1.The Last Lesson 

                                      Part-4        – Alphonse Daudet 



Q1. Why was Franz scared that day 1 What did he see on his way to school and how did he get to his deski
Ans: Franz was not good at learning. He would rather take the day off and waste time in searching birds’ eggs or going sliding on the Saar. Franz was scared that day because M. Hamel had said that he would question them on participles. Franz did not know anything about participles.
He found that the day was warm and bright. The birds were chirping at the edge of the woods. The Prussian soldiers were drilling in the open fields. There was a crowd in front of the bulletin-board near the town-hall.
Franz found the school room unusually quiet. So, he had no option but to open the door and go in before everybody. He blushed and was frightened of the teacher. M. Hamel spoke very kindly to him and asked him to go to his place quickly. Franz jumped over the bench and sat down at his desk.

Q2. What order had been received from Berlin that day? What effect did it have on the life at school?
Ans: An order had been received from Berlin that only German would be taught in the schools of Alsace and Lorraine. This order had far-reaching effects on the life at school. M. Hamel, who had been teaching French at the village school for the last forty years would deliver his last lesson that day.
It was in honour of the last lesson that M. Hamel, the teacher had put on his best clothes. Old men of the village were sitting quietly at the back of the classroom. They were sad as well as sorry for they had not gone to school more. They had come to thank the master for his forty years of faithful service and to show respect for the country that was theirs no more.
The teacher addressed the students in a solemn and gentle tone. He asked them to be attentive and explained everything quite patiently. He appealed to them to preserve French among them. During slavery it would act as key to the prison. He felt so overwhelmed by emotion that he could not bid farewell properly.

Q3. What do you think is the theme of the story ‘The Last Lesson’? What is the reason behind its universal appeal?
Ans : 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.

Q4. Comment on the appropriateness of the title ‘The Last Lesson’.
Ans: The story has an appropriate and suggestive title. It is the centre of attention throughout and the whole story revolves around it. The beginning of 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 Wive La France’ on the blackboard. He makes a gesture with his hand to indicate that the school is dismissed and students can go home.

Q5. What impression do you form ofM. Hamel on the basis of your study of the story ‘The Last Lesson’?
Ans: 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 of being scolded by him.
The latest order of the Prussian conquerors upsets him. He has to leave the place for ever and feels heart broken. He feels sad but exercises self-control. He 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 he (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. He fails to say goodbye as his throat is choked. On the whole, he is a patriotic gentleman.



Q1. War causes destruction and spreads hatred. People feel insecure. Discuss the disadvan¬tages of war keeping in mind Franco-Prussian war (1870-71).
Ans: 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.

Q2. 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…”
Ans: 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 civilisation 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.


Q3. 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.
Ans:                                                     Advantages of Three Language System
India is a democratic stater. 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.

Q4. Nature has the knack to fascinate even the cynics. Its beauty and spontaneous music galvanise the beings. Write an article expressing the astounding beauty of nature in the light of the following lines:
“It was so warm, so bright! The birds were chirping at the edge of the woods… It was all much more tempting than the rule for participles…”
Ans. Our touch with nature makes the whole world kin. Matthew Arnold has rightly said that:

“Nature, with equal mind,
sees all her sons at play,
sees man control the wind,
the wind sweep man away.”

Nature’s working is mysterious. It is an astonishingly fabricated universe. Man has, undoubtedly, progressed a lot. Scientific advancement has explored the portals of every field. The hidden realities have been exposed. But science has not unearthed the mysterious traits of nature. It is also an acceptable fact that nature gives happiness to weary minds. It soothes and consoles the troubled souls. It banishes anxiety, tension, worry, fear and dejection. Its law is to please every beholder. The aesthetic pleasure we derive from Nature is incredible and cannot be expressed in words. Keats has rightly averred that ‘A thing of beauty is a joy forever!’ Lord Byron has said:

“There is a pleasure in the pathless wood,
there is a rapture on the lonely shore,
there is a society where none intrudes, ‘
By the deep sea, and music in its roar:
I love not man the less but nature more.”

Nature is our mother. It must be obeyed. It gives us moral lessons. All the seers and intellectuals have understood the significance of nature. “Nature goes on her own way, and all that to us seems an exception is really according to order.” It fascinates those who are indifferent to life. The boring scientific explorations and linguistic principles make our life insignificant. We are becoming devoid of emotions. But nature evokes sentiments and help us to become sensitive.


Q5. Teachers can act as trailblazers in the lives of pupils. They can affect eternity. But the advancement of technology has changed the role of a teacher. Write an article on the paradigm shift in educational technology and the role of teachers.
Ans:                                                     Technology and Teachers
It goes without saying that teachers shape the destiny of children. They mould them according to their inbred potential and considerable talent. Dronacharya taught his pupils together. But he could not make everyone so skilled in using the bow and arrow as Aijuna. He identified his latent talent and tapped the same potential. In modem education system teachers don’t have much time to study the child. Children stay in the school campus for six hours a day and study various subjects from teachers. At times it happens that the subject teachers do not remember the names of students. They use PITs, projectors and computers to make their lectures interesting. They lack any kind of emotional attachment with the pupils. It has happened because of the innovative educational tools and aids. Teachers are given softwares to teach students. The teaching community has made students information seekers. The role of a teacher has undergone a sea change. A teacher has become a facilitator. He has no right to scold and punish the child. The dictum ‘spare the rod, spoil the child’ has become obsolete and outdated. A teacher has to understand the psychology of a child in a period of thirty minutes. The role of a teacher is a mystery in today’s era.