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The Last Lesson | Class XII CBSE | CBQs | NCERT Solution | Board 2024-25

Updated: Apr 9


Lesson Contents



Concept Videos






Theme:

  • The Last Lesson is set in the days of the Franco-Prussian War (1870-1871).

  • Led by Bismarck, Prussia defeated France, and the French districts of Alsace and Lorraine passed into Prussian hands.

  • The two protagonists of the story, M Hamel and Franz, belong to Alsace.

  • M Hamel is a French language teacher at a school and Franz is one of his students.

  • The Last Lesson is set in the days of the Franco-Prussian War (1870-1871).

  • Led by France, and the French dBismarck, Prussia defeated istricts of Alsace and Lorraine passed into Prussian hands.

  • The two protagonists of the story, M Hamel and Franz, belong to Alsace.

  • M Hamel is a French language teacher at a school and Franz is one of his students.

  • The lesson deals with the themes of patriotism and love for one’s mother tongue.

  • The lesson also emphasizes on the importance of education in one’s mother tongue.

  • The lesson focusses on the strength of mother tongue in uniting people during national crisis.

  • M Hamel is a French language teacher at a school and Franz is one of his students.

  • The story revolves around how the war dislodges people and make them custodians of colonialism.


M. Hamel's Last Class
englishwithadifference.com

Story Sequence


  • Franz set off to school very late that morning. His French teacher, M Hamel, his French teacher, would question the class on participles. Poor Franz, having not learnt his lesson, was afraid of a scolding from his teacher.

  • The chirping of birds and the marching of the Prussian soldiers was much more alluring than the rules of participles. However, Franz was able to fight the temptation and hurried off to school.

  • On his way to school, Franz passed the town hall and noticed a crowd in front of the bulletin board

  • As he was hurrying past, Wachter, the blacksmith, told him that there was plenty of time to reach the school. Franz thought that he was making fun of him and reached the school immediately.

  • After reaching the school, Franz was utterly surprised to find a pin-drop silence.. Usually, when the school began, there would be a great commotion and activity.

  • The classroom wear a deserted look like Sunday morning. Franz noticed that all of his classmates were already in their seats and M Hamel was walking up and down with his iron ruler under his arm.

  • Unlike in the past days, instead of scolding him, M Hamel spoke very kindly to him and asked him to take his seat.

  • M Hamel was wearing a special attire, which he wore only on special occasions. The whole school was so strange and a utter silence existed in the class. But what was surprising and confusing for Franz was that village people were seated quietly on the back benches. They all looked very disappointed.

  • After reaching the school, Franz was utterly surprised to find a pin-drop silence.. Usually, when the school began, there would be a great commotion and activity.

  • The classroom wear a deserted look like Sunday morning. Franz noticed that all of his classmates were already in their seats and M Hamel was walking up and down with his iron ruler under his arm.

  • Unlike in the past days, instead of scolding him, M Hamel spoke very kindly to him and asked him to take his seat.

  • M Hamel was wearing a special attire, which he wore only on special occasions. The whole school was so strange and a utter silence existed in the class. But what was surprising and confusing for Franz was that village people were seated quietly on the back benches. They all looked very disappointed.

  • M. Hamel announced the class that it was their last French lesson.

  • The order had come from Berlin to teach only German in the schools of Alsace and Lorraine. Therefore, it was his last class in the school that day.

  • Franz was totally shocked by the sudden turn of events. He regretted not having learnt his lessons when there was still time.

  • His books, which were a disturnbance to him, suddenly felt like old friends. He suddenly started respecting his teacher.

  • The thought that M Hamel was going away and Franz would never see him again, made him forget all about how cranky M Hamel was.

  • It was in honour of his ‘Last Lesson’ that he had put on his fine clothes, and the village people had gathered there to express their gratitude towards him, and to show their respect for their country and their language.

  • When Franz was lost in his thought, he heard his name called out ; it was his turn to recite. But unfortunately, he got mixed up on the first words.

  • M Hamel assured him that he would not scold him. He criticized the people of Alsace for their habit of postponing their learning for future.

  • He blamed their parents for not taking interest in their studies. He also blamed himself for this. Often, he sent the students to water his plants or gave them a holiday when he had wanted to go fishing.

  • M Hamel then highlighted on the French language. He called it the most beautiful, the clearest and the most logical language in the world.

  • He requested the people of France to treasure their language. According to him, whenever the people of any nation are enslaved, as long as they have attachment to their language, it is as if they have the key to their prison.

  • M Hamel taught them their last lesson from a grammar book. Franz was amazed to see how well he understood everything.

  • Then they had a lesson in writing. Finally, they had a lesson in history.

  • Eventually when church-clock struck twelve, M Hamel stood up. It was obvious that he had become choked with emotion as he could not speak.

  • Then he turned to the blackboard and wrote in large handwriting,‘Vive La France!’ which means ‘long live France’. He then declared the class closed.


Franz sees on the bulletin board.
englishwithadifference.com


NCERT Solution



1.What was Franz expected to be prepared with for school that day?

Ans: Franz was expected to be prepared with the rules of participles assigned to him by his French teacher, Mr. M. Hamel , for school that day.

2. What did Franz notice that was unusual about the school that day?

Ans: Unlike other days in the school there was no bustle, no lessons repeated in unison. He could see his classmates being aready seated in their places. Mr. Hamel addressed Franz softly and asked him to go to his place very quickly. Mr. Hamel was dressed in his beautiful green coat, his frilled shirt and little black cap, which he normally wore on inspection days. The backbenches of the classroom were occupied by the village elders who looked very grave on that day.


3. What had been put up on the bulletin board?

Ans: It had been put up on the bulletin board that as the French districts of Alsace and Lorraine have passed into Prussian hands, the order had come from Berlin to teach only Germans in the schools of Alsace and Lorraine in place of French from next day onwards.

4. What changes did the order from Berlin cause in school that day?

Ans: Unlike other days, there was no commotion in the school and no lessons were repeated in unison. . The last benches, which on other days used to be empty, were occupied by the village elders. Mr. Hamel appeared to be kinder than usual and was dressed in his beautiful green coat, his frilled shirt and little black cap, which he normally wore on special occasions.

5. How did Franz’s feelings about M. Hamel and school change?

Ans: Franz suddenly could find it very easy to understand everything that Mr. Hamel spoke. He listened all that Mr. Hamel spoke very carefully. Mr. Hamel too taught with infinite patience on that day. Franz developed sudden obsession for the school and developed interest for the school.


6. The people in this story suddenly realize how precious their language is to them. What show you this? Why does this happen?

Ans: It shows the eruption of patriotic fervor among the people. The imposition of German language on the people of Alsace and Lorraine further strengthened their love for French. They felt that their freedom of expression in their motherland has been held in hostage by the Germans. This happens because people come together during time of identity crisis and try their utmost best to rescue their motherland and mother tongue from the aggressor. Their love for the country and their fellow countrymen suddenly get revamped during such emergency. 7. Faranz thinks, ‘Will they make them sing in German, even the pigeons?’ What could this mean?

Ans: This sentence could possibly mean that whatsoever hard the imperial power tries to impose their culture on the French, the French would hold fast to their language and remain loyal to it. As they cannot tame a pigeon to sing in German, so it would be very hard for them to embed the German language in the lives of the people of Alsace and Lorraine.


Q8. How did M. Hamel say farewell to his students and the people of the town?

Ans: M. Halmel bade farewell in a solemn and grave manner. He declared in the class that as the Province of Alsace and Lorraine passed off into the hands of Germans, it was their last French lesson on that day. From the next day onwards, Germany would be taught in the schools of Alsace and Lorraine. He requested the class to treasure French in their heart as language is the key to the prison of imperial power.

Q9. Who did M. Hamel blame for the neglect of learning on the part of boys like Franz?

Ans: M. Hamel held both parents and children for dereliction of learning on the part of Franz. He blamed parents for delegating work to their wards to earn money instead of going to school. He even blamed himself for delegating the work of watering his plants or declaring holidays for children whenever he wanted to go fishing.


Q10. What words did M. Hamel write on the board before dismissing the last class? What did they mean? Ans: M. Hamel wrote ‘Vive La France’, which means ‘Long Live France’. These words describe his unflinching faith and profound love for his motherland. He was undergoing the waves of patriotic fervor while writing these words on the blackboard.


 
M. Hamel writes on the Blackboard
englishwithadifference.com


CBE-Based MCQ


1. ‘‘I had counted on the commotion to get to my desk without being seen.’’ In the light of Franz’s statement select the option that rightly brings out his intention.

(a) He tried to avoid friends.

(b) He tried to cheat his teacher M. Hamel.

(c) He did not want to face the villagers in the class.

(d) He wanted to escape M. Hamel’s scolding. [CBSE Term-1 2021]


Ans. (d) He wanted to escape M. Hamel’s scolding.


Explanation: By the statement, Franz indicates that whenever he gets late for the class, he always tries to get to his desk without his teacher, M. Hamel noticing him so that Franz may not get scolded. Hence, (d) is the right answer.



2. "There was usually great bustle and noise when school began, but it was all very quiet". Which of the following describes Franz’s emotions most accurately?

(a) Shock and awe

(b) Disappointment and anxiety

(c) Confusion and distress

(d) Curiosity and uncertainty [CBSE Question Bank 2021]


Ans. (b) Disappointment and anxiety

Explanation: Franz was anxious because the school was quiet and disappointed because he wouldn’t be able to sneak in. Hence, this proves that option (b) is the correct answer.


3. “I never saw him look so tall”. Which of the following best captures M. Hamel on the last day of school?

(a) Cranky, miserable, dedicated, resigned

(b) Patient, dignified, emotional, courageous

(c) Calm, nostalgic, disappointed, patriotic

(d) Proud, reproachful, persistent, heroic [CBSE Question Bank 2021]


Ans. (b) Patient, dignified, emotional, courageous


Explanation: M. Hamel was showing his patience and dignity while he was in his last class. He was dignified in his responses and showed courage till the end when he became emotional. Hence, option (b) is the correct answer.



4. On his way to school, Franz says that he had the strength to resist and chose to hurry off to school. The underlined phrase suggests that Franz was: [CBSE Term-1 SQP 2021]

(a) hesitant

(b) threatened

(c) tempted

(d) repentant


Ans: (C) tempted.


5. Read the extract given below and answer the questions that follow:


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. 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.


(i) Why does the narrator refer to M. Hamel as ‘Poor man!’?

(a) He empathises with M. Hamel as he had to leave the village.

(b) He believes that M. Hamel’s “fine Sunday clothes” clearly reflected that he was not rich.

(c) He feels sorry for M. Hamel as it was his last French lesson.

(d) He thinks that M. Hamel’s patriotism and sense of duty resulted in his poverty.

Ans (c) He feels sorry for M. Hamel as it was his last French lesson.


(ii) Which of the following idioms might describe the villagers’ act of attending the last lesson most accurately?

(a) ‘Too good to miss’

(b) ‘Too little, too late’

(c) ‘Too many cooks spoil the broth’

(d) ‘Too cool for school’

Ans: (b) ‘Too little, too late’


(iii) Choose the option that might raise a question about M. Hamel’s “faithful service”.


(a) When Franz came late, M. Hamel told him that he was about to begin class without him.

(b) Franz mentioned how cranky M. Hamel was and his “great ruler rapping on the table”.

(c) M. Hamel often sent students to water his flowers, and gave a holiday when he wanted to go fishing.

(d) M. Hamel permitted villagers to put their children “to work on a farm or at the mills” for some extra money.

Ans: (c) M. Hamel often sent students to water his flowers, and gave a holiday when he wanted to go fishing.


(iv) Choose the option that most appropriately fills in the blanks, for the following description of the given extract.


The villagers and their children sat in class, forging with their old master a .......... (i) .......... togetherness. In that moment, the class room stood .......... (ii) ........... It was France itself, and the last French lesson a desperate hope to .......... (iii) .......... to the remnants of what they had known and taken for granted. Their own .......... (iv) ...........


(a) (i) graceful; (ii) still; (iii) hang on; (iv) country

(b) (i) bygone; (ii) up; (iii) keep on; (iv) education

(c) (i) beautiful; (ii) mesmerised; (iii) carry on; (iv) unity

(d) (i) forgotten; (ii) transformed; (iii) hold on; (iv) identity [CBSE Question Bank 2021]

 

Extract Questions

Extract 1

Read the following extracts and answer the questions for any one of the given two, (a) or (b):

(a) 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. It was all much more tempting than the rule for participles, but I had the strength to resist, and hurried off to school. (The Last Lesson)


(i) List two sensory details present in the extract.


(ii) Why is the narrator tempted to spend the day out of doors?


(iii) Complete the sentence appropriately.

I hurried off to school resisting ________


(iv) Why does the narrator want to bunk school?


(A) He doesn't like the teachers.

(B) He doesn't like his classmates.

(C) He wasn't prepared for the test on participles.

(D) He had forgotten to complete his homework.


(v) Which trait of the protagonist is revealed in the sentence 'I had the strength to resist'?

(A) sincerity

(C) bravery

(B) determination

(D) kindness


(vi) Which of the following headlines best suggests the central idea of the extract?

(A) The Drilling of Prussian Soldiers

(B) The Rule of Participles

(C) Strength to Resist

(D) Out of Doors


Answer Key

(i) List two sensory details present in the extract.

- Warm and bright weather

- Birds chirping at the edge of the woods


(ii) Why is the narrator tempted to spend the day out of doors?


- The narrator is tempted because of the pleasant weather, the chirping birds, and the sight of Prussian soldiers drilling in the open field.


(iii) Complete the sentence appropriately.

I hurried off to school resisting the temptation to skip the day and enjoy the outdoors.


(iv) Why does the narrator want to bunk school?

(C) He wasn't prepared for the test on participles.


(v) Which trait of the protagonist is revealed in the sentence 'I had the strength to resist'?

(B) determination


(vi) Which of the following headlines best suggests the central idea of the extract?

(D) Out of Doors


Extract 2

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?” 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) What was the scene like when the narrator passed by the town hall?


(ii) What kind of news had been regularly posted on the bulletin-board for the last two years?


(iii) How does the narrator feel about the crowd and the bulletin-board as he passes by?


(iv) Why does the blacksmith, Wachter, call out to the narrator as he hurries past?


(A) To ask for directions

(B) To warn him about running too fast

(C) To offer him a job

(D) To share news from the bulletin-board

(v) Which of the following describes the blacksmith's apprentice?

(A) Reading the bulletin with the blacksmith

(B) Running errands

(C) Repairing a wagon

(D) Not mentioned in the extract


(vi) What is the narrator's immediate concern as he passes by the town hall?

(A) Getting to school on time

(B) Avoiding the crowd in front of the bulletin-board

(C) Finding out the latest news from the bulletin-board

(D) Chatting with the blacksmith and his apprentice


Answer Key

(i) What was the scene like when the narrator passed by the town hall?

Ans: The scene was crowded in front of the bulletin-board.


(ii) What kind of news had been regularly posted on the bulletin-board for the last two years?

Ans: The bulletin-board regularly posted bad news such as lost battles, drafts, and orders from the commanding officer.


(iii) How does the narrator feel about the crowd and the bulletin-board as he passes by?

Ans: The narrator wonders about the matter on the bulletin-board but hurries past without stopping.


(iv) Why does the blacksmith, Wachter, call out to the narrator as he hurries past?

Ans: (B) To warn him about running too fast


(v) Which of the following describes the blacksmith's apprentice?

Ans: (A) Reading the bulletin with the blacksmith


(vi) What is the narrator's immediate concern as he passes by the town hall?

Ans: (A) Getting to school on time


Extract 3

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.” What a thunderclap these words were to me!

 


(i) What announcement does M. Hamel make to the students?


(ii) What is the reason behind M. Hamel's announcement?


(iii) How does the narrator feel upon hearing M. Hamel's words?


(iv) Why does the narrator describe M. Hamel's announcement as a "thunderclap"?


(A) Because it was loud

(B) Because it was unexpected and shocking

(C) Because it was exciting

(D) Because it was unclear


(v) What change is expected to happen in the schools of Alsace and Lorraine according to M. Hamel's announcement?


(A) Teaching only German

(B) Teaching only French

(C) Teaching both German and French

(D) No change in the language of instruction


(vi) What tone does M. Hamel use to deliver the announcement?

(A) Cheerful

(B) Serious and gentle

(C) Angry

(D) Jovial


Answer Key

(i) What announcement does M. Hamel make to the students?

Ans: M. Hamel announces that it is the last lesson he will give them because the order has come from Berlin to teach only German in the schools of Alsace and Lorraine.


(ii) What is the reason behind M. Hamel's announcement?

Ans: The reason behind M. Hamel's announcement is the order from Berlin to teach only German in the schools of Alsace and Lorraine.


(iii) How does the narrator feel upon hearing M. Hamel's words?

Ans: The narrator feels shocked and surprised upon hearing M. Hamel's words.


(iv) Why does the narrator describe M. Hamel's announcement as a "thunderclap"?


Ans : (B) Because it was unexpected and shocking


(v) What change is expected to happen in the schools of Alsace and Lorraine according to M. Hamel's announcement?

Ans: (A) Teaching only German


(vi) What tone does M. Hamel use to deliver the announcement?

(B) Serious and gentle

 
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1 Comment


Monotosh Dey
Monotosh Dey
Apr 25, 2020

Hope this was useful to you all.

Like
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