* thumbed at the edges – worn or soiled edges caused by frequent handling * in unison – something happening or being done at the same time * a great bustle – an excited (and often noisy) activity or a rapid, active commotion * reproach ourselves with – to express disapproval, criticism, or disappointment 1 . What was Franz expected to be prepared with for school that day? That day, Franz was expected to be prepared with the lesson on participles. 2 . What did Franz notice that was unusual about the school that day? That day, Franz noticed the absence of the routine commotion caused by the opening and closing of desks, repeating of lessons in unison and rapping of the teacher’s ruler on the table. The usual hustle-bustle was replaced by a strange stillness that was the characteristic of a school on a “Sunday morning.”
3 .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 was to be taught to students in the schools of Alsace and Lorraine. 4 . 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, 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. There was a general sadness about not being able to utilise the opportunities of learning French when it was easily accessible.
5 . How did Franz's feelings about M. Hamel and 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 fondness for M. Hamel at the troubling 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 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(EXTRA QUESTIONS & ANSWERS)
1.Why was Franz tempted to play truant from school?
A. The French teacher M Hamel was going to ask questions on participle which Franz had not prepared. To avoid being scolded he was tempted to play truant from school and spend the day out doors in a pleasurable manner.
2.What was unusual about the school that Franz noticed when he entered the school?
A. On entering the school Franz noticed there was unusual silence. There was no usual bustle of opening and closing of desks. The village elders had occupied the last benches that usually remain empty.
3.Why was it the last lesson? How did Franz react to it?
A. As the order from Berlin had come to teach German in all schools of Alsace and Lorraine there would be no French lesson form the next day M Hamel announced in the class. The announcement was like a thunderclap to Franz. He felt sorry for not learning French. The French books, which earlier were nuisance, became attractive. He felt he could not give up his French books.
4.What reasons did M Hamel give for their lack of interest in learning French?
A. The lack of interest in learning French was due to the parents who wanted their children to work in farm...