Q.1:- What did Franz notice that was unusual about the school that day?
A.1:- Franz had expected to meet the usual scenario on reaching the school. There used to be great bustle, which could be heard out in street, the opening and closing of desks, lessons repeated in unison very loud and the teacher's great ruler's rapping on the table. But that day it was all very still and as quiet as Sunday morning. The students were already in their place, the back benches were filled with villagers, and M. Hamel was beautifully dressed.
Q.2:- What had been put on the bulletin - board?
A.2:- Usually the bulletin-board had news of lost battles, the drafts, and the orders of commanding officer. But the latest news was about German rulers order banning the teaching of French in Alsace and Lorraine.
Q.3:- "When a people are enslaved, as long as they hold fast to their language it is as if they had the key to their prison". Comment on the basis of the story "The last Lesson"?
A.3:- Political enslavement is a curse for any nation as it deprives it of its identity. The natives of the country do not enjoy any kind of freedom, be it physical or mental. The ruling government or the powerful compels them to abide by the rules justified or unjustified. At such time it is their language, mother tongue which keeps their identity alive. It is their language which unites them against the foreigners who have invaded their motherland. It is also the key to their prison as the mother tongue binds them together. It constantly reminds them to their enslavement and brings them together to fight for liberation of their motherland. M. Hamel in the chapter "the last lesson" reminds his countrymen to safeguard their language after they received orders from Berlin banning the teaching of French in Alsatian school. The natives can liberate themselves only if they recognize and maintain their identity through their mother tongue.
Q.4:- Franz thinks, `Will they make them sing in German, even the pigeons"? How does the expression evoke feelings of indiscriminate domination by man?
A.4:- Man has an inherent desire for power and unfortunately when he achieves it he uses it wrongly. He wants absolute enslavement and thus wants not only land but wants to master the mind and heart also. The story which is set in the Franco — Prussian war, brings the dominant nature of man (Germans). Prussian had acquired the districts of Alsace and Lorraine in the war but it was not only that they wanted; they even wanted to take their language from them. They released orders not to teach French anymore and only German would be taught. Franz who had developed a sudden love for French was very sad and felt it was like mastering the forces of nature and enslaving them too. During his last lesson in French when he heard pigeons on the roof-top cooing, Franz ironically says this statement, whether they will make these pigeons also sing in German.
Q.5:- The story "The last lesson" is all about 'Linguistic Chauvinism'. Comment?
A.5:- Linguistic Chauvinism means the strong and unreasonable belief that your own country and language is the best and important. Man finds himself in the confinements. The story "The last lesson" is all about linguistic chauvinism. Acquisition of power over the Alsatians made the Prussians so domineering that they imposed even their language on them. Their pride in their language was so fixed that they even forgot to respect the language of the others (People of Alsace). The rulers wanted to dominate even on the minds and hearts and wanted them even to think in their language, thereby causing the loss of their too tall identity, The story thus highlights linguistic chauvinism which is becoming a major cause of war and political disturbance in the world.