Franz is the story's protagonist and narrator. A young student at a school in Alsace, which Germany annexed from France during the Franco-Prussian War of 1870. Franz often skips school and doesn't prepare for lessons. One day he arrives at school to learn that the French language will no longer be taught in school after an order sent down from Berlin to the occupying Prussian forces. Franz regrets that he didn't pay better attention to his lessons when he had the chance.
M. Hamel is Franz’s teacher and schoolmaster who the Prussians order to cease teaching French and leave for the country. While Hamel usually intimidates his students with an iron ruler that he slaps on their desks, Hamel is gentle, somber, and reflective as he conducts his last day of French lessons. At the end of the day, he writes "Vive la France!" on the chalkboard before sending the students away.
Hauser is an older gentleman Franz recognizes from the village. Franz is surprised to see Hauser sitting on the benches in the back of the schoolroom alongside several other adults from the village. By the end of the story, Hauser is in tears as he reads from a rudimentary language textbook and speaks simple syllables and letters aloud with the youngest students.
Wachter is the village blacksmith. He teases Franz for hurrying so fast to school, as Wachter has read the town hall bulletin and knows Franz will have an unconventional day at school.
The Last Lesson Questions and Answers
The Question and Answer section for The Last Lesson is a great
resource to ask questions, find answers, and discuss the novel.