The Last Lesson Summary in English by Alphonse Daudet

The Last Lesson Summary in English and Hindi Pdf. The Last Lesson is written by Alphonse Daudet.

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The Last Lesson Summary in English by Alphonse Daudet

The Last Lesson by Alphonse Daudet About the Author

Alphonse Daudet (13 May 1840 – 16 December 1897) was a French short story writer and novelist. He is remembered chiefly as the author of sentimental tales of provincial life in the south of France. All his life he recorded his observations of other people in little notebooks, which he used as a reservoir of inspiration.

Daudet represents a synthesis of conflicting elements and his actual experience of life, at every social level and in the course of travels, helped to develop his natural gifts. His major works include ‘Tastain’, ‘Le Petit Chose’, ‘In the land of Pain’ and ‘The Last Lesson’.

Author Name Alphonse Daudet
Born 13 May 1840, Nimes, France
Died 16 December 1897, Paris, France
Movies Letters from My Windmill, L’Arlésienne
Nationality French
Alphonse Daudet - the last lesson summary in English class 12
Alphonse Daudet

The Last Lesson Theme

‘The Last Lesson’ revolves around the language and its importance to the citizens of a country. It is the duty of every citizen to safeguard the language of the country as it is the identity of that country. The lesson depicts how after defeating France in the war, the Prussians wanted to rule over not only the territory of France but also over the minds and hearts of the people.

The story reinforces the fact that we value something more when it is lost. The pain and anguish of the students and the teacher is evident as everyone realizes how things were taken for granted. The lesson emphasizes the importance of the mother tongue for everyone and the need to realize the fact that it is our language that gives us our identity, respect and freedom.

The Last Lesson Summary in English

‘The Last Lesson’ is set in the days of the Franco-Prussian War. France was defeated by Prussia and the districts of Alsace and Lorraine had passed into Prussian hands. The orders came from Berlin to teach only German in the schools of Alsace and Lorraine.

The story tells the effect of this transition on the people through the eyes of a young boy, Franz. The story describes what is just another ordinary day for Franz who started very late for school that morning. In fact, he was reluctant to go to school as he had not prepared his French lesson on participles and his teacher, M. Hamel, was going to conduct an oral test on the topic in the class. Initially, he thought of spending the bright warm day outdoors enjoying the chirping of birds and drilling of Prussian soldiers at the back of the sawmill, but finally he decided to go to school.

On the way, Franz passed the town hall, where he saw a large crowd reading the bulletin board which had been a source of all bad news. Franz didn’t stop there and rushed to the school.

When Franz arrived at the school, he found a strange quietness there. He found that his classmates were already seated in their places and the teacher had already started teaching. The back benches were occupied by the village elders who were grim and solemn. To his surprise, M. Hamel was in his formal dress that he used to wear only on the inspection or prize distribution days. Franz found M. Hamel to be kinder than usual.

He didn’t scold Franz for being late and allowed him to take his seat. Franz was shocked to get the news that it was their last lesson in French and the new German teacher would take charge on the following day. He was full of regret for not learning his mother tongue and felt a sudden love for French. He even started liking M. Hamel and forgot all about his ruler and crankiness.

When M. Hamel asked Franz to answer a question on participles, he was not able to answer. Even then, M. Hamel didn’t scold him and remarked that the only trouble with people of Alsace was of putting off learning till the next day. He blamed parents for sending their children to earn money rather than to school. He also blamed himself for sending students to water his plants or for giving them a holiday when he wanted to go fishing.

M. Hamel then talked of the French language, calling it the most beautiful language in the world. He told the class to keep their language close to their hearts to feel free and happy. As long as an enslaved people held fast to their language, they had the key to their prison. Their language could liberate them forever. As the church dock struck twelve, M. Hamel with a choked throat wrote on the blackboard Vive La France, i.e. Long Live France and dismissed the class.

The story, written in a historical background, is a beautiful depiction of the emotional bond of people with their mother tongue. It depicts the pathos of the situation that in order to conquer the minds of the people, it is not enough to win a country physically by force. In order to enslave a people completely, a conqueror needs to enslave their thoughts and make them devoid of the knowledge and use of their own mother tongue.

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