NCERT Solutions for Class 12 English Flamingo Chapter 1 The Last Lesson is a detailed account of what you will learn in The Last Lesson Chapter 1 Class 12 English. To successfully pass CBSE Class 12 English exam and get an excellent grade on your report card at the end of it all you need a thorough understanding and comprehension of NCERT Solutions for Class 12 English, Flamingo Chapter 1 The Last Lesson Class 12 English which we have made sure covers everything important! Check out about The Last Lesson author, Alphonse Daude, and some The Last Lesson sample questions.
The Last Lesson NCERT Solutions for Class 12 English Flamingo Chapter 1
The Last Lesson NCERT Text Book Questions and Answers
The Last Lesson Think as you read
What was Franz expected to be prepared with for school that day?
Franz was expected to be prepared with participles. Mr Hamel had told the class that he would be taking a test on the topic that day.
What did Franz notice that was usual about the school that day?
Usually when the school begins, there would be a lot of commotions. But that day, everything was quiet and it appeared to be like a Sunday, but the students were at their places and Mr Hamel was walking up and down with his terrible iron ruler under his arm.
What had been put up on the bulletin board?
The bulletin-board notified the general public about an order from Berlin. It stated that only German will be taught to the students in the schools of Alsace and Lorraine.
What changes did the order from Berlin cause in school that day?
The order from Berlin brought all the routine hustle-bustle of the school life to a stand¬still. The teacher, M. Hamel became more sympathetic to his students and taught his lessons with more patience. The students became more attentive in their classes. The villagers were sitting at the usually empty back benches and had come to show their respect and gratitude to M. Hamel.
They regretted not going to school. The order also brought about a great change in people’s feelings towards their country and their native language. There was a general sadness about not being able to utilise the opportunities of learning French when it was possible to do so.
How did Franz’s feelings about M. Hamel and the school change?
Franz was shocked when M. Hamel told the students about the order from Berlin and that it was their last French lesson. He forgot about his teacher’s ruler and crankiness. He developed a sudden fondness for M. Hamel, and was disturbed by the idea of being separated from him forever. He understood the pain and agony his teacher was undergoing. And he became more sympathetic towards his teacher.
His school, too, now carried a different meaning. His books and lessons seemed old friends, whom he couldn’t give up. He realised with pain that how much French meant to him and regretted not being attentive in his classes earlier. Suddenly, he felt that the ‘difficult concepts’ had never actually been difficult.
The Last Lesson Understanding the Text
The people in this story suddenly realise how precious their language is to them. What shows you this? Why does this happen?
M. Hamel told the students and the villagers that henceforth only German would be taught in the schools of Alsace and Lorraine. Those who called themselves Frenchmen would neither be able to speak nor write it. He praised French as the most beautiful, the clearest and the most logical language in the world. He said that for the enslaved people that their language was the key out of prison. Only then the people realised the importance of their language. This shows people’s love for their own culture, traditions and country. Pride in one’s language reflects pride in the motherland.
Franz thinks, “Will they make them sing in German, even the pigeons?” What could this mean?
Alphonse Daudet’s ‘The Last Lesson’ very prominently raises the question of linguistic and cultural hegemony of the colonial and imperial powers and their lust for controlling the world and influencing their cultures and identities. Enforcement of German on the defeated nation was a way of realising this. The order to teach German rather than . French in schools was released.
Franz is flabbergasted on hearing this and understands that this order would deprive him of learning his mother tongue. He also wondered if the pigeons would have to coo in German. By compelling them to use a foreign language was like snatching away their language from them, which he felt would be unfair and unkind.
The language was as natural to them as cooing is to the pigeon. So compulsion to speak another language is like dominating the force of nature and enslaving it. As it is next to impossible to alter the way pigeons sing, the same way, it is difficult for people to accept a language which is forcibly imposed on them. Adopting a new language causes pain and discomfort.
This sentence could possibly mean that however hard the authorities try to embed German language in the culture of Alsace and Lorraine, the natural status of French for them, will remain unchanged. French flows in the air and the entire place is full of its effect. Even though they train students in German, the basic mode of communication would remain unchanged like the cooing of the pigeons.
The Last Lesson Talking about the Text
“When people are enslaved, as long as they hold fast to their language it is as if they had the key to their prison.” Can you think of examples in history where a conquered people had their language taken away from them or had a language imposed on them?
Some examples of the native language taken away from its people and/or imposition of the language of the conqueror are:
- Portuguese becoming the lingua franca of Angola.
- English imposed on the various Celtic people.
- Spanish imposed on the Basques and the Catalans.
- Turkish imposed on the Kurds.
What happens to a linguistic minority in a state? How do you think they can keep their language alive? For example:
Punjabis in Bangalore
Tamilians in Mumbai
Kannadigas in Delhi
Gujaratis in Kolkata
A linguistic minority in a state does not have as much liberty to exercise linguistic skills as the natives of the state. They initially try to learn the jargons in order to cope with the day-to-day activities and finally begin to understand the native language with regular interaction. At the workplace and educational organisations, English or the link language helps a lot to cope with the work and learning process. But when it comes to understanding the basic norms of the society, in order to socialise, one does face a sort of linguistic barrier during communication.
To keep their language alive, the linguistic minorities can form small communities where . they can celebrate their festivals as per their traditions. Moreover, they can continue to speak their native language at their homes in order to make their children learn the language. People must even try to visit their native places at regular intervals in order to stay close to their roots.
Is it possible to carry pride in one’s language too far? Do you know what ‘linguistic chauvinism’ means?
Yes, it is possible to carry pride in one’s language too far if one is fond of one’s own language at the cost of belittling of other languages. Indifference towards other languages is not healthy for any democracy like India.
When the sense of belonging to one’s own language crosses the thin line between ‘pride’ and ‘proud’, it becomes linguistic chauvinism. If people feel good about their language and traditions, they must have tolerance for other languages too. Everybody has the right to follow the religion as well as speak the language as per their choice.
The Last Lesson Working with Words
Notice the underlined words in these sentences and tick the option that best explains their meanings.
(a) “What a thunderclap these words were to me!”
The words were
(i) loud and clear.
(ii) startling and unexpected.
(iii) pleasant and welcome.
(b) “When people are enslaved, as long as they hold fast to their language it is as if they had the key to their prison.”
It is as if they have the key to the prison as long as they
(i) do not lose their language.
(ii) are attached to their language.
(iii) quickly learn the conqueror’s language
(c) Don’t go so fast, you will get to your school in plenty of time.
You will get to your school
(i) very late.
(ii) too early.
(iii) early enough.
(d) I never saw him look so tall.
(i) had grown physically taller.
(ii) seemed very confident.
(iii) stood on the chair.
(a) (ii) startling and unexpected.
(b) (ii) are attached to their language.
(c) (iii) early enough.
(d) (ii) seemed very confident.
The Last Lesson Extra Questions and Answers
The Last Lesson Short Answer Questions
How was the scene in the school, on the morning of the last lesson, different from thaton other days?
How was M. Hamel’s class different the day Franz went late to school?
Generally, there would be a great bustle, closing and shutting of desks, lessons repeated loudly in unison, rapping of the teachers’ ruler on the table, all of which could be heard out in the street. But that everything was quite different. There was no noise. All were in their seats, Franz walked in late and M. Hamel let him calmly. He then noticed that his sir was dressed in his best clothes and there were the elders of the village seated in the class. It was a bit later that Franz realised why the day was different. It was their last French lesson.
How does M. Hamel pay a tribute to the French language?
What did M. Hamel tell them about the French language? What did he ask them to do and why?
M. Hamel went on to talk about French language. He told that it was the most beautiful language of the world. It was the clearest and the most logical of all languages. He asked the people to guard it among themselves and never forget it. As long as people ‘hold fast to their language, they have the key to freedom’.
One order from Berlin changed the scenario of the school. Comment.
The order from Berlin led to the announcement that French would not be taught anymore, and instead, German would be taught by a new master. This was to be their last French lesson. The class was quiet as it was a Sunday morning with no hustle and bustle. The teacher, M. Hamel was patient and calm but inwardly emotional. He was in his special dress. The sad villagers were sitting on the last benches like the other students and the teacher explained the lesson very patiently.
“What a thunderclap these words were to me!” Which were the words that shocked and surprised little Franz?
M. Hamel said, “My children, this is the last French 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 will come tomorrow. This is your last French lesson. I want you to be attentive”. These words of his teacher were a thunderclap for Franz.
Who did M. Hamel blame for the neglect of learning on the part of boys like Franz?
M. Hamel blamed the parents for the neglect of learning of French language as they engaged the boys in farm work. He also blamed himself to some extent as he too assigned the work of gardening to boys like Franz. He also gave them a holiday whenever he wanted to go for fishing.
“This is your last French lesson.” How did Franz react to this declaration of M. Hamel?
How did Franz react to the declaration that it was their last French lesson?
The announcement made by M. Hamel left a great impact not only on Franz but all the other citizens. Franz was shocked to hear that M. Hamel was leaving and that it was his last lesson. He realised that he would not be able to read and speak his own mother tongue and regretted his lack of interest and carelessness.
How did M. Hamel say farewell to his students and the people of the town?
M. Hamel looked very pale and tall when he stood up in his chair. All the students were quiet. The village people old Hauser, the former Mayor, the former postmaster and several others were present in the schoolroom. The teacher told the villagers that French was the most beautiful language in the world. He ended the lesson by writing Vive La France on the blackboard. He made a gesture with his hand to indicate that the school is dismissed and students could go home.
Why had the bulletin board become a centre of attention during the last two years?
For the past two years, the news of lost battles, the draft and the orders of the commanding officer were displayed on the bulletin board. People thronged the bulletin board to read all this information. This was the reason why it had become a centre of attention.
What was tempting Franz to keep away from school ‘that morning’?
Franz was supposed to learn participles as part of his schoolwork, which he had not done. Therefore, he was afraid of being scolded by M. Hamel. Also, he wanted to spend the day outdoors as it was warm and bright. The sight of the chirping birds and the Prussian soldiers drilling appealed to him more than the rules of participles.
What was unusual about M. Hamel’s dress and behavior on the day of his last French lesson?
Whenever Franz arrived late, he was met by an angry teacher. This time, however, he was astounded when he was welcomed by a kind and polite M. Hamel. This was quite contrary to his nature. Moreover, he was dressed in his best clothes, a beautiful green coat, frilled shirt and an embroidered black silk cap, which he wore only on inspection and prize days.
Why had M. Hamel put on his fine Sunday clothes? Why were the old men of the village sitting there in the back of the classroom?
Who occupied the backbenches in the classroom on the day of the last lesson? Why?
The back benches were occupied by the people of the village. Old Hansar, who had his three-cornered hat, the former Mayor, the former post master, and several other elders. They had come to express their respect and regard for M. Hamel and sorrow that he had to leave from their midst.
How did Franz perform when his turn came to recite? How did M. Hamel react?
Franz’s name was called and he was asked to recite. Despite his best efforts, he got mixed up on the first words. He stood there holding on to his desk. His heart beat fast. And he did not dare look up. M. Hamel told him in a polite tone that he would not scold him as he was not the only one who neglected learning French. Many others in Alsace shared his fate because of procrastination. He said that every one had a great deal to reproach themselves with.
“We’ve all a great deal to reproach ourselves with.” Why did M. Hamel blame the parents and himself too for not showing due attention and care to the learning of French?
M. Hamel did not hold Franz responsible for neglecting the learning of French. Most people of Alsace only pretended to be Frenchmen. But they could neither speak nor write their own language. The parents were not anxious to have them learn. They preferred to put children on a farm or at the mills to earn a little more money. He . even held himself responsible as he often sent his students to water his flowers instead of learning their lessons. He also used to give a holiday whenever he wanted to go fishing.
What does M. Hamel say about French language? What did he urge upon his students and villagers to do?
M. Hamel talked at length about the French language. He considered French to be the most beautiful language in the world. It was the clearest and the most logical language too. He urged his students to guard it among themselves and reminded them never to forget it.
How does M. Hamel prove to be an ideal teacher?
M. Hamel brings home the message of importance of love of mother tongue and patriotism. He explains things well and asks students to continue learning French even when he is gone. Hence, he proves to be an ideal teacher.
How was M. Hamel dressed differently that day? Why?
M. Hamel wore a green coat, frilled shirt and black silk cap to the class. He announced that it was their last lesson in French and that German will be taught in the school in the future. He was proud of being French and was upset by occupation of Alsace by Germans. He was very attached to the town, the school and its people.
What had the narrator counted on to enter the school unnoticed?
The teacher’s rap of the ruler, the banging of the desks, and the lessons repeated would be so loud that it could be heard in the street. The author thought this background would be a shield and he could enter the school unnoticed.
What changes did the order from Berlin cause in the school?
The order from Berlin directed schools in the districts of Alsace and Lorraine in France to teach German instead of French.
Why were the elders of the village sitting in the classroom?
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.
How did Franz react to the declaration that it was their last French lesson?
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.
What did Franz wonder about when he entered the class that day?
He wondered why the classroom was still with no great bustle, the sound of desks opening and closing, lessons being repeated in unison, very loudly and M. Hamel’s great ruler rapping on the table.
Why was Franz not scolded for reaching the school late that day?
Franz was not scolded that day as the situation was different than the other days. It was the last lesson in French by M. Hamel, who taught for forty years there. He regretted neglecting his classes earlier and wanted to compensate on the last day, before he left.
How were the parents and M. Hamel responsible for the children’s neglect of the French language?
Parents were never keen or anxious to make their children learn French. They rather made them work in the fields or mills. Mr Hamel also lacked sincerity. He made the children water his garden during class hours or dismissed his class when he wanted to go for fishing.
“We’ve all a great deal to reproach ourselves with”, said M. Hamel. Refer to the context and explain what he wanted to convey to his students.
M. Hamel wanted to convey to his students that still no loss has caused. If they desire, they can do a lot. Further, he advised them to move on and not to look back. He boosted the morale of his students by saying that though they have to blame themselves for not attending the school and he himself had to blame and disgrace himself for giving the holiday to students but hoped that they could mend their ways.
The Last Lesson Long Answer Questions
What is ‘linguistic chauvinism’? Analyse the order from Berlin in this light. How do you justify M. Hamel’s views about French and the new-found love of the people towards their language?
Carrying pride in one’s language too far leads to ‘linguistic chauvinism’. We can analyse the order from Berlin in this light. It is nothing but a pure example of linguistic chauvinism. The imposition of German language over the French-speaking population can’t be justified at all. It is the worst kind of colonialism.
M. Hamel’s love for French is genuine. The shocking order from Berlin arouses patriotic feelings in him. He loves French and feels it to be the most beautiful language in the world. He calls it the clearest and the most logical language too. He regrets that the people of Alsace did not pay much heed to the learning of this great language. He asks the people to safeguard it among themselves.
It is the key to their unity and freedom. The people of Alsace, particularly the village elders, suddenly realise how precious their language is to them. Students like Franz too are not immune to patriotic feelings. Franz feels sorry for neglecting the learning of French. He hates the idea of German language being imposed on them. He remarks sarcastically, “Will they make them sing in German, even the pigeons?” The last lesson was so impactful that it helped to revive the love for the language among the people of Alsace.
How can you estimate M. Hamel as a man with a ruler and as a man with a gesture?
How does M. Hamel prove to be an ideal teacher?
In ‘The Last Lesson’, Alphonse Daudet presents M. Hamel’s character with due sympathy and respect. Initially, he is presented in the mould of a traditional schoolmaster. He used his terrible ruler under his arm. Everyone could hear the rapping of the ‘great ruler’ on the table even outside in the street. Franz reminds us ‘how cranky’ M. Hamel was. The students used to dread their schoolmaster. Franz was scared of being scolded as he had not prepared his lesson on participles. For a moment, he even thought of running away from school. Mr Hamel was a hard task master. He maintained discipline in the class.
The other side of Mr Hamel’s character is seen after the order from Berlin came. He had been transformed now. He became soft and gentle towards his students. He didn’t scold Franz for coming late. He did not even use his ruler when little Franz got mixed up and confused when his turn to recite came. He declared that it was his last lesson in French as from the next day German would be taught in the schools of Lorraine and Alsace. He would leave the next day. A new teacher would come in his place. He wore his best dress in honour of the last lesson.
M. Hamel was given respect not only by his students but even by the village elders. He was totally dedicated to the cause of teaching. He had been teaching for forty years in the same school. The village elders came to pay their respect to such a grand teacher. They sat on the back benches to listen to his last lesson.
M. Hamel loved France and French from the depth of his heart. He regarded French as the most beautiful language in the world. He told the people to guard it among themselves and never to forget it. On hearing the sound of trumpets of the Prussian soldiers under his window, patriotic feelings overpowered him. He mounted the chair and tried to speak, however something choked him. He wrote “Vive La France” with a piece of chalk on the blackboard and dismissed the class.
Write a character sketch of Franz.
Franz was a student of a school in Alsace. His schoolmaster was M. Hamel. Franz was not brilliant. Franz enjoyed spending time out of doors. He liked the warm and bright day, and loved to listen to the chirping of the birds and watching the drilling of the Prussian soldiers. He preferred this instead of being in the classroom. He didn’t prepare his lesson on participles. When he was asked to recite, he got mixed up and confused. He was not excited to go to school and did not show any interest in M. Hamel’s teaching.But he was scared of M. Hamel’s scolding. He always dreaded the great ruler that M. Hamel kept under his arm. Franz knew how ‘cranky’ M. Hamel was.
However, Franz was forced to change his opinion about M. Hamel. An order came from Berlin pronouncing that German language would be taught in the schools of French districts of Alsace and Lorraine. On knowing that it was the last lesson that Mr Hamel was going to deliver, his views about him changed. He started respecting the man who had spent forty years in the same school. He felt sorry for not learning French.
He shared M. Hamel’s views about French. It was the most beautiful language in the world. Franz sarcastically remarked, “Will they make them sing in German, even the pigeons?” After the last lesson, his views about French took a patriotic turn. He listened to M. Hamel’s last lesson with rapt attention and dignity, and regretted having been careless and inattentive.
Our native language is part of our culture and we are proud of it. How does the presence of village elders in the classroom and M. Hamel’s last lesson show their love for French?
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.
M. Hamel told the students and villagers that henceforth only German would be taught in the schools of Alsace and Lorraine. Those who called themselves Frenchmen would neither be able to speak nor write it. He praised French as the most beautiful, the clearest and the most logical language in the world. He said that for the enslaved people, their language was the key out of prison. Only then the people realised the importance of their language. This shows people’s love for their own culture, traditions and country. Pride in one’s language reflects pride in motherland.
When Franz jumbled while it was his turn to answer, M. Hamel expresses regret at the pathetic state of the language among the folks of Alsace. He regrets the fact that everyone chose to procrastinate. Also, he felt that the parents preferred their children worked in the farms for that extra income. He worried that the Germans would ridicule them for being incapable of speaking and writing their language. He blames everyone including himself for being careless, lazy and Lackadaisical (unenthusiastic and lack of determination).
Everybody during the last lesson is filled with regret. Comment.
Everybody during the last lesson is filled with regret. There was a general sadness about not being able to utilise the opportunities of learning French when it was easily accessible. Franz wished that he had attended classes more often and regretted not being attentive in his classes earlier. He suddenly found his lessons more interesting and easy. The villagers, who were sitting at the usually empty back benches and had come to show their respect and gratitude to M. Hamel, regretted not going to school more than they did.
The order also brought about a great change in the feelings of the people towards their country and their native language. M. Hamel regretted sending his students to water his flowers instead of learning their lessons. He also regretted giving holiday to students whenever he wanted to go on fishing.
What changes did the narrator find in the school when the order from Berlin came?
The order from Berlin prohibited teaching of French in the schools of Alsace and Lorraine. Instead, German was to be taught in the schools. Franz was late for school that day. He noticed that the hustle and bustle was missing. There was no opening and closing of desks, no repetition of lessons or rapping of the teacher’s ruler on the table could be heard. It was all very quiet and still.
Franz was further surprised because, instead of meeting an angry teacher, he was welcomed by a kind and polite teacher, who was dressed in his best clothes, a beautiful green coat, frilled shirt and an embroidered silk cap, which he wore only on inspection and prize days. The back benches were occupied by the village people who never came to school, as they were more concerned about their livelihood. He was further astounded to know that M Hamel was going to teach his last lesson that day.
Justify the title of the story, ‘The Last Lesson’.
The title of the story, ‘The Last Lesson’ is self-relieving. The whole story revolves around the title. The beginning of the story serves as preparation for it. The title also conveys the central theme of the story—the fact that sometimes even the most precious things in our lives are taken for granted. The people of Alsace never gave much importance to the mother tongue, French.
They did not even insist their children to pay any attention to their language. They did not encourage regular attendance of their children in French classes. They preferred their children to work and earn, instead of studying. The order from Prussians made them realise the importance of their mother tongue. So they attend M. Hamel’s last lesson altogether. Thus, the title, ‘The Last Lesson’ is justified.
Write a character sketch of M. Hamel as a teacher.
M. Hamel was a true French man who has been teaching French in the districts of Alsace and Lorraine for forty years. He loved his profession and was proud of his language, French. He had a deep sense of respect for his mother tongue. He considered French to be the most beautiful language in the world. As a teacher, he was very particular and strict in imparting knowledge to his students. When France was overtaken by Prussians, he was depressed because French was banned from being taught in the schools. While taking his last lesson, he tried his best to remain calm and composed.
His sorrow was evident in the way he was sitting in the class while his students were completing their writing assignments. He felt tormented at the fact that people had become indifferent to learning French and appealed to them to keep their language alive. He was a true patriot. He believed that mother tongue is a means of holding one’s identity and self¬respect. At the end of his last lesson, he writes ‘Vive La France!’ on the blackboard. This shows his love and concern for the people and the language of his country.
A learner needs to read stories thoroughly and accurately to score better in CBSE Class 12 English exams. NCERT Solutions for Class 12 English Flamingo Chapter 1 The Last Lesson has been answered by experts to ensure that the story can be easily understood.