The Last Lesson

The Last Lesson Literary Elements


Short story; realistic fiction.

Setting and Context

The story is set in the Alsace-Lorraine region of France during the Franco-Prussian War of 1870.

Narrator and Point of View

The story is narrated from the first-person point of view of Franz, a French schoolboy.

Tone and Mood

The tone is anxious and reflective; the mood is somber and proud.

Protagonist and Antagonist

The protagonist is Franz; the antagonists include his teacher, M. Hamel, and the Prussian occupying forces.

Major Conflict

The major conflict in the story is that Franz's French teacher has been ordered to stop teaching French after the Prussian leaders order people in the occupied French territory to learn only German; Franz regrets not having put more effort into his studies while he had the chance.


The story reaches its climax when Hamel concludes the lesson by writing "Vive La France!" on the chalkboard and sends the class away.


The crowd of villagers that Franz sees gathered at the town hall bulletin board on his way to school foreshadows the news that French will no longer be taught.






Metonymy and Synecdoche