The Last Lesson Class 12 in English - Explanation and Summary -CBSE Class XII -Flamingo Chapter 1. The Last Lesson Explanation and Summary NCERT Class 12. 'The Last Lesson' Flamingo Chapter 1 summary By Alphonse Daudet
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Summary – Franz was late for school and so was afraid that his teacher Mr. Hamel would scold him as he had not learnt the lesson of participles which the teacher had asked them to learn. On his way to school, he was tempted by the warm weather and the birds chirping on trees but he resisted and continued on his journey to school. At the town hall, the bulletin board was over crowded which indicated some important news had been put up but as Franz was already late for school, he did not stop. When he reached school, he felt it unusual as there was no sound of the desks being arranged, the students reciting their lessons, etc. Franz had thought that the morning commotion in the school would help him reach his class without being noticed but to his surprise, this morning was as calm as a Sunday morning. He saw through the window that the class was all settled down, was frightened at the thought of entering the class in front of everyone but his teacher was calm and kindly asked him to get to his seat so that they could begin. When he settled down, he noticed that their teacher was dressed in his best attire which he would wear for inspection and prize distribution functions. He also noticed that the village men were seated on the last benches of the room, all of them looked sad. Mr. Hamel mounted his chair, and, in the same grave and gentle tone, 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.” Now it all became clear to Franz, the crowd at the town hall notice board, the silence in the school, the kindness of his teacher and his unusual attire and the presence of the village men in the class room. Franz was shocked that it was his last lesson in French, his mother tongue, he could barely write it. He was remorseful for not learning well in the past, all the things he ran away from, seemed so precious. The idea that his teacher was going away, made him forget all about his ruler and how cranky he was. When it was his turn to recite the lesson, Franz wanted to be able to recite it loud and clear at once but got mixed up at the first words and hung his head in shame. His teacher did not scold him as he told Franz that today he would himself be ashamed of himself. He said sarcastically that the entire Alsace had this bad habit of putting off their work to the next day and now they would regret it when the enemy will laugh at them for not knowing their own language. He said that not only Franz but all of them, his parents, teachers were to be blamed for not being serious towards learning French. He praised French for being the most beautiful language, being the clearest and most logical. He read out a grammar lesson to them and Franz was amazed that how well he understood it. Franz realized that he had never listened to him so attentively and that his teacher had also not taught them so patiently. The grammar lesson was followed by one in writing. They got new notebooks to write on, they had beautifully written on them the words ‘France, Alsace. France, Alsace.’ They seemed like little flags put up on their desks, there was a sense of patriotism in the class. Everyone started work and the class room was unusually quiet, the only sound that was heard was of the pen being scribbled on the paper. A few insects flew into the class but nobody’s attention got diverted, no one of them made a noise. The pigeons could be heard on the roof of the school, and Franz wondered whether they would also be forced to coo in German language.. He had spent forty years in the school, with the garden outside and his students in the classroom. The only change was that the classroom benches had worn out due to use over the years, the walnut trees had grown taller and the vine that he had planted had twined up the window, across the roof. It would be heart breaking for him to leave all this and go, his sister could be heard upstairs, packing their bags to leave the country the next day. The church-clock struck twelve. The Prussians, returning from drill, sounded. The teacher started to speak but could not, and then he turned to the blackboard and wrote the words – long live France.