School & Learning
The story also emphasizes the need for education and learning through schools and otherwise. Mr. Hamel in his final lecture prioritizes the point learning and disseminating knowledge.
He believes knowledge is the real power than can uplift and empower the defenseless people of Alsace. Franz also realizes the error of his ways when he would rather play at the expense of his education and learning.
He recognizes that such ignorance on the part of his people had played a huge role in their subjugation and suppression by the Prussians.
The story centers on the theme of identity. A person’s identity is an attribute to his/her culture, language, beliefs, faith etc. In the story a village in Alsace, France is governed by colonial powers of Prussia.
The foreign rulers try to subjugate the local culture in order to make them dormant and incapable of an uprising. The locals do not even know their language and thus are not well aware of their own heritage and history.
This jeopardizes their ability to rise as unit and dispel the foreign dominance and accept their position as the subjects of an alien culture.
Nationalism & Struggle
Strongly attached to the principles of identity is the idea of nationalism. Initially based on language, the term itself connotes a myriad of meaning today.
However, in that age nationalism meant to show pride in one’s language and culture. Thus it became a tool to unite people in opposition and resistance to the outsiders trying to establish their dominance.
By implementing a ban on teaching on the French language, the Prussians were trying to quell the rise of such sentiments of patriotism and nationalism within the people of Alsace.
Mr. Hamel also tries to push this point through when he encourages the local villagers to protect and preserve their language, culture, and nation from foreign conquerors.
Fraternity & Unity
The last class that Mr. Hamel conducts brings all the village people together, irrespective of their age, gender, differences or literacy. They all unite as equals to show defiance to a dictator that is trying to suppress their culture, language and overall identity.
Such show of solidarity is what gives strength to nations and societies. Form children to old people, from workers to intellectuals, from homemakers to statesmen, all sections of society need to work together in order to develop and prosper.
If any section lags behind then the entire nation or society has to bear the costs of such regression. Only a harmonious and collected people can fight, struggle and resist the forces of suppression and domination. Mr. Hamel’s last class is a perfect example of the same.