The Last Lesson Previous Years’ Questions Class 12 English Core: Textbook ‘Flamingo’ Chapter 1 ‘The Last Lesson’ is an important lesson. To help you prepare for your exams, we’ve put together a list of Previous Years’ Questions that you should consider while studying the chapter ‘The Last Lesson’ by Alphonse Daudet.
The Last Lesson Questions From Previous Board Exams
Short Answer Type Questions
1. Why was the order from Berlin called a thunderclap by Franz? [2021-22]
Ans. Franz was stunned by the order from Berlin, which he described as a thunderclap. The order prohibited the study of French language in the schools of Alsace and Lorraine, and mandated that only German would be taught¹⁴. It was a shocking revelation for Franz, who never expected to be deprived of the opportunity to learn his native tongue. He came to the realization that there was much more for him to learn, but he would be missing out on it.
2. At the end of his last lesson, M. Hamel decides to leave a little note for each of his students for them to find the next day at their desks. Based on your reading of the story, what might his note to Franz read?
You may begin like this:
I know you have always preferred to run in the open fields … [SQP 2020-21]
I am aware that you have always had a preference for running freely in open fields and indulging in seemingly trivial activities such as searching for birds’ eggs instead of focusing on your studies. The sunny weather, lush forests, expansive fields, and cheerful birdsong have always tempted you to spend your days outdoors. Although you have always been enthusiastic about seeking pleasure, you have failed to realize how lacking you are in your own native language. Your French writing skills are minimal, and you will no longer have the opportunity to improve them as German will replace French in your studies starting tomorrow. It is important to always remember that French is the most beautiful language in the world; it is also the clearest and most logical. You must cherish and safeguard your knowledge of French among your peers and never forget what you have learned thus far. Remember that people who are enslaved hold the key to their freedom as long as they cling to their language.
3. Comment on the significance of the villagers sitting at the back in M. Hamel’s classroom. [SQP 2020-21]
Ans. It was significant for the villagers as a sign of repentance for not attending school often. To pay their tribute to the teacher. As a mark of respect for the country which was no longer theirs.
4. Why did the elders of the village attend the last lesson? [Delhi, 2020-21]
Ans. A directive had been issued from Berlin to cease instruction of the French language in the educational institutions of Alsace and Lorraine, and instead mandate the teaching of German. During the final French language lesson, the elderly members of the community chose to occupy the rear seats in reverence to M. Hamel, who had been a teacher there for four decades. They sat there, regretting that they could not have attended school for longer.
5. How is the mother tongue important to a person? What does M. Hamel, the teacher say about it? [Delhi, 2020]
Ans. The mother tongue, or the language learned first from one’s parents and family, is crucially important to a person’s identity, culture, and communication abilities. It serves as a foundation for learning other languages and helps individuals connect with their roots and heritage.
M. Hamel made the villagers realize the importance of their language. He spoke about the beauty of it. He expressed his dismay that the whole population of Alsace was responsible for neglecting their mother tongue. He called upon them to guard it among themselves and never forget it. Their language was the key to their unity and liberation.
6. How did M. Hamel make his last lesson a special one? What did he emphasize in it on? [Delhi, 2019]
Ans. Mr. Hamel had put on his beautiful green coat, frilled shirt and a silk cap, the dress he used to wear on special occasions. He was dressed differently because it was his last day in the school. He was very patient and spoke to all pupils, even Franz in a very gentle tone. He emphasized on guarding the mother tongue and not forget it as it was the key to their prison. He described the French language as the most beautiful, clearest and most logical.
7. How were the parents and M. Hamel responsible for the children’s neglect of the French language? 
Ans. Mr. Hamel, during his last lesson, regretted the fact that he had not fully utilized the time to teach French to his students. There were times when he would give them the day off, to go for his fishing trips or he would send them to water his plants. He also blamed the parents who instead of sending their children to school sent them to the fields to work. Now that French would not be taught anymore in their district, he wished he could have utilized all the time to teach French to the students.
8. What was M. Hamel’s regret on the day of the last lesson? [Comptt., 2017]
Ans. On the final day of his last lesson, M. Hamel expressed regret that he had to depart from France after dedicating forty years of service, and that his students had not acquired a satisfactory command of the language. He blamed himself for their unsatisfactory progress, acknowledging that he frequently assigned personal tasks such as watering his plants or granted holidays when he wished to go fishing.
9. How is the title ‘The Last Lesson’ appropriate? [Comptt.,2017]
Ans. The title ‘The Last Lesson’ is appropriate because it was M. Hamel’s Last Lesson. It was also the last French lesson as the order from Berlin had declared the ban on teaching French.
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 ‘Vive La France’ on the blackboard. He makes a gesture with his hand to indicate that the school is dismissed and students can go home
10. “What a thunderclap these words were to me!” (Franz). What were those words and what was their effect on Franz? (All India 2017)
Ans. On the day of the final lesson, Franz arrived at school late. As he entered the classroom, he saw M. Hamel seated on his chair, speaking in a solemn and soothing manner. M. Hamel announced that it would be their final French lesson as per the orders received from Berlin. Starting the next day, all schools in Alsace and Lorraine would be taught only in German by a German teacher who would be replacing him. Franz was taken aback by the news and felt agitated.
11. Why was Franz not scolded for reaching the school late that day? (Delhi 2017)
Ans. Franz arrived late for school, which was unusual as there was typically a lot of commotion and activity in the mornings. He had hoped to slip into his seat unnoticed amidst the hustle and bustle. Unfortunately, that day he had to enter the classroom before everyone else. However, M. Hamel, who was teaching his final French lesson at the school, simply asked Franz politely to take his seat without scolding him as Mr Hamel did not want to spend that special day with any kind of punishment.
Long Answer Type Questions
1. Educating children is the responsibility of society. Justify the statement in view of “The Last lesson”. 
Ans. It is a fact that society and adults have a crucial role in encouraging young learners to prioritize education. Having gone through the same experience, they can guide the youth on the right path with their expertise. This theme is also present in Alphonse Daudet’s “The Last Lesson,” which recounts the story of Franz, a boy who viewed his studies as a burden, and his teacher, M. Hamel, who did not take the noble profession of teaching seriously. Nevertheless, towards the end of the story, it was M. Hamel who instilled a sense of regret in Franz’s mind for not taking the French language seriously and extolled its virtues as the most logical and lucid. This shows that it was M. Hamel who motivated young Franz to develop a positive attitude towards the language and focus all his attention on the Last Lesson.
2. The order from Berlin created a great enthusiasm in the school. Comment. 
Ans. In the past, the classroom would be filled with noise as students opened and closed their desks, the teacher repeated the lesson loudly, and the ruler would rap on the table. However, on that day, everything was peaceful and calm, akin to a Sunday morning. All the students were in their seats, and Mr. Hamel walked with his iron ruler under his arm. Franz was hesitant to enter the classroom, fearing he would receive a scolding for being late. Yet, to his surprise, Mr. Hamel greeted him politely and instructed him to take his seat quickly. Once he sat down, Franz noticed Mr. Hamel was dressed in his elegant green coat, frilled shirt, and a black silk cap with embroidery – attire typically reserved for functions or prize ceremonies. Franz also saw that other villagers, such as old Hauser, the former mayor, and the former postmaster, were present in the classroom, sitting at the back.
3. Everybody during the last lesson was filled with regret. Comment. 
Ans. It is true that everyone in the Last Lesson was consumed with regret. The school itself seemed solemn and eerie after the news had shocked everyone. Upon hearing that his French lesson was his last, Franz immediately realized the value of learning the language and wished he had studied it more diligently. He even regretted skipping class to hunt for birds’ eggs and slide on the Saar. Meanwhile, Mr. Hamel, the teacher, regretted not dedicating all his time to teaching French. He had previously given his students days off to go fishing or water his plants, but now he wished he had used that time to teach. The adults in the community also felt remorseful for not sending their children to school and wished they had taken their education more seriously.
4. Our native language is a part of our culture and we are proud of it. How does the presence of village elders in the classroom and Mr. Hamel’s last lesson show their love for French? 
Ans. The elderly gentlemen who sat quietly in the back of the classroom were filled with both sadness and regret for not attending school more regularly. They had come to express their gratitude to Mr. Hamel, the teacher, for his dedicated service over the past four decades and to pay homage to a land that was no longer their own. Realizing their neglect in preserving their language, they were deeply moved by Mr. Hamel’s patient explanations. Mr. Hamel urged the community to uphold the French language, explaining that it was a unifying force. He spoke passionately about the beauty of the language, his emotions overwhelming him. In an act of defiance against the Prussian soldiers marching outside, he boldly wrote “Vive La France” on the blackboard.
5. Our language is part of our culture and we are proud of it. Describe how regretful Mr. Hamel and the village elders are for having neglected their native language, French. [Delhi, 2016]
Ans. We should not take pride in the language of others. Instead we should be proud of our own language. Our own language is a store-house of knowledge. We can study our culture and tradition in our language. So, we must be proud of our language, culture and tradition. M. Hamel had rendered the villagers a faithful service of forty years. The villagers had come to thank him. They wanted to show their respect for the country that was no more of them. They were sorry because they had not attended the school. So, they were sitting quietly and looked sad.
M. Hamel told them that French was the most beautiful language in the world. It was the dearest and the most logical language. He asked to guard it among them and never forget. He gave a reason also. When people are enslaved long as they hold fast to their language, they have a key to their prison.
6. How different from usual was the atmosphere at school on the day of the last lesson? 
Ans. In the past, the classroom was often a chaotic place, with students busily opening and closing their desks, the teacher repeating lessons loudly, and the sound of a ruler rapping on the table. However, on this particular day, the atmosphere was calm and quiet, akin to a Sunday morning. All of the students were present, and Mr. Hamel, holding his iron ruler, walked through the room. Franz hesitated to enter, fearing he would be harshly scolded for his tardiness, but he was pleasantly surprised when Mr. Hamel greeted him politely and instructed him to take his seat. As he sat down, Franz noticed that the teacher was dressed in his elegant green coat, a frilled shirt, and a black silk cap adorned with embroidery – attire he typically reserved for special occasions or award ceremonies. Looking around the classroom, Franz saw that several prominent members of the village, including the former Mayor, the former Postmaster, and even old Hauser, were seated at the back. They all appeared to share a sense of patriotism and remorse for not having learned French when they had the opportunity.