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THE LAST LESSON

1. Notice these expressions in the text. Infer their meanings from the context.
in great dread of: fearful in anticipation of something
counted on: to rely or trust on somebody/something
thumbed at the edges: worn or soiled edges caused by frequent handling
in unison:something happening or being done at the same time
a great bustle: an excited (and often noisy) activity or a rapid, active commotion
reproach ourselves with: to express disapproval, criticism, or disappointment
1. What was Franz expected to be prepared with for school that day?
Franz was expected to be prepared with participles. Mr. Hamel had told the class that he would be taking a
test on the topic that day.
2. What did Franz notice that was unusual about the school that day?
Usually when the school began there would be a lot of commotion. But that day everything was quiet and it
appeared to be like a Sunday, but the students were at their places and Mr. Hamel was walking up and down
with his terrible iron ruler under his arm.
3. What had been put up on the bulletin-board?
The bulletin-board notified the general public about an order from Berlin. It stated that only German was to
be taught to students in the schools of Alsace and Lorraine.
1. What changes did the order from Berlin cause in school that day?
The order from Berlin brought all the routine hustle-bustle of the school life to a stand-still. The teacher, M.
Hamel, became more sympathetic to his students and taught his lessons with more patience. The students
became more attentive in their classes. The villagers, who were sitting at the usually empty back benches
and had come to show their respect and gratitude to M. Hamel, regretted not going to school more than they
did. The order also brought about a great change in the feelings of the people towards their country and
their native language. There was a general sadness about not being able to utilise the opportunities of
learning French when it was easily accessible.
2. How did Franz's feelings about M. Hamel and school change?
Franz was shocked when M. Hamel told the students about the order from Berlin and that it was their last
French lesson. He forgot about his teachers ruler and crankiness. He developed a fondness for M. Hamel at
the troubling idea of being separated from him forever. He understood the pain and agony his teacher was
undergoing. And, he became more sympathetic towards his teacher.
His school too, now, carried a different meaning. His books and lessons seemed old friends whom he
couldnt give up. He realised with pain how much French meant to him and regretted not being attentive in
his classes earlier. Suddenly, he felt that the difficult concepts had never actually been difficult.
1. The people in this story suddenly realize how precious their language is to them. What shows you this?
Why does this happen?
Hamel told the students and villagers that henceforth only German would be taught in the schools of
Alsace and Lorraine. Those who called themselves Frenchmen would neither be able to speak nor write it.
He praised French as the most beautiful, the clearest and most logical language in the world. He said that

for the enslaved people, their language was the key to their prison. Then the people realised how precious
their language was to them. This shows people's love for their own culture, traditions and country. Pride in
one's language reflects pride in motherland.
2. Franz thinks, Will they make them sing in German, even the pigeons ? What could this means?
Alphonse Daudets The Last Lesson very prominently raises the question of linguistic and cultural
hegemony of the colonial and imperial powers and their lust for controlling the world and influencing their
cultures and identities. Prussians acquired the districts of Alsace and Lorraine in Franco-Prussian War , but
they were not satisfied with mere political domination ,they desired to enforce their own language on the
people of the defeated nation. They released the order that from now German would be taught in schools
rather than French. Franz wondered whether they would make even pigeons sing in German. It means that
they had grown up using French as their language and now snatching away their language from them would
be unfair and unkind. The language was as natural to them as cooing is to the pigeon. So, compulsion to
speak another language is like dominating the force of nature and enslaving it. As it is next to impossible to
alter the way pigeons sing, in the same way it is difficult for people to accept a language which is forcibly
imposed on them. Adopting a new language causes pain and discomfort.
Or
This sentence could possibly mean that however hard the authorities try to embed German language in the
culture of Alsace and Lorraine, the natural status of French, for them, will remain unchanged. French flows
in the air and the entire place is imbued with its effect. Even though they train students in German, the basic
mode of communication would remain unchanged like the cooing of the pigeons.
2. What happens to a linguistic minority in a state? How do you think they can keep their language alive?
For example:
Punjabis in Bangalore
Tamilians in Mumbai
Kannadigas in Delhi
Gujaratis in Kolkata
Answer
A linguistic minority in a state does not have as much liberty to exercise linguistic skills as the natives of
the state. They initially try to learn the jargons in order to cope with the day-to-day life activities and finally
begin to understand the native language with regular interaction. At the workplace and educational
organisations, English or the link language helps a lot to cope up with the work and learning process. But,
when it comes to understanding the basic norms of the society, in order to socialize, one does face a sort of
linguistic barrier during communication.
To keep their language alive, the linguistic minorities can form small communities where they can celebrate
their festivals as per their traditions. Moreover, they can continue to speak their native language at their
homes in order to make their children learn the language. People must, even, try to visit their native places
at regular intervals in order to stay close to their roots.
Q. 1. Describe the background in which 'The Last Lesson' of Alphonse Daudet has been set. (Imp.)
Ans. 'The Last Lesson' is set in the days of the Franco-Prussian War (1870-1871). France was defeated by
Prussia (Germany). By an order from Berlin, German language was imposed on the French districts of
Alsace and Lorraine. The lesson describes how a teacher in Alsace, M. Hamel, reacts to this shocking news.
His students and even the villagers share his views.
Q. 3. Why did Franz think of running away and spending the day out of doors?
(Imp.)
Ans. Franz started for school very late. His teacher, M. Hamel had said that he would question them on
'participles'. Franz knew nothing about them. He feared a scolding from M. Hamel. He thought of running
away from the school and spending the day out of doors. But he resisted the temptation and hurried off to
school.
Q. 4. What was the temptation and how did Franz resist it ?

Ans. M. Hamel was to question the students on participles. Franz knew nothing about them and feared a
scolding. For a moment he was tempted to run away and spend the day out of doors. The weather was
warm. The day was bright. Woods, open fields and chirping of birds tempted him. But he overcame his
temptation and hurried off to school.
Q. 5. What did Franz see when he passed in front of the town hall on the way to school ? (Imp.)
Ans. Franz passed the town hall on his way to school. There was a great crowd in front of the bulletinboard. For the past two years all their bad news had come from there. The people thronged there to hear
the news of last battles or the orders of the commanding officer. They verified everything from there.
Q. 6. Why was there a crowd in front of the bulletin-board at the town hall ?
(A.I. CBSE 2008)
Ans. Usually there used to be a crowd in front of the bulletin-board at the town hall. All the bad news had
come from there for the last two years. But today another bad news shocked the residents of the town. An
order has come from Berlin. German language was to be imposed on the people of Alsace and Lorraine.
Now only the German teachers will teach German to the French speaking population.
Q. 7. Describe at least two changes that could be seen in M. Hamel after he came to know of that order
from Berlin.
Ans. M. Hamel was a hard task-master. But the order from Berlin completely changed him. He didn't
rebuke Franz when he entered the classroom quite late. Nor did he scold him when he got mixed up and
confused when it was his turn to recite. His last act of writing "Vive La France!" on the blackboard revealed
his love for France and French.
Q. 8. How was the scene in the school in the morning of the last lesson different from that on other days ?
(CBSE 2008)
Ans. The scene in the school is different from that on other days. It was the last lesson in French. German
was going to be imposed on them from the next day. Hence, all students and even the village elders had
gathered there. The love for their native language French dominated all other things.
Q. 9. I had counted on the commotion to get to my desk without being seen; ...', said Franz. How did he
enter and what was the reaction of the teacher ?
Ans. Franz was late for school. Usually there was always a great hustle and bustle in the morning. He had
hoped to take advantage of that noise and commotion. He wanted to get to his desk without being noticed.
But that day he had to go in before everybody. But nothing happened. M. Hamel only asked him very
politely to take up his seat.
Q. 10. What did Franz see through the window when he reached his school ?
Ans. Through the window Franz saw his classmates. They were already in their places. M. Hamel was tense
walking up and down. He had that "terrible" ruler under his arm. It was all very quietas quiet as Sunday
morning. The usual commotion and activities were absent.
Q. 11. What was the thing that surprised the narrator most? Why was everybody sad?
Ans. The whole school seemed so strange and silent. But the thing that surprised Franz most was to see the
village people on the back benches. Generally they were always empty. Everybody sat quietly and looked
sad. Everybody was sad to know that German would be taught in all schools of Alsace.
Q. 12. Why didn't M. Hamel get angry with Franz for being late?
Ans. M. Hamel was much disturbed by the news that came from Berlin. He was delivering his 'last lesson'
in French. So he didn't get angry with Franz for being late. Rather he said very kindly, "Go to your place,
little Franz". He ignored Franz's being late and went on with his lesson.
Q. 13. How did M. Hamel give the shocking news to the students and the villagers and with what effect ?
(V. Imp.)
Ans. The villagers sat along with the students on the back desks. M. Hamel mounted on his chair. He spoke
in a grave and gentle tone. He made it clear that it was his last French lesson. An order had come from
Berlin. All the schools of Alsace and Lorraine would teach only German. A new teacher would replace him

the next day. The news left everyone shocked and grieved.
Q. 14. Why had M. Hamel put on his fine Sunday clothes ? Why were the old men of the village sitting
there in the back of the classroom ?
Ans. M. Hamel had put on his fine Sunday clothes to highlight the occasion. The old men of the village had
come there to show their sympathy and respect to the teacher. It was their way to thank M. Hamel for his
forty years of faithful service. They had also come to show their respect to France and their most beautiful
language French.
Q. 15. How did Franz perform when his turn came to recite? How did M. Hamel react?
Ans. It was Franz's turn to recite. In spite of his best effort, he got mixed up. His heart was beating and he
did not dare to look up. M. Hamel assured in a polite tone that he would not scold him. He was not the only
one who neglected learning French. Many others in Alsace shared his fate.
Q. 16. "We've all a great deal to reproach ourselves with." Why did M. Hamel blame the parents and
himself too for not showing due attention and care to the learning of French?
Ans. M. Hamel didn't scold Franz for neglecting the learning of French. Most of the people of Alsace could
neither speak nor write their own language. Their parents preferred to put them to work on a farm or at the
mills. Mr. Hamel didn't even spare himself. He had often sent his students to water his flowers instead of
learning their lessons.
Q. 17. What did M. Hamel tell the people in the class about French language ? What did he ask them to do
and why ? (A.I. CBSE 2008)
Or
How does M. Hamel pay a tribute to the French language ? (A.I. CBSE 2008)
Ans. M. Hamel went on to talk of French language. He told that it was the most beautiful language of the
world. It was the clearest and the most logical of all languages. He asked the people to guard it among
themselves and never forget it. As long as people 'hold fast to the' language' they have the key to freedom.
Q. 18. Why did M. Hamel ask his students and the villagers to guard French among them ?
Ans. M. Hamel was delivering his last in French to his students. From the next day the French districts of
Alsace would teach German in all schools. M. Hamel was grieved but quite helpless. He praised French as
the most beautiful and logical language in the world. He urged upon them to guard their beautiful language.
Q. 19. How did the narrator take the last lesson in grammar and with what effect?
(Imp.)
Ans. In the end, M. Hamel opened a grammar book. He read them their last lesson. All he said 'seemed so
easy, so easy !' Franz understood it so well. He had never listened to his teacher so carefully. It seemed as if
M. Hamel wanted to give them all he knew before going away. He wanted to put it all into their heads at
one stroke.
Q. 20. Describe M. Hamel's service to the school in Alsace.
Ans. For forty years M. Hamel had been serving in the same school in Alsace. He valued French language
as the most beautiful language in the world. His students and even the village elders paid respect to him on
the last day. He felt sorry that the people of Alsace neglected their learning.
Q. 21. What was the parting message of M. Hamel to his students and the village elders who had gathered
in the classroom?
Ans. M. Hamel stood up, very pale, in his chair. He was speaking for the last time. He tried to speak but
couldn't. Something choked him. Then he turned to the blackboard and wrote as large as he could :
"Vive La France !" (" Long Live France !"). Without a word he made a gesture. All of them could go. The
school was "dismissed".
Q. 22. "The people in the story realise suddenly how precious their language is to them." How do they
realise it and who makes them realise it ? (V. Imp.)
Ans. An order comes from Berlin. The people suddenly realise how precious their language is to them.

German is imposed on the French districts of Alsace and Lorraine. The man who makes them aware of the
greatness of their language is M. Hamel. He arouses their hidden love for their beautiful language.
Q. 23. What happened when the church-clock struck twelve ?
Or
How did M. Hamel say farewell to his students and the village elders?
Ans. The church-clock struck twelve. It was time for the Angelus prayer. At the same moment the trumpets
of the Prussians sounded. Suddenly M. Hamel grew overemotional. Patriotic feelings overpowered him. He
took a piece of chalk and wrote as large as he could: "Long Live France".
Q. 24. What is Linguistic Chauvinism? How do you classify M. Hamel's love and the villagers' concern for
French?
Ans. 'Linguistic Chauvinism' means carrying pride in one's language too far. But the love of Hamel and the
village elders for French doesn't amount to this. Rather they are victims of it. German is being imposed on
the French speaking people of Alsace. M. Hamel feels genuinely proud of French language. He urges others
never to forget such a beautiful language.
Q. 25. Justify the title of 'The Last Lesson.' (Imp.)
Ans. The title is self-revealing. It was certainly the last lesson that M. Hamel was delivering to his students.
From the next day German was to be imposed on the French speaking people of Alsace. M. Hamel was
leaving the school for good with a heavy heart. Even the elders had come to pay respect and listen to the
last lesson in French.
Q. 26. What message does the writer want to convey to the readers through 'The Last Lesson'?
Ans. Alphonse Daudet has a definite message to convey to his readers. Through M. Hamel he wants to
express pride in one's language. Greatness of French language is highlighted. The lesson arouses patriotic
feelings. It makes the readers aware that they must keep their language and culture alive at all costs.
LONG ANSWER TYPE QUESTIONS
Q. 1. What was the order from Berlin? How did that order affect the people of Alsace, particularly M.
Hamel and his students ?
(V. Imp.)
Ans. A shocking order had come from Berlin. Two French speaking districts of Alsace and Lorrain were
under German occupation. German language was imposed on the people of Alsace.
The order from Berlin added insult to the injury. It hurt the pride of the people. M. Hamel, a school teacher,
broke this shocking news to his students. He declared that it was his last lesson in French. He would leave
the place for good. A new master would replace him to teach German. The news aroused patriotic feelings
in students as well as the villagers. The village elders came to the school to listen to the last lesson in
French. He spoke at length about French language. He called French the most beautiful language in the
world. It was the clearest and the most logical language. He expressed his dismay that the people of Alsace
were quite indifferent to the learning of French. He called upon them to guard it among themselves and
never forget it. Their language was the key to their unity and liberation. Everyone listened to him with rapt
attention and respect.
Q. 2. Draw a character sketch of M. Hamel as it is shown in 'The Last Lesson.' (Imp.)
Ans. In 'The Last Lesson' Alphonse Daudet has presented M. Hamel's character with all sympathy and
respect. He is presented in the mould of a traditional school-master. He always kept his 'terrible' ruler under
his arm. Franz reminds us 'how cranky' M. Hamel was.
Franz was in great dread of scolding as he had not prepared his lesson on participles. Mr Hamel was a hard
task-master. We see the other side of M. Hamel's character after the order from Berlin came. He was a
transformed person now. He became extra soft and gentle 'towards his students. He didn't scold Franz for
coming late. Nor did he use his ruler when Franz got mixed up and confused. He declared that it was his
last lesson in French.
M. Hamel was highly respected both by his students and the village elders. He had completed 40 years in
the same school. The village elders came to pay their respect to such a grand teacher.

M. Hamel loved France and French from the core of his heart. He considered French as the most beautiful
language in the world. He asked the people to guard it among themselves and never to forget it.
Q. 3. Who was Franz ? What did he think about M. Hamel ? Did he change his views about M. Hamel ?
Illustrate at least two changes that came in Franz towards his teacher, his school and French.
Ans. Little Franz was a student of a school in Alsace. M. Hamel was his schoolmaster. Franz was not a
brilliant student. He didn't prepare his lesson on participles. When he was asked to recite, he got mixed up
and confused. He was always in dread of the great ruler that M. Hamel kept under his arm. Franz knew how
'cranky' M. Hamel was.
However, Franz had to change his opinion about M. Hamel. An order had come from Berlin. German
language was imposed on the people in Alsace. When he came to know that it was the last lesson of Mr.
Hamel, his views about him changed. He began to respect him. He had spent 40 years in the same school.
He felt sorry that he had neglected learning French. He shared M. Hamel's views about French. It was the
most beautiful language in the world. He listened to M. Hamel's last lesson with rapt attention and respect.
Q. 4. What is 'linguistic chauvinism'? Analyse the order from Berlin in this light. How do you justify M.
Hamel's views about French and the new-found love of the people towards their language?
Ans. Carrying pride in one's language too far leads to 'linguistic chauvinism'. We can analyse the order
from Berlin in this light. It is nothing but a naked example of linguistic chauvinism. The imposition of
German language over the French speaking population can't be justified at all. It is the worst kind of
colonialism.
M. Hamel's love for French is genuine. The shocking order from Berlin arouses patriotic feelings in him.
He loves French as the most beautiful language in the world. He calls it the clearest and most logical
language too. He regrets that the people of Alsace have not paid much heed to the learning of this great
language. He asks the people to safeguard it among themselves. It is the key to their unity and freedom.
The people of Alsace, particularly the village elders, suddenly realise how precious their language is to
them. Students like Franz too are not immune to patriotic feelings. Franz feels sorry for neglecting the
learning of French. He hates the idea of German language being imposed on them. He remarks
sarcastically: "Will they make them sing in German, even the pigeons.
OR
LINGUISTIC CHAUVINISM
Chauvinism is a devotion for or against something, just based on what you feel (not necessarily what you
may know). So, Linguistic chauvinism is the idea that ones language is superior to that of others. This
happens generally when the language is that of the ruling class.
Linguistic chauvinism is the overt preference for one language over others. Language is considered to be
the cultural identity of a particular group of people who use it. Hence, imposing some other language on
the people hammers their emotions and is a step to annex their relationship with their culture. The language
of any country is the pride of that country. It not only defines the culture but also tells us about the
people,literature and history of of the country.Language for some people is just the medium of
communication but for others it is the question of life and death.
The Last Lesson very prominently raises the question of linguistic and cultural hegemony of the colonial
and imperial powers and their lust for controlling the world and influencing their cultures and identities.
The Last Lesson raises the burning question very innocently through the words of little Franz that Will
they make them sing in German, even the pigeons? This raises the question of immorality of imposing
imperial languages and cultures on the colonies. The child questions that when even the birds and animals
cant be forced to abandon their language and speak others then what forces the man to think that it would
be prudent force other human beings to forcibly accept any language other than theirs.
The language of a country is not only a medium of communication for the people but also the link for
identity, once the native language is snatched away from the people. Its not only the loss of convenient
communicating medium but also the loss of identity for people for what they have been and what they
might become. When a small child like Franz can think of the irrationality behind snatching away the right
of language and identity from people then why cant the war lords and colonizers understand the fact?
MY MOTHER AT SIXTY SIX

No man is poor who has a mother. Abraham Lincoln


Themes:

Fear of loss: The poem composed in blank verse expresses the anguish of a daughter over her mothers
advancing age and the fear of permanent separation from her. My Mother at Sixty Six symbolizes the fast
running of life and the inevitable death of our childhood and youth. The poet is agonized by her mothers
advancing age and her imminent death.
Nostalgia: The poet is carried away by the childhood premonition of losing her mother .
The poet is on her way to the airport to cochin with her old mother sitting beside her,as she looks at her
mothers pale and pallid face, she is struck with the horror and pain of losing her. The mother with the
dozing face and open mouth is compared to a corpse. The poet is pained and shifts her attention outside the
car in order to drive out the negative feelings. The scene outside the window is of growing life and energy.
The rapidly sprinting trees alongside the merrily playing children symbolize youth and vitality. The poet
here is reminded of her own childhood when her mother had been young whereas now she is encircled with
the fear of losing her and that has made her insecure. As she bids goodbye to her mother at the airport, the
image of the old, wan, worn out mother in the twilight of years strikes her again but keeping a brave front
she hides her tears and smile.
ThemeThe poem revolves around the theme of advancing age and the fear that adheres to its loss and
separation. It is a sentimental account of the mothers approaching end through the eyes of the daughter.
The seemingly short poem touches upon the theme of the filial bond between the mother and daughter
smeared in the backdrop of nostalgia and fear. Nostalgia of the past(the time spent with the mother) and
fear of the future without her.
Poetic deviceIt is a short poem, without a full stop, the poem is like a long sentence, over flowing thought
process. The poet uses the device of comparison and contrast, simile and repetition. Although there is no
rhyming scheme in the poem yet its lyrical quality cannot be missed.
Following are the clues to the various probable questions from the text.
In case of discrepancies with the answers kindly bring it to my notice.
(Q.) Why does the poet smile and what does she say while bidding goodbye to her mother?(1 Mark)(Ans)
The poet smiles in order to put up a brave front so that her mother may not observe her pained and
frightened look. She smiles in order to reassure her mother and says that she would soon see her again.
(Q.) What is the kind of pain and ache that the poet feels?(2 Marks)
(Ans) The emotional pain and ache that the poet feels is due to the realization that her mother has gone old
and has become frail and pale like a corpse. She is dependent on her children. The ache also refers to the
old familiar ache of the childhood that revisits the poet due to the mothers old age and her approaching
end.(
Q.) Why are the young trees described as sprinting?(2 Marks)
(Ans) The young trees are personified in the poem. They seem to be running in the opposite direction when
seen through the window of the moving car. The movement is juxtaposed with the expression on the
mothers face i.e. ashen like a corpse. The movement of the children and the trees is in stark contrast with
the stillness associated with the mother.(
Q.) Why has the poet bought in the image of the merry children spilling out of their homes?(2 Marks)
(Ans) The poet highlights the helplessness and frailty of old age with the help of contrasts. The mother
dozes off mouth open, whereas the children spilling out of their homes signify movement and energy,
enthusiasm and vivacity, which the old people are bereft off.(
Q.) Why has the mother been compared to late winters moon?(2 Marks)
(Ans) The mother has been compared to the late winters moon which is dull and shrouded. It symbolizes
the ebbing of life. The moon brings to the poets mind night or the approaching end of life. The mother like
the late winters moon is dull, dim and dismal.
(Q.) What do the parting words of the poet and her smile signify?(2 Marks)
(Ans) The parting words see you soon Amma are used by the poet to reassure the mother and to infuse
optimism in the poet herself. The poet accepts the reality yet keeps up the faade of smiling in order to put
up a brave front. It requires a lot of effort and hence the poet has used the poetic device of repetition.(Q.)
What does the poet mean by all I did was smile and smile and smile?(2 Marks)
(Ans) The poet realizes the pain and ache she would get at separating from her mother. It was her childhood
fear that she experienced again. She was trying to hide her true emotions by smiling and smiling. The smile

here is the forced smile and not the natural one.


(Q.) What childhood fears do you think the poet is referring to in the poem My Mother at Sixty Six?(2
Marks)
(Ans) The poet refers to the fears of a child has of losing a parent or getting lost somewhere and thus
getting separated from them. The poet felt this kind of fear while looking at her mothers aged and pale
face. She was afraid that she might never see her again. However the fear is also symbolic of the strong
filial bond that the poet has not yet overgrown.
(Q.) What does the poet mean by she looked?(2 Marks)
(Ans) The poet felt that perhaps her mother too would be feeling insecure about her future. She saw these
expressions on her mothers face as well.
(Q.) What does the poets mother look like? What kind of images has the poet used to signify her ageing
decay?(2 Marks)
(Ans) The poets mother at sixty-six, is sitting beside the poet and is dozing off with her mouth open. This
is a sign of old age. Her face was pale like a corpses. Imagery of death has been created by the poet in this
comparison.
(Q.) What were the activities that the poet saw outside the car window?(2 Marks)
(Ans) The poet saw young trees speeding past and it seemed as if they were sprinting or running fast.
Happy, enthusiastic and energetic children could be seen running out of their homes. They represent an
image of life, youth and energy in comparison to the poets mother who is described as a corpse, devoid of
any energy and is an antithesis of children who are in the full swing of life.
(Q.) Why does the poet look outside? What does she perceive?(2 Marks)
(Ans) The very thought of separation from her mother upsets and depresses the poet. She experiences the
fear that she may never meet her mother again. In order to drive away such negative thoughts, she looks out
of the window and her mind gets diverted when she sees trees moving rapidly and children playing merrily.
(
Q.) What is the poets familiar ache and why does it return?(2 Marks)
(Ans) The poet is pained to see her mother old and suffering. The sight of her mothers pale and weak face
looks like that of a corpse, which arouses her childhoods familiar ache in her heart. The old familiar ache
refers to the childhood premonition of losing or being separated from the parents (mother), the fear returns
due the old age of the mother signifying her approaching end.
(Q.) What does Kamala Das do after the security check-up? What does she notice?(2 Marks)
(Ans) Immediately after the security check-up at the airport, and standing a few yards away from her
mother, the poet observes her mother once again and compares her to the pale, colourless winters moon,
marking the last phase of her life i.e. her old age. She is pained to see her and the fear of separation returns
in her, once again.
(Q.) What poetic devices has the poet used in My Mother at Sixty-six?(2 Marks)
(Ans) The poem is rich in imagery. Devices of comparisons and contrasts are also used by the poet to draw
out the differences in young age and old age. She describes her mothers age as ashen like a corpse, using
simile and compares her to late winters moon, using a simile again. The merry children playing happily are
contrasted with the old, weak, frail, feeble and pale mother of the poet.
(Q.) Driving from my parentshome to Cochin last Friday
morning, I saw my mother,
beside me,
doze, open mouthed, her face
ashen like that
of a corpse and realized with pain
that she was as old as she looked and
thought awaya) Where was the poet driving to? Who was sitting beside her?
b) What did the poet notice about her mother?
c) Why did her mothers face look like that of a corpse?
d) Find words from the passage which mean
i) Sleep lightly

ii) Dead body(4 Marks)


(Ans) (a) The poet was driving to the airport in Cochin. Her mother was sitting beside her.
(b) The poet noticed that her mother was looking old, pale and weak. She had dozed off.
(c) She was old, pale and ashen. Since she had dozed off, with mouth open the poet felt she looked like a
corpse in that condition.
(d) i) Dozed; ii) Corpse(Q.) .andlooked but soon
put that thought away, and
looked out at young
trees sprinting, the merry children spilling
out of their homesa) What did the poet realize? How did she feel?
b) What did she do then?
c) What did she see outside?
d) Find words from the passage which mean
i) Running fast
ii) Happy(4 Marks)
(Ans) (a) The poet realized that her mother too, was lost in some distant thoughts. It pained her to see in
that condition resembling a corpse.
(b) She started looking out in order to divert her own attention to something else as she wanted to dispel the
sad and gloomy thoughts of her mother
(c) She saw young trees moving fast as if they were sprinting and also saw young children happily running
out of their homes to play.
(d) i) Sprinting; ii) Merry
(Q.) but all I said was, see you soon, Amma,all I did was smile and smile and smile
a) Why did the poet say see you soon, Amma?
b) Why did the poet smile and smile?c) Smile and smile and smile is a poetic device. Identify it.d) Amma
is the fond way of addressing someone. Who is being addressed here?(4 Marks)
(Ans) (a) The poet says this to reassure her mother that she would see her soon. After the pain, there is a
mood of acceptance of reality.
(b) The poet tries to put up a brave front in order to hide her true feelings of pain at seeing the old and weak
mother.
(c) It is repetition and is used to emphasize the tone of acceptance of the poet and the brave front she puts
up.
(d) The poets mother. She addresses her as Amma and reassures her that she would meet her again.
THE TIGER KING
Q. 1. Who is the Tiger King ?
The Maharaja of Pratibandapuram is the Tiger King of the story. He may be identified as His Highness
Jamedar-General, Khiledar-Major, Sata Vyaghra Samhari. He is also called Maharajadhiraja Visva Bhuvana
Samrat. He is known as Sir Jilani Jung Jung Bahadur. Many titles, decorate his name. But this name is often
shortened to The Tiger King.
Q. 2. Why does the Tiger King get this name ?
(V. Imp.)
Ans. Tigers dominate the life and even death of the king. So he is named thus. The chief astrologer foretells
that he is born in the hour of the Bull. The Bull and the Tiger are enemies. Therefore, his death will come
from the Tiger. Ironically, the king who killed 99 tigers, his death was caused by a wooden toy tiger.
Q. 3. What was the great miracle that took place? Why did the people stand stunned?
(Imp.)
Ans. A miracle took place. The ten-day-old Jilani Jung Jung Bahadur spoke clearly and firmly. Everyone
was surprised. The chief astrologer took off his spectacles and gazed intently at the babe. The infant spoke
that "all those who are born will one day have to die". He asked the chief astrologer to tell him the cause of

his death.
Q. 4. What does the chief astrologer tell to be the cause of the Maharaja's death?
(Imp.)
Ans. The royal infant thinks. That "all those who are born will one day have to die". There is nothing new
in it. He wants to know the real cause of his death. The astrologer tells the royal infant that he is born in the
hour of the Bull. The Bull and the Tiger are enemies. Therefore, his death will "come from the Tiger".
Q. 5. Describe the upbringing of the royal infant. When did he take the reins of the state in his hands ?
Crown prince Jung Jung Bahadur grew taller and stronger day by day. The boy drank the milk of an English
cow. He was brought up by an English governess. He was tutored in English by an Englishman. He saw
nothing but English films. When he became twenty years old, the rule of the state came into his hands.
Q.6. What did the Maharaja decide to do when he remembered the astrologer's prediction ?
(Imp.)
Ans. The astrologer revealed that the Maharaja's death would come from a tiger. Slowly it came to the
Maharaja's ears. There were so many forests in the Pratibandapuram State. They had tigers in them. There
was no objection to killing tigers. The Maharaja started out on a tiger hunt and very soon he killed the first
tiger.
Q. 7. How did the Maharaja feel when he killed his first tiger ? What did the State Astrologer say at that
occasion ?
(Imp.)
Ans. The Maharaja was thrilled 'beyond measure' when he killed his first tiger. He sent for the State
astrologer. He showed him the dead beast and demanded his reaction. The astrologer replied that he might
kill ninety-nine tigers in exactly the same manner. But he must be very careful with the hundredth tiger.
Q. 8, "What if the hundredth tiger were also killed"? said the Maharaja. What did the State astrologer say to
the king then ?
(Imp.) Ans. The King wanted to know what would
happen if he killed even the hundredth tiger. The Astrologer replied that he would tear up all his books on
astrology. He will set fire to them. He would cut off his tuft, and become an insurance agent.
Q. 9. Why did the Maharaja ban tiger hunting ? Why was it celebration time for tigers in Pratibandapuram ?
(Imp.)
Ans. The state banned tiger hunting by anyone except the Maharaja. If anyone even dared to throw a stone
at a tiger, all his wealth and property would be confiscated. The Maharaja didn't want any other person to
reduce the limited population of tigers. It was celebration time for tigers in the state. Tiger hunting was
banned for all except the Maharaja.
Q. 10. What dangers did the Tiger King face during his tiger-hunting ?
Ans. The Maharaja seemed well set to realise his ambition initially. But he had to face some dangers during
his tiger-hunt. There were times when his bullet missed its mark. Once a tiger leapt upon him. He fought
the violent beast with his bare hands. Each time it was the Maharaja who won.
Q. 11. How was at one time the Maharaja in danger of losing his throne ? (V. Imp.)
Ans. At one time the Maharaja was in danger of losing his throne. A high ranking British officer visited
Pratibandapuram. He was very fond of hunting tigers and being photographed with them. He was refused
permission to hunt tigers in Pratibandapuram. He had prevented such a high ranking officer from fulfilling
his desire, the Maharaja stood in danger of losing his kingdom itself.
Q. 12. How did the Maharaja manage to retain his kingdom ?
(Imp.)
Ans. The Maharaja had to please the high ranking British officer. Samples of expensive diamond rings of
different designs .were brought from a famous jeweller in Calcutta. The Maharaja sent all the 50 rings to
the British officer's good lady. The lady accepted the whole lot. The Maharaja lost three lakh of rupees but
managed to retain his kingdom.
Q. 13. What was the unforeseen hurdle that brought the Maharaja's tiger hunts to a halt?
(Imp.)

Ans. The Tiger King's tiger-hunts continued to be highly successful. Within ten years
he was able to kill seventy tigers. Then an unforeseen hurdle brought his mission to a halt. The tiger
population became extinct in the forests of Pratibandapuram. No one knew if they practised birth control or
committed harakiri. It brought tiger hunts to a halt.
Q. 14. How did the Maharaja solve the problem of killing the remaining thirty tigers? What was his
marriage plan ? (Imp)
Ans. The Maharaja asked his dewan to draw up figures of tiger populations in the different native states. He
could marry in a royal family with a large tiger population. The dewan found out the right girl. The
Maharaja killed five or six tigers each time he visited his father-in-law. Ultimately, he was able to kill 99
tigers in all.
Q. 15. Why and when did the Maharaja's anxiety reach a fever pitch ?
Ans. The Maharaja was able to kill 99 tigers. Just one tiger remained to complete his tally of a hundred. By
this time the tiger farms had run dry even in his father-in-law's kingdom. It became impossible to locate
tigers anywhere. Thus, the king's anxiety reached a fever pitch.
Q. 16. What was the happy news which dispelled the Maharaja's gloom ?
Ans. Sheep began to disappear frequently from a hillside village. It was not the work of Khader Mian
Saheb and Virasami Naicker who were famous for killing sheep. The Maharaja announced a three-year
exemption from all taxes for that village. The Maharaja refused to leave the forest until the tiger was found.
Q. 17. Why did the dewan warn the Maharaja not to double the land tax forthwith? What was the reaction
of the Maharaja ?
(Imp.)
Ans. The hundredth tiger was not located. The Maharaja's anger was at its height. He called the dewan and
ordered him to double the land-tax forthwith. The dewan warned that the people would rise in revolt. Then
their state too would fall a prey to the Indian National Congress. The king didn't relent. He told the dewan
that in that case he might resign from his post.
Q. 18. How did the tiger king celebrate his victory over the killing of the 100th tiger ? (CBSE 2008)
Ans. The Maharaja thought that he had killed the hundredth tiger. He was overcome with elation. He
ordered the tiger to be brought to the capital in grand procession. The dead tiger was taken in a procession
through the town. It was buried and a tomb was erected over it.
Q. 19. What was the Dewan's tiger like ? How did he take it into the forest ?
(CBSE 2008)
Ans. Dewan's tiger was an old tiger. It was not ferocious and agile. It was passive and exhausted. He was
pushed down to the ground. He wandered into the Maharaja's presence and stood as if in humble
supplication. The tiger was kept hidden in Dewan's house. At midnight when the town slept in peace, the
Dewan and his wife dragged the tiger into the car drove straight to the forest.
Q. 20. Why did the Dewan decide to give up his own tiger to be killed by the Maharaja ? (CBSE 2008)
Ans. The Maharaja's anxiety had reached a fever pitch. The hundredth tiger was yet to be killed. The
Dewan could lose his job if he couldn't search the tiger. He had brought a tiger from the People's Park in
Madras and kept hidden in his house. He dragged the tiger to the forest where the Maharaja was hunting.
Q. 21. Why didn't the hunters tell the King that the tiger was not dead ?
Ans. The Maharaja thought that he had killed the hundredth tiger. He didn't know that his bullet had missed
the mark. The beast was killed not by him but by one of the hunters. However, they kept it a secret. They
feared losing their jobs if the Maharaja knew the truth.
Q. 22. Why did the shopkeeper charge three hundred rupees from the Maharaja while the actual price of the
wooden tiger was just two annas and a quarter ?
Ans. The wooden tiger cost only two annas and a quarter. But the shopkeeper feared to quote such a low
price to the Maharaja. He could be punished under the rules of Emergency. So he presented it as a rare
example of craftsmanship. He charged three hundred rupees as its Price.

Q. 23. How did the hundredth tiger take its revenge upon the Tiger King ? (Imp.)
Ans. The king decided that a wooden toy-tiger was a perfect gift for his son's third birthday. One day he
was playing with that wooden tiger. One of the slivers pierced the Maharaja's right hand. Infection spread
all over the arm. Three surgeons performed an operation but couldn't save the King. Thus, the hundredth
tiger took its revenge upon the King.
LONG ANSWER TYPE QUESTIONS
Q. 1. Draw a character-sketch of the Tiger King in your own words. (V. Imp.)
Ans. The Maharaja of Pratibandapuram, Sir Jilani Jung Jung Bahadur, had many titles and sub-names. But
he was popular as the Tiger King. The chief astrologer predicted that his death would come from a tiger.
Crown prince Jung Jung Bahadur grew taller and stronger day by day. He was brought up by an English
governess. He was tutored in English by an Englishman. When he grew to twenty he took the reign in his
hands.
The Maharaja continued his campaign of tiger-hunting with rare singlemindedness. Within a span of ten
years he killed 70 tigers. It was his master strategy to marry a girl of a state which had a large tiger
population. So he was able to kill 99 tigers in all.
The Tiger King could pay any price to maintain his kingdom. He had to give a bribe worth three lakh
rupees to a high ranking British official to retain his kingdom.
The Maharaja knew how to take work from his minions. He used the dewan to find out the suitable girl for
his marriage. He could be hot-headed and doubled the tax on the people. He also threatened the dewan to
dismiss him from his service. It is ironical that the King met his death by a wooden tiger. At last, the
hundredth tiger took revenge upon him.
Q. 2. Why was the Maharaja of Pratibandapuram called the Tiger King ? How did his campaign of tiger
hunting continue ? How was he avenged by the hundredth tiger ? (Imp.)
Ans. The Maharaja of Pratibandapuram came to be known as the Tiger King because tigers dominated his
life since birth. The Maharaja was forced to start the campaign of killing a hundred tigers in self-defence.
The chief astrologer had predicted that his death would be caused by a tiger. Particularly, he was advised to
be careful with the hundredth tiger. The Maharaja's campaign was a great success. He could kill seventy
tigers in ten years. Then an unseen obstacle brought his campaign to a halt. The tiger population in the
forests of Pratibandapuram became extinct. The Maharaja adopted a new strategy. The Maharaja married a
girl from a state with a large tiger population. Very soon his tally reached 99, just one short of the required
hundred.
Ironically, the Tiger King's death came from the hundredth tiger. It was a toy-tiger made of wood. He had
presented a wooden tiger to his son on his third birthday. One of the slivers pierced the Maharaja's right
hand. Infection spread all over the arm. Three surgeons operated on him but couldn't save him from dying.
At last the astrologer's prediction came true. The hundredth tiger took its revenge upon the king.
Q. 3. Kalki's 'The Tiger King' is a satire on the pride and unbridled power and rule of the stubborn Maharaja
of Pratibandapuram. Describe the use of dramatic irony leading to the death of the Tiger King.
(Imp.)
Ans. Kalki's 'The Tiger King' is a satire on the pride and stubbornness of those in power. The Maharaja of
Pratibandapuram tried to belie what was written in his fate. The chief astrologer had predicted that the
cause of his death would be a tiger. Not that the King didn't try his best to belie the prediction. His
campaign of tiger-hunting was very successful. He was single minded and determined. But the satirical
aspect of the whole story is the King's inability to kill the hundredth tiger. All his strategies and wise plans
worked till he killed 99 tigers. But the hundredth tiger eluded him till his death.
The irony of fate brings quite an unexpected end of the Maharaja. The hero who killed ninety nine tigers
couldn't kill the only one that was left. The last tiger he thought to be dead survived. The King's bullet had
missed its mark. Ironically, the hundredth tiger which caused his death was not a ferocious beast of blood
and flesh. It was a wooden tiger. One of the slivers of wood pierced his right hand and caused infection and
a suppurating sore. It ultimately led to his death.
Q. 4. Why did the Maharaja's anxiety reach a fever pitch ? What steps were taken to hunt the hundredth

tiger ? Could the King disprove the astrologers ?


Or
How was the hundredth tiger found and hunted down ?
Ans. The Maharaja's anxiety reached a fever pitch. One more tiger was to be killed to achieve his tally of a
hundred. By this time the tiger farms had run dry even in his father-in-law's kingdom. But soon came the
happy news that dispelled his gloom. There was a possibility of a tiger living in a hillside village. The
Maharaja announced a three-year exemption from all taxes for that village. He set out for hunt at once. The
tiger was not found but the Maharaja refused to leave the forest.
The dewan himself was in danger of losing his job. He got a tiger arranged from the People's Park in
Madras. The tiger was left in the forest where the Maharaja was hunting. He took a careful aim at the beast.
The tiger fell down on the ground in a heap. Then came the anti-climax. The tiger survived. The Maharaja's
bullet missed its mark.
Unfortunately, the king didn't know that the hundredth tiger was not killed by him. So the hundredth tiger
caused his death. Ironically, the hundredth tiger that caused his death was not a ferocious beast. The king
died of the deadly infection. A wooden toy-tiger, was the cause of his death.
Q. 5. How did the Tiger King come in the danger of losing his throne and how did he save his kingdom?
Ans. The state banned tiger hunting by anyone except the king. Once a high ranking British officer visited
Pratibandapuram. He was fond of hunting tigers. He liked to be photographed with the tigers he had shot.
The Maharaja was firm in his resolve. He refused permission. He was ready to organise any other hunt. The
officer could go on a boar hunt but the tiger hunt was impossible.
The British officer's secretary sent word through the dewan. The Maharaja could do the actual killing. The
officer only wanted to be photographed holding the gun near the dead tiger. The Maharaja didn't relent. He
prevented a British officer from fulfilling his desire. The Maharaja stood in danger of losing his kingdom
itself. He held deliberations over the issue with the dewan. Samples of expensive diamond rings were
ordered. A famous British company of jewellers in Calcutta sent fifty rings. The Maharaja sent the whole
lot to the British officer's good lady. She was expected to choose one or two rings. The lady kept all the
rings with her. She sent her thanks to the Maharaja for the gifts. The Maharaja was very happy. Though he
had lost three lakh of rupees, he had managed to retain his kingdom.
Q.1:- The story is a satire on the conceit of those in power. How does the author employ the literary device
of dramatic irony in the story?
A.1:- The story "The Tiger King" is a supreme example of dramatic irony. The`character acts in a way
grossly inappropriate to the actual circumstances or expects the opposite of what fate holds in store for
him'. Kalki has used a very dexterous use of dramatic irony in the story. After killing the first tiger the King
flaunts its dead body before astrologer to show that he is more powerful than the tiger. However, the
astrologer warns the king that he should be "careful with the hundredth tiger". The king chooses to prove
the astrologer wrong once again and makes frantic efforts to kill hundred tigers. Thus, having shot at the
old tiger, the Tiger king believes he has killed the hundredth tiger. But the reader as well as the king's
officers and minions soon come to know that the emaciated tiger does not get killed but only faints. The
king gets happy of killing the tiger but in actual ignorant of this ironical fate the prediction proves to be
right and mere sliver on wooden tiger's body causes his dramatic death. Quite ironically the hundredth tiger
kills the king instead and astrologer's predictions stands vindicated.
Q.2:- How would you describe the behavior of the Maharaja's minions towards him? Do you find them
truly sincere towards him or are they driven by fear when they obey him?
A.2:- The ruling Indian class during the British regime was often ruthless, atrocious, eccentric, whimsical
and conceited. They were idiots and refused to see reason. The Tiger king is the someone. The king feels
happy when he is informed about the presence of tiger that would have completed his mission killing the
hundredth tiger. He immediately announces a three year exemption from all the taxes for the villagers, but
when the tiger is not traced for a few days he thinks of doubling the taxes with immediate effect. Under
such circumstances how can one expect the minions and officers to be sincere to the king?. In this chapter
also the officers obey the king not because he is the supreme authority but because of the cowardice and
fear of the king, would dismiss them. For example, the dewan in order to save his own life brings an old
tiger for the king to hunt and fulfill his vow. Likewise hunters choose not to inform him of the survival of
hundredth tiger in order to not get dismiss from the job.

Q.1:- Explain "wan, pale as a late winter's moon".


A.1:- In this simile, the poet compares the mother's pale and withered face with the winter's moon. The
moon seems to lose its brightness in the winter season as it is veiled behind fog and mist. The mother's face
also seemed to have lost its radiance which was now misted by age. Winter symbolizes death and the
waning moon symbolizes decay.
Q.2:- What 'familiar ache' did the poet feel?
A.2:- The 'familiar ache' refers to the poet's painful realization that she has not cared and cannot care for her
ageing mother. It is an ache of helplessness. It is also a fear of separation from the mother or the mother's
death.
Q.3:- Why has the poet brought in the image of the merry children 'spilling out of their homes'?
A.3:- The poet sees merry children spilling out of their homes when she looks out of the car. The image
presents a sharp contrast to the poet's old and dozing mother. Both the images are symbolic of ageing and
decay. The children symbolize the beginning of life and the old women's pale and ashen face symbolizes
her imminent death. The active and zeal full life of children are contrasted with the passive and inactive life
of the aged mother.
Q.4:- Why has the mother been compared to the "late winter's moon"?
A.4:- The poet has compared her mother to the "late winter's moon" to convey the idea of her old age. The
winter is a traditional symbol of death and moon, particularly the pale one is associated with decay and
mood swings. The mother's pale, bloodless and wrinkly face together with her grey hair give her the look of
a "late winter's moon".
Q.5:- What do the parting words of the poet and her smile signify?
A.5:- The poet's parting words are expressive of the dilemma and confusion in her mind while her
elongated smile is superficial and expresses her helplessness. Both the words and the smile not only hide
her anxiety and fear about her mother's rather frail health but also a faint hope that the old woman would
survive long enough for the two to meet again.
Q.6:- How does the poet describes the old age of her mother?
A.6:- The poet describes her mother's age as late winter's moon. Her pale, bloodless and wrinkly face
resembles that of a corpse. She has no vigour and energy left in her. She looks wan and pale.
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.