Monday, July 5, 2021

The Last Lesson;NCERT Solutions and Summary for Class 12

                             The Last Lesson
                                                 -Alphonse Daudet
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"The Last Lesson" by Alphonse Daudet is a story centered around the theme that their is a certain longing to learn and love one's mother tongue.It also displays the predicament of the people who were colonized as the colonizers took away their fundamental rights.

The story is narrated by a French boy named Franz.He is lazy but sensitive and likes a lot to play.He dislikes studying French and despised his French teacher M.Hamel for his cranky nature.The story is set in an era when Germany had colonised France.

After overpowering the districts of Alsace and Lorraine in France,orders had directly came from Berlin that only German would be taught in the schools instead of French.

One fine day,the narrator was going to his school with a heavy heart,as he had not completed his lessons on "participles".It was a day very fine to waste it in the school but he resisted the temptation and hurried to his school.On his way to the school,he saw a crowd near the bulletin board.He started thinking what was the matter then.Because,all the important announcements,drafts and orders of the commanding officer came directly to the bulletin-board.

The atmosphere near the school was also unusual as the whole place was silent which usually remained active with a lot of hustle-bustle.There was no commotion at all and it felt as silent as a Sunday morning.

He entered the class and went up to his class.He was very disappointed to see all his classmates were seated and Mr.Hamel walking up and down with his terrible iron ruler under his arm.The narrator almost blushed as he had to enter the class in front of everyone.He was expecting to get scolded.

Fortunately,that didn't happen.On the contrary,Mr.Hamel told him to get seated so that they can start.He seated himself but after some moments noticed some unusual things.He saw that Mr.Hamel was dressed in his best attire.He was completely overwhelmed to see that the last few benches were occupied by the villagers.Franz could almost easily sense taht something was solemn about the day.

Then,Mr.Hamel declared something which put his thinking to rest.He sadly proclaimed that this was the last lecture they were attending in which Mr.Hamel would teach them.As the colonizers had made the law that only German would be taught in the schools,he had to leave the place.

He said that he needed everyone's full attention.Surprisingly that day,not a single soul made any kind of noise or created any kind of disturbance.Everybody listened to M.Hamel with rapt attention.He even distributed new copies in the class to every student.He gazed at every object in the class as if he wanted to capture all those precious moments somewhere deep in his mind and heart.

Seeing all this,all the dislike Franz had for Mr.Hamel melted away.He was even repenting that he was not sincere enough towards his studies as now when he heard Mr.Hamel with rapt attention,he could easily understand everything.The villagers had come there to attend the last class of M.Hamel and it was their way of thanking the master for his valuable service of forty years.

Mr.Hamel told the villagers and the students that they are ofren of the opinion that they have a lot of time with them.However,life is very unpredictable and nobody can know what is in store for him or her.We must not keep our work pending as Procrastination can result in an irreparable loss.He also blamed himself and confessed that he also took some time off which has resulted in incomplete imparting of knowledge.

After this,he praised the French language extensively.According to him,French is the most beautiful and logical language in the world.He told his students and the class to guard their language.Being close to one's  language can help in getting released from the shackles of slavery as it is the key.He reassured them that their language can indeed help them in getting free from the Germans.He was already emotional by then.He could not tell anything  more.He just picked up the chalk and wrote on the board-"Vive La France" which meant-"Long Live France".This alone reflected the patriotism he had in her himself.

At this point,Franz realized that it is not possible to take away one's language from a person as it is natural to each being.

Difficult Words:
1)Sawmill:A facility where logs are cut into timber.
2) Prussia:A country in middle-Europe.
3)Drilling: Preparation of soldiers for their performance in war.
4)Bulletin-Board:A sort of notice board intended for posting of public messages.
5)Commanding Officer:An officer in command of a military unit.
6)Blacksmith:A person whose primary occupation is creating objects from metals such as Iron and Steel.
7)Apprentice:A person working under a professional to learn a trade or art.
8)Bustle: Excited activity and movement.
9)Rapping:Strike with a series of rapid audible blows.
10)Blushed:A way of showing embarrassment and shyness by becoming red in the face.
11)Commotion:A state of confused and noisy disturbance.
12)Frilled:A ruffled,gathered or pleated border or projection.
13)Three-Cornered:A triangular shaped thing.
14)Primer:Basic reader of any language.
15)Thumbed: Having been read often and bearing marks of frequent handling.
16)Thunderclap:(Here)Used to represent something unexpected.
17)Saar:A river in France 
18)Reproach: Express someone's disapproval.
19)Hopvine:A twining stem of the hop.
20)Church-Clock:A clock in the church.
21)Angelus:A prayer song in the church.

About Author:
Alphonse Daudet(1840-1897) was a French novelist and short story writer.Formerly,a school teacher,he quit this job to make a living as a journalist in Paris and eventually became a writer.All his poems were collected into a volume called "Les Amoureuses".

NCERT Questions:

A)Think as you read.
Page No.- 06
1)Franz had been assigned with some homework.Moreover,that was the day when he was expected to be  prepared with 'Participles'.
Their teacher M.Hamel had told them that they would be questioned on 'Participles'.
Unfortunately,Franz didn't know anything about 'Participles' and was yet to read about them.

2) Usually when school began,there was a lot of hustle-bustle and a lot of noise in the vicinity.It could easily be heard out on the streets also.But everything seemed silent that day like a Sunday morning.When he reached his class,he could easily sense that the atmosphere was solemn.

3)The bulletin-board was associated with bad news.All the news and orders from the colonizers was published there.This time the order was that only German would be taught in the schools of Alsace and Lorraine.

Page No.- 07
1) Various changes had to be made in accordance to the order from Berlin.M.Hamel who happened to be Franz's French teacher had to leave the school.French would be completely eliminated from their curriculum.Instead of that,German would be taught in the schools.

2)Franz's feelings for his school and his teacher M.Hamel were pretty much dry.He seldom paid any attention to them.However, when he came to know that his teacher was leaving them soon,his feelings underwent a complete change.He was remorseful that he never paid any attention to the lessons taught in the school.He also completely forgot about Mr.Hamel's cranky nature and started to admire him.

B)Understanding the text.
Page No.- 08
1)In Mr.Hamel's last class,he made his students and the villagers realize how precious and significant their native language is.He praised French a lot and admired it by saying how it was the clearest and most logical language in the world.He openly proclaimed that if the current scenario continues,those who called themselves as Frenchman would neither be able to speak or write it.According to him,one's mother tongue is the key to the prison for the enslaved people.Pride in one's language reflects pride in his motherland.

2)This thought of Franz reflects the boy's innocence but also his reaction to the imposition of learning German by the colonnizers.Being deprived of the learning of mother tongue means cutting off all bonds with your motherland which is nothing less than a crime."Teaching the pigeons to sing in German" indicates how far the Germans could go in their attempts at linguistic chauvinism.

C)Talking about the text.
Page No.- 08
1)One's mother tongue helps a person to express his/her feelings and thoughts most lucidly and intimately.Colonizers and conquerors try to subdue and control the people of the enslaved territory by enforcing various harsh measures.Such measures include force and trying to impose their own language.For instance,the Romans conquered many parts of Europe and replaced local languages such as Belgian,Dutch by their own language -"Latin".

2)The linguistic minorities in any state can be4 easily marked and face the same discrimination as the religious and ethnic minorities.As their language is different,they are not easily accepted by the society.On the other hand,some states which are developed such as Delhi and Karnataka are cosmopolitan in their outlook and absorb people irrespective of their background.
The linguistic minority can take various effective steps to preserve their language,the values associated to it and its heritage.Using the language in social get-togethers, family functions etc can help the millennials get a grasp of the language.Adherence to social customs and traditions in family gatherings and other casual meetings and occasions will also promote unity between members of the linguistic minorities.

3)'Linguistic Chauvinism' means an overtly aggressive and unreasonable belief that your own language is better than others.This shows an excessive or prejudiced support for one's own language.However,sometimes this zealous promotion of one language goes too far resulting in violent conflicts.They tend to forget that other languages too have their own merits and long heritage.For instance,the resistance to the acceptance of Hindi as national language by the Southern states of India is a straight result of the fear of being dominated by Hindi chauvinistic leaders from right-wing leaders and political parties.

No part of this publication may be reproduced,stored in a retrieval system of transmitted,in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical,photocopying,recording or otherwise without the prior permission of the publisher.

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