Chapter 1 – The Last Lesson Questions and Answers: NCERT Solutions for Class 12 English (Flamingo Prose)

Class 12 English (Flamingo Prose) NCERT book solutions for Chapter 1 - The Last Lesson Questions and Answers.


Q1. What was Franz expected to be prepared with for school that day?

Ans: That day Franz was expected to be prepared with participles because M. Hamel had said that he would question them on participles. Franz did not know anything about participles.

Q2. What did Franz notice that was unusual about the school that day?

Ans: Usually, when school began, there was a great bustle, which could be heard out in the street. But it was all very still that day. Everything was as quiet as Sunday morning. There was no opening or closing of desks. His classmates were already in their places. The teacher’s great ruler instead of rapping on the table, was under M. Hamel’s arm.

Q3. What had been put up on the bulletin-board?

Ans: For the last two years all the bad news had come from the bulletin-board. An order had come from Berlin to teach only German in the schools of Alsace and Lorraine. The Germans had put up this notice on the bulletin-board.


Q1. What changes did the order from Berlin cause in school that day?

Ans: M. Hamel had put on his best dress—his beautiful green coat, his frilled shirt and the little black silk cap, all embroidered. The whole school seemed so strange and solemn. On the back benches that were always empty, the elderly village people were sitting quietly like the kids.

Q2. How did Franz’s feelings about M. Hamel and school change?

Ans: Franz came to know that it was the last lesson in French that M. Hamel would give them. From the next day they will be taught only German. Then he felt sorry for not learning his lessons properly. His books, which seemed a nuisance and a burden earlier were now old friends. His feelings about M. Hamel also changed. He forgot all about his ruler and how cranky he was.


Q1. The people? in this story suddenly realise how1 precious their language is to them. What shows you this? Why does this happen?

Ans: 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 most logical language in the world. He said that for the enslaved people, their language was the key to their prison. Then the people realised how precious their language was to them. This shows people’s love for their own culture, traditions and country. Pride in one’s language reflects pride in the motherland.

Q2. Franz thinks, “Will they make them sing in German, even the pigeonsT’ What could this mean?(There could he more than one answer.)

Ans: This comment of Franz shows a Frenchman’s typical reaction to the imposition of learning German, the language of the conquerors. Being deprived of the learning of mother tongue would mean cutting off all bonds with the motherland. Teaching the pigeons to sing in German indicates how far the Germans would go in their attempts of linguistic chauvinism.


Q1. “When a people are en slaved, as long as th ey 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 lan¬guage taken away from them or had a language imposed on them?

Ans: Mother tongue helps a person to express his feelings and thoughts most lucidly and intimately. Conquerors try to subdue and control the people of the enslaved territory by enforcing many measures such as use of force to crush dissent and imposing their own language on them.
From time immemorial the victorious nations have imposed their own language on the conquered people and taken away their own language from them. The Romans conquered many parts of Europe and replaced the local languages by their own language— Latin. Later on Spanish, Pourtuguese, Italian and French developed from Latin. The Muslim invaders imposed Arabic and Persian in the countries of Asia overpowered by them. In many Arab countries the local religion and language have disappeared. In India, a new language Urdu developed from the mixture of Persian and Hindi.

Q2. 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

Ans. The linguistic minority in any state is easily marked and faces the same discrimination as the religious, social or ethnic minorities. There is, however, a pronounced difference in the treatment meted out and the level of acceptance displayed by the majority community in that region/city. Some cities like Delhi, Mumbai are cosmopolitan in outlook.
The linguistic minority tries to preserve its identity through an intimate contact, interaction and preservation of their language in social get-togethers, family functions and festivals of their own region. Adherence to social customs and traditions in family gatherings/group meetings of women also promote the unity between members of the linguistic minority.
In short, they create a mini-Punjab in Bangalore, mini-Chennai in Mumbai, mini-Bangalore in Delhi and mini-Surat in Kolkata.

Q3. Is it possible to carry pride in one’s language too far? Do you know what “lin¬guistic chauvinism” means?

Ans. ‘Linguistic chauvinism’ means an aggressive and unreasonable belief that your own language is better than all others. This shows an excessive or prejudiced support for one’s own language. Sometimes pride in one’s own language goes too for and the linguistic enthusiasts can be easily identified by their extreme zeal for the preservation and spread of their language. In their enthusiasm, love and support for their own language, they tend to forget that other languages too have their own merits, long history of art, culture and literature behind them. Instead of bringing unity and winning over others as friends, having excessive pride in one’s own language creates ill-will and disintegration. The stiff-resistance to the acceptance of Hindi as national language by the southern states of India is a direct outcome of the fear of being dominated by Hindi enthusiasts. The result is that ‘One India’ remains only a slogan.


Q1. Why do you think was little Franz afraid of being scolded?

Ans: 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.

Q2. “It was all much more tempting than the rule for participles.” What did Franz find ‘much more tempting’? How did he finally react?

Ans: Franz found that it was a very warm and bright day. The birds were chirping at the edge of woods. The Prussian soldiers 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.

Q3. “What can be the matter now?” says Franz. Why, do you think, did he make this comment?

Ans: 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 yeairs they had received all the bad news from the bulletin-board—the lost battle, conscription and the orders of the commanding officer.

Q4. Who was Wachter? What did he ask Franz and why? How did Franz react?

Ans: Wachter was a blacksmith. He was reading the latest bulletin. He asked Franz not to go so fast to his school. He added that the little boy would get to his school in plenty of time. Wachter had read the latest bulletin about teaching of German. Franz thought that the blacksmith was making a fun of him. So, he ran to the school and reached there breathless.

Q5. What was the usual scene when Franz’s school began in the morning?

Ans: 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.

Q6. How had Franz hoped to get to his desk? What had he to do and why?

Ans: Franz had hoped to get to his desk unseen during the commotion. But that day it was very 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.

Q7. What three things in school surprised Franz most that day?

Ans: 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.

Q8. Why had the villagers come to school that day? How did they look?

Ans: 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.

Q9. “What a thunderclap these words were to me!” Which were the words that shocked and surprised the narrator?

Ans: 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.

Q10. How did Franz react to the declaration: ‘This is your last French lesson’?

Ans: 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.

Q11. What tempted Franz to stay away from school? [Delhi 2014]

Ans: Franz was not prepared Tor the test on participles. The Prussian soldiers were drilling in the open field at the back of sawmill. The birds were chirping at the edge of woods. These things tempted him. So he hurried off to school.

Q12. Who did M. Hamel blame for neglect of learning on the part of boys like Franz?

Ans: He thought it typical with the people of Alsace. They would put off learning till tomorrow. Parents are not quite anxious to have their children learn. They put them to work on a farm or at the mills in order to have a little more money. The teacher got his flowers watered or gave them a holiday. He too neglected their lessons.

Q13. What did M. Hamel tell them about French language? What did he ask them to do and why?

Ans: M. Hamel told them that French was the most 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.

Q14. Why were the elders of the village sitting in the classroom? [All India 2014]

Ans: 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.

Q15. How did Franz and other hoys enjoy their lesson in writing?

Ans: That day M. Hamel had new copies for them. The words “France, Alsace, France, Alsace” were written on them in a beautiful round hand. The boys set to work quietly. The only sound was the scratching of the pens over the paper. Nobody paid any attention to the beetles who flew in.

Q16. How did M. Hamel feel and behave during the last lesson?

Ans: M. Hamel was solemn and gentle. He sat motionless in his chair during the writing lesson. He gazed at one thing or the other. Perhaps he wanted to fix 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.

Q17. “He had the courage to hear every lesson to the very last.” What led Franz to make this remark?

Ans: Franz noticed that M. Hamel was feeling sad on having to leave the place sifter 40 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.

Q18. What happened when the lesson in history was over?

Ans: After the lesson in history was over, the babies chanted their ba, be, bi, bo, bu. Old Hauser, who was sitting at the back of the room, had put on his spectacles. He was holding his primer in both hands. He was spelling the letters with the babies.

Q19. “Ah, how well I remember it, that last lesson!” says the narrator. Which scene does he remember more vividly than the others?

Ans: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.

Q20. How did M. Hamel behave as the last lesson came to an end?

Ans: 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 a 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.