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D.H. Lawrence

Last lesson
of the afternoon

More challenging questions!

Keith Tankard
Updated: 25 June 2012
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The poet is at the end of his tether. He is a teacher who has lost his zest for teaching.

Indeed, he can no longer see the point of attempting to drag his pack of unruly children into an appreciation of anything.

He makes the decision to give up and save his strength for himself. He will simply pass the time waiting for the bell to ring.


David Herbert Lawrence was born in Nottinghamshire in September 1885, the fourth child of an uneducated coal miner.

This working class background, together with constant friction with his illiterate and drunken father, provided him much material for his later poetry, novels and short stories.

He initially went to Beauvale Board School but then won a scholarship to attend Nottingham High School.

His first employment was as a junior clerk at a surgical appliances factory until forced to resign because of T.B. It was during his period of convalescence that he gained his extreme love for reading, writing and poetry.

From 1902 to 1906, he served as a student teacher in his hometown of Eastwood, whereupon he studied and acquired a teaching certificate from University College, Nottingham.

It was during those years that he wrote his first poems, some short stories, and a novel which was published as The White Peacock.

The young Lawrence hated teaching -- a theme made clear in his poem "Last Lesson of the Afternoon" -- but luckily his writing ability caught the eye of major publishers and enabled him to follow a professional career as a writer and an artist.

He achieved a massive reputation as a novelist and a poet. His most famous books were Sons and Lovers and Lady Chatterly's Lover.

During the 1st World War, Lawrence was accused of spying for the Germans and was constantly harassed by the British authorities. As soon as the war ended, therefore, he left England to live in Italy -- where he wrote his now famous poem "Snake".

He died of T.B. in March 1930 while at a sanatorium in France. He was just 45 years of age.

Have you looked at the questions
in the right column?
Read the left column and then answer
the following questions:

What does it matter to me, if they can write
A description of a dog, or if they can't?
What is the point? To us both, it is all my aunt!
  • What is meant by the expression, "it is all my aunt!"? (2)

[Need help?]

  • Why does the poet not see any point to his learners being able to "write a description of a dog"? (4)

[Need help?]

I do not, and will not; they won't and they don't; and that's all!
I shall keep my strength for myself; they can keep theirs as well.
Why should we beat our heads against the wall
Of each other? I shall sit and wait for the bell.
  • What is the poet's final decision? (4)

[Need help?]


Which of the following BEST describes the FEELING of the poem: anger; sorrow; jubilation; frustration; despair. Don't forget to have a reason to justify your answer. (4)

[Need help?]

Which of the following words BEST describes the TONE of this poem: ironic; sarcastic; angry; pitiful? Again, don't forget to give reasons for your answer. (4)

[Need help?]

Does the poet enjoy teaching? Justify your answer. (6)

[Need help?]

The poet asks, "Why should we beat our heads against the wall of each other?"
  • Is this an example of a: a simile; metaphor; personification; alliteration? (4)

[Need help?]

  • When the poet asks, "Why should we beat our heads against the wall of each other?", what would his answer be? (4)

[Need help?]

  • Do you think that Lawrence is expressing a desire for the weekend to arrive and save him from these children, or is he showing a despair at teaching in itself? Motivate your answer. (2)

[Need help?]

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