz find 'much more tempting'? How did he finally react?
Franz found that it was a very warm and bright day. The birds were chirping at the edge of woods. The Prussian soldier were drilling in the open field at the back of sawmill. He could gladly spend life out of doors. However, he had the strength to resist the temptation. Finally, he hurried off to school.
13. What three things in school surprised Franz most that day?
First, M. Hamel, the teacher had put on his fine Sunday clothes-his beautiful green coat, frilled shirt and the little black silk cap, all embroidered. Second, the whole school seemed quite strange and solemn. Thirdly, the village people were sitting quietly like school children on the back benches that usually remained empty.
14. "What a thunderclap these words were to me!" Which were the words that shocked and surprised the narrator?
M. Hamel, the teacher, told the children in a solemn and gentle tone that it was their last French lesson. Henceforth, only German would be taught in the schools of Alsace and Lorraine. The new master would come the next day. As that was their last French lesson, he wanted them to be very attentive. The teacher's kind gesture and use of soft words shocked and surprised the narrator.
15. How did M. Hamel behave as the last lesson came to an end?
M. Hamel stood up in his chair. He looked very pale and tall. He wanted to say some parting words, but something choked him. Then he wrote 'Vive La France!" on the blackboard with o piece of chalk. Then he stopped. He leaned his head against the wall. Without a word, he made a gesture to the students with his hand to permit them to go as the school was over.
16. Comment on the appropriateness of the title 'The Last Lesson'.
The story has an appropriate ans suggestive title. It is the center of attention throughout and the whole story revolves around it. The beginning for the story serves as preparation for it. The unusual quietness at school, presence of village elders and the teacher in his Sunday best dress—all point out to the unusual and unique occasion-the last lesson in French in a French village school in a district conquered by the Prussians. While delivering the last lesson, the teacher wants to transmit all his knowledge in one go. He explains everything with patience and the students as well as old villagers listen attentively.
For the narrator it is an unforgettable experience. “Ah, how well I remember it, that last lesson," says he. Old Hauser is crying and his voice trembled with emotion. As the teacher is unable to express his emotions because of choked throat, he ends the lesson by writing 'Vive La France' on the blackboard. He makes a gesture with his hand to indicate that the school is dismissed and students can go home.
17. What do you think is the theme of the story 'The Last Lesson'? What is the reason behind its universal appeal?
The theme of the story 'The Last Lesson' is linguistic chauvinism of the proud conquerors and the pain that is inflicted on the people of a territory by them by taking away the right to study or speak their own language and thus make them aliens in their own land of birth. The story has a sub—theme also. It highlights the attitudes of the students and teachers to learning and teaching.
Though the story is located in a particular village of Alsace district of France which had passed into Prussian hands, it has a universal appeal. It highlights the efforts of the victors to crush their victims—the vanquished people in all possible manner—materially, spiritually, mentally and emotionally. Taking away mother tongue from the people is the harshest punishment. The proper equation between student and teacher, his focused attention, helpful and encouraging attitude and kind treatment can encourage students to learn better.
18. What impression do you form of M. Hamel on the basis of your study of the story 'The Last Lesson'?
M. Hamel is an experienced teacher who has been teaching in that village school for forty years. He imparts primary education in all subjects. He is a hard task master and students like Franz, who are not good learners, are in great dread or being scolded by him.
The latest order of the Prussian conquerors upset him. He has to leave the place for ever and feels heart broken. lie feels sad but exercises self-control. Ile has the courage to hear every lesson to the last.
His performance during the last lesson is exemplary. He is kind even to a late comer like Franz. He uses a solemn and gentle tone while addressing the students. He has a logical mind and can analyse problems and deduce the reasons responsible for it. The problem for Alsace is that she (the district) puts off learning till tomorrow.
He knows the emotional hold of a language over its users. He is a good communicator and explains everything patiently. Partings are painful and being human, M. Hamel too is no exception. lie fails to say goodbye as his throat is choked. On the whole, he is a patriotic gentleman.
19. War causes destruction and spreads hatred. People feel insecure. Discuss the disadvantages of war keeping in mind Franco-Prussian war (1870−71).
War is a great threat to mankind. Fear, anxiety, tension and hatred are some of the offsprings of war. No individual is in favour of this brutal act. Innocent people lose their life because of the vested interests of some of the corrupt politicians. Moreover, war is not the solution to any problem. It only increases the hiatus between two nations. The desire to overpower the other disseminates hatred and the feelings of enmity. The aftermaths of Hiroshima and Nagasaki are evident before us. It should also be remembered that each nation is trying its level best to become a nuclear power. A nuclear bomb has the power to devastate nations. Thousands of people will lose their lives. There will not be any survivor. If someone is left alive, he/she will be crippled. There is no doubt that war has put the human existence at stake. We have heard seers say that one should shed one’s ego. The nations should also feel equally important. No nation is self-sufficient. Peace enhances creativity and productivity. The concept of a global village should be followed by all countries. Thus war does not benefit any individual. It must not be encouraged.
20. It is often said that each language is unique in itself. No language is superior or inferior. People need to understand that a language is one of the means of communication. Discuss this statement in the light of the following lines:
"My children, This is the last lesson I shall give you. The order has come from Berlin to teach only German in schools of Alsace and Lorraine. The new master comes tomorrow. This is your last French lesson............"
Language is always considered a medium of communication. Man is a gregarious animal. He has to interact with the fellow human beings. Therefore a set of complex symbols is designed to serve this purpose. We must ruminate over the past before discussing the status of a language. There are innumerable man made problems. At the dawn of civilization there was no discrimination on the basis of caste, colour, creed, language and nationality. But in this century these problems exist. Nature does not segregate nations. Scientific advancement, material prosperity, lofty aspirations, materialistic attitude, a desire to rule the world and vested interests are some of the causes of human sufferings. The concepts of all languages are similar. They have nouns, pronouns, adjectives, adverbs, prepositions and conjunctions. As no religion is insignificant in the same way no language is inferior. The characteristics and nature of all languages are similar. The only difference is in symbols and pronunciation. The purpose and objective of all languages are synonymous. There is a dire need to understand that there should be only one religion i.e. humanity and there should be only one language i.e. the language of love. A language must not become the cause of rift among masses. It should bring people together instead of spreading hatred. One should not despise others because of their language. It is against human dignity and grace.
21. The people of Alsace and Lorraine were forced to study German. They were not allowed to study French. It implies that students of the area were taught only one language. They did not follow the concept of three languages at school. Write an article on the topic Advantages of Three Language System at school.
India is a democratic state. It is replete with people who have diverse backgrounds, and culture. Their customs and traditions vary. Their languages are also different. The language of a South Indian is entirely different from that of the North Indians. People have their regional languages and dialects too. In such circumstances it becomes a herculean task to decide which language should be taught at schools. So, India opted for three language system at schools. It is a boon to the residents of a particular area. They do not feel that their language is insignificant and ignored. They are given ample opportunities to opt for the languages they intend to speak or learn. Pupils get fundamental knowledge of three languages and can appreciate the literature of all these three languages. Such students never face failure due to language barriers. They bring laurels to their parents and nations as well. They explore new avenues and horizons with an astonishing ease. Three language system must be adopted by all nations so as to acquaint the children with various language patterns. The people of Alsace and Lorraine could be taught both languages i.e. German and French. Linguistic discrimination mars the future of humanity.