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Lost Spring Summary in English by Anees Jung
Lost Spring by Anees Jung About the Author
Anees Jung (born 1944-) is an Indian woman writer, journalist and columnist for major newspapers in India and abroad. She was born at Hyderabad and received education in Hyderabad and in the United States. Her parents were renowned poets. She has written several books such as Unveiling India, Night of the New Moon, Seven Sisters and Breaking the Silence.
|1944 (age 76 years), Rourkela
|Osmania University, University of Michigan
|Writer, journalist, columnist
Lost Spring Introduction to the Chapter
‘The Last Lesson’ is set in the days of the Franco-Prussian War, led by Bismarck. Prussia defeated France and the French districts of Alsace and Lorraine passed into Prussian hands.
The two protagonists of the story, M. Hamel and Franz are from Alsace. M. Hamel is a French teacher and Franz is one of his students. The story revolves around how the war plays a pivotal role in their lives.
Lost Spring Theme
The chapter, ‘The Last Lesson’ covers the themes of patriotism, freedom of language and love for one’s mother tongue. The story stresses on the importance of education and the necessity to respect and learn one’s own language. It also reflects to the unfair practice of linguistic chauvinism – refers to an unreasonable pride in one’s own language while disregarding other languages and considering it to be inferior.
Lost Spring Summary in English
Franz was a student in Mr Hamel’s class at a school in Alsace. The country was now controlled by the Prussians. One day, a notice came from Berlin informing that French would no longer be used in classrooms. All classes would now be taught in German. Mr Hamel told his class that this was his last day of teaching. Everyone was surprised and sad.
Mr Hamel told the students that they had to study hard and keep their French language alive. He said that if a country kept its language, only then it could never be enslaved by another country. Franz felt bad that he had not studied harder. After that, Mr Hamel had his final lessons in the class. All the students studied very diligently. They suddenly understood how important learning was. As the class came to an end, Mr Hamel looked very sad. Before he dismissed the class, he wrote on the blackboard in very large letters, “Vive La Francel” Long live France!
Lost Spring Main Characters in the Chapter
A sincere French teacher
- Knew his subject well.
Is passionate about the French language
- Considers French the clearest, the most beautiful and the most logical language in the world.
- Feels that language is the key to a person’s sense of freedom.
- Advises villagers to hold on to French, despite the ban on using the language.
Is proud of being French
- Upset and distressed by the occupation of Alsace by the Germans.
- Attached to his town, school and people.
Is a hard task master
- Particular about discipline.
- Emphasises proper, learning of the subjects.
- The students are scared of him.
An honest and sensitive man
- Shattered by the news of the occupation of Alsace.
- At the arrival of Prussian soldiers, becomes overwhelmed with emotions and his voice chokes.
Blames himself for being selfish at times
- Blames himself for not being sincere and taking holiday or going for fishing.
- Also for making his students run errands for him during class time.
Characteristics of M. Hamel: Emotional, hardworking, patriotic, loyal, honest and sensitive.
Sensitive and innocent
- Blames himself for ignoring his lessons.
- Worries about the German takeover.
- Enjoys sunshine, bird watching, chasing butterflies.
Is conscious of his student duties
- Wishes that he had prepared for the class.
- Doesn’t like being scolded in the class.
- Notices every little detail on his way to school.
- Quick to observe the changes in his surroundings.
- Observes M. Hamel’s efforts to control his emotions.
Characteristics of Franz: Observant, sensitive, nature-lover, sincere and empathetic.
Lost Spring Summary Reference-to-Context Questions
Read the extracts given below and answer the questions that follow.
1. For a moment I thought of running away and spending the day out of doors. It was so warm, so bright! The birds were chirping at the edge of the woods; and in the open field back of the sawmill the Prussian soldiers were drilling. It was all much more tempting than the rule for participles, but I had the strength to resist, and hurried off to school.
a. What did Franz think for a moment?
Franz thought to run away and spend his day out.
b. Why did he think so?
He thought so because he was very late to the school, and he did not prepare anything for the test. So, he was afraid of M. Hamel’s scolding.
c. What were the Prussian soldiers doing?
The Prussian soldiers were drilling in the open field back of the sawmill.
d. What were more tempting than the rule for participles?
The birds were chirping at the edge of the woods, the Prussian soldiers were drilling, and the warm and bright day were more tempting than the rule for participles.
2. Then, as I hurried by as fast as I could go, the blacksmith, Watcher, who was there, with his apprentice, reading the bulletin, called after me, “Don’t go so fast, bub; you’ll get to your school in plenty of time!”
a. Who is ‘I’ here?
Here, ‘I’ is Franz.
b. Why was ‘I’ in a hurry?
Franz was in a hurry because he was getting late to school.
c. Who was reading the bulletin?
The blacksmith with his apprentice was reading the bulletin.
Why did the blacksmith call after him?
The blacksmith was making fun of him because he was getting late to school. He commented in a sarcastic way to not go too fast as he has plenty of time to reach the school.
3. While I was wondering about it all, M. Hamel mounted his chair, and, in the same grave and gentle tone which he had used to me, 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.”
a. Who is ‘I’ here?
Here, ‘I’ is Franz.
b. What was ‘I’ wondering?
Franz has been wondering about the presence of village people, sitting quietly on the back benches which used to be always empty.
c. How was the tone of M. Hamel?
M. Hamel’s tone was grave and gentle.
d. Why did M. Hamel want everyone to be attentive?
M. Hamel wanted everyone to be attentive because this was the last lesson he would give to the class.
4. Poor man! It was in honour of this last lesson that he had put on is fine Sunday clothes, and now I understood why the old men of the village were sitting there in the back of the room. It was because they were sorry, too, that they had not gone to school more. It was their way of thanking our master for his forty years of faithful service and of showing their respect for the country that was theirs no more.
a. Who is referred as ‘poor man’ here?
Here, the ‘poor man’ refers to M. Hamel.
b. Why had he put on fine Sunday clothes?
He had put on fine Sunday clothes in honour of the last lesson.
c. Why were the village people sitting at the back of the room?
The village people were feeling sorry for not attending school during their time. This was their way to thank the master for his service.
d. For how many years did M. Hamel teach French in the school?
He taught French for forty years.
5. Whenever I looked up from my writing I saw M. Hamel sitting motionless in his chair and gazing first at one thing, then at another, as if he wanted to fix in his mind just how everything looked in that little school room. Fancy! For forty years he had been there in the same place, with his garden outside the window and his class in front of him, just like that.
a. What was the speaker doing?
The speaker was doing his lesson in writing.
b. What does M. Hamel’s motionless posture reflect?
M. Hamel’s motionless posture reflects his feeling of nostalgia.
c. What was he doing while sitting motionless in his chair?
He was gazing at everything that was present in the room.
d. What had been same for the past forty years?
For the past forty years, the garden outside the window and the class in front of him had been the same.
6. How it must have broken his heart to leave it all, poor man; to hear his sister moving about in the room above, packing their trunks! For they must leave the country next day.
a. Who are ‘they’ here?
Here, ‘they’ are M. Hamel and his sister.
b. Why is M. Hamel’s heart broken?
M. Hamel’s heart has been broken because he has to leave the country the next day.
c. Why do they have to leave the country?
They have to leave the country because the Prussian soldiers had announced that in the districts of Alsace and Lorraine, German would be taught instead of French.
d. Who is packing the trunks?
M. Hamel’s sister is packing the trunks.