The Hundred Dresses – I  By El Bsor Ester

Today, Monday, Wanda Petronski was not in her seat. But nobody, not even Peggy and Madeline, the girls who started all the fun, noticed her absence. Usually Wanda sat in the seat next to the last seat in the last row in Room Thirteen. She sat in the corner of the room where the rough boys who did not make good marks sat, the corner of the room where there was most scuffling of feet, most roars of laughter when anything funny was said, and most mud and dirt on the floor.

Wanda did not sit there because she was rough and noisy. On the contrary, she was very quiet and rarely said anything at all. And nobody had ever heard her laugh out loud. Sometimes she twisted her mouth into a crooked sort of smile, but that was all.

Nobody knew exactly why Wanda sat in that seat, unless it was because she came all the way from Boggins Heights and her feet were usually caked with dry mud. But no one really thought much about Wanda Petronski, once she sat in the corner of the room.

The time when they thought about Wanda was outside of schools hours – at noon-time when they were coming back to school or in the morning early before school began, when groups of two or three, or even more, would be talking and laughing on their way to the school yard.

Then, sometimes, they waited for Wanda – to have fun with her.

The next day, Tuesday, Wanda was not in school, either. And nobody noticed her absence again.

But on Wednesday, Peggy and Maddie, who sat down front with other children who got good marks and who didn’t track in a whole lot of mud, did notice that Wanda wasn’t there. Peggy was the most popular girl in school. She was pretty, she had many pretty clothes and her hair was curly. Maddie was her closest friend. The reason Peggy and Maddie noticed Wanda’s absence was because Wanda had made them late to school. They had waited and waited for Wanda, to have some fun with her, and she just hadn’t come.

They often waited for Wanda Petronski – to have fun with her.

Wanda Petronski. Most of the children in Room Thirteen didn’t have names like that. They had names easy to say, like Thomas, Smith or Allen. There was one boy named Bounce, Willie Bounce, and people thought that was funny, but not funny in the same way that Petronski was.

Wanda didn’t have any friends. She came to school alone and went home alone. She always wore a faded blue dress that didn’t hang right. It was clean, but it looked as though it had never been ironed properly. She didn’t have any friends, but a lot of girls talked to her. Sometimes, they surrounded her in the school yard as she stood watching the little girls play hopscotch on the worn hard ground.

“Wanda,” Peggy would say in a most courteous manner as though she were talking to Miss Mason. “Wanda,” she’d say, giving one of her friends a nudge, “tell us. How many dresses did you say you had hanging up in your closet?”

“A hundred,” Wanda would say.

“A hundred!” exclaimed all the little girls incredulously, and the little ones would stop playing hopscotch and listen.

“Yes, a hundred, all lined up,” said Wanda.

Then her thin lips drew together in silence.

“What are they like? all silk, I bet,” said Peggy.

“Yeh, all silk, all colours.”

“Velvet, too?”

“Yeh, velvet too. A hundred dresses,” Wanda would repeat stolidly. “All lined up in my closet.”

Then they’d let her go. And then before she’d gone very far, they couldn’t help bursting into shrieks and peals of laughter.

A hundred dresses! Obviously, the only dress Wanda had was the blue one she wore every day. So why did she say she had a hundred? What a story!

“How many shoes did you say you had?”

“Sixty pairs. All lined up in my closet.”

Cries of exaggerated politeness greeted this. “All alike?”

“Oh, no. Every pair is different. All colours. All lined up.”

Peggy, who had though up this fame, and Maddie, her inseparable friend, were always the last to leave. Finally Wanda would move up the street, her eyes dull and her mouth closed, hitching her shoulder every now and then in the funny way she had, finishing the walk to school alone.

Peggy was not really cruel. She protected small children from bullies. And she cried for hours if she saw an animal mistreated. If anybody had said to her, “Don’t you think that is a cruel way to treat Wanda?” she would have been very surprised. Cruel? Why did the girl say she had a hundred dresses? Anybody could tell that that was a lie. Why did she want to lie? And she wasn’t just an ordinary person, else why did she have a name like that? Anyway, they never made her cry.

As for Maddie, this business of asking Wanda every day how many dresses and how many hats, and how many this and that she had was bothering her. Maddie was poor herself. She usually wore somebody’s hand-me-down clothes. Thank goodness, she didn’t live up on Boggins Heights or have a funny name.

Sometimes, when Peggy was asking Wanda those questions in that mocking polite voice, Maddie felt embarrassed and studied the marbles in the palm of her hand, rolling them around and saying nothing herself. Not that she felt sorry for Wanda, exactly. She would never have paid any attention to Wanda if Peggy hadn’t invented the dresses game. But suppose Peggy and all the others started in on her next? She wasn’t as poor as Wanda, perhaps, but she was poor. Of course she would have more sense than to say she had a hundred dresses. Still she would not like for them to begin on her. She wished Peggy would stop teasing Wanda Petronski.

Today, even though they had been late to school, Maddie was glad she had not had to make fun of Wanda. She worked her arithmetic problems absentmindedly. “Eight times eight – let’s see…” She wished she had the nerve to write Peggy a note, because she knew she never would have the courage to speak right out to Peggy, to say, “hey, Peg, let’s stop asking Wanda how many dresses she has.” When she finished her arithmetic she did start a note to Peggy. Suddenly she paused and shuddered. She pictured herself in the school yard, a new target for Peggy and the girls. Peggy might ask her where she got the dress that she had on, and Maddie would have to say it was one of Peggy’s old ones that Maddies mother had tried to disguise with new trimmings so no one in Room Thirteen would recognise it.

If only Peggy would decide of her own accord to stop having fun with Wanda. Oh, well! Maddie ran her hand through her short blonde hair as though to push the uncomfortable thoughts away. What difference did it make? Slowly Maddie tore into bits the note she had started. She was Peggy’s best friend, and Peggy was the best-liked girl in the whole room. Peggy could not possibly do anything that was really wrong, she thought.

As for Wanda, she was just some girl who lived up on Boggins Heights and stood alone in the school yard. She scarcely ever said anything to anybody. The only time she talked was in the school yard about her hundred dresses. Maddie remembered her telling about one of her dresses, pale blue with coloured trimmings. And she remembered another that was brilliant jungle green with a red sash. “You’d look like a Christmas tree in that,” the girls had said in pretended admiration.

Thinking about Wanda, and her hundred dresses all lined up in the closet, Maddie began to wonder who was going to win the drawing and colouring contest. For girls, this contest consisted of designing dresses and for boys, of designing motorboats. Probably Peggy would win the girl’s medal. Peggy drew better than anyone else in the room. At least, that’s what everybody thought. She could copy a picture in a magazine or some film star’s head so that you could almost tell who it was. Oh, Maddie was sure Peggy would win. Well, tomorrow the teacher was going to announce the winners. Then they’d know.

The next day it was drizzling. Maddie and Peggy hurried to school under Peggy’s umbrella. Naturally, on a day like this, they didn’t wait for Wanda Petronski on the corner of Oliver Street, the street that far, far away, under the railroad tracks and up the hill, led to Boggins Heights. Anyway, they weren’t taking chances on being late today, because today was important.

“Do you think Miss Mason will announce the winners today?” asked Peggy.

“Oh, I hope so, the minute we get in,” said Maddie. “Of course, you’ll win, peg.”

“Hope so,” said Peggy eagerly.

The minute they entered the classroom, they stopped short and gasped. There were drawings all over the room, on every ledge and windowsill, dazzling colours and brilliant, lavish designs, all drawn on great sheets of wrapping paper. There must have been a hundred of them, all lined up. These must be the drawings for the contest. They were! Everybody stopped and whistled or murmured admiringly.

As soon as the class had assembled, Miss Mason announced the winners. Jack Beggles had won for the boys, she said, and his design for an outboard motor was on exhibition in Room Twelve, along with the sketches by all the other boys.

“As for the girls,” she said, “although just one or two sketches were submitted by most, one girl – and Room Thirteen should be proud of her – this one girl actually drew one hundred designs – all different and all beautiful. In the opinion of the judges, any one of the drawings is worthy of winning the prize. I am very happy to say that Wanda Petronski is the winner of the girls’ medal.

Unfortunately, Wanda has been absent from school for some days and is not here to receive the applause that is due to her. Let us hope she will be back tomorrow. Now class, you may file around the room quietly and look at her exquisite drawings.”

The children burst into applause, and even the boys were glad to have a chance to stamp on the floor, put their fingers in their mouths and whistle, though they were not interested in dresses.

“Look, Peg,” whispered Maddie. “There’s that blue one she told us about. Isn’t it beautiful?”

“Yes,” said Peggy, “And here’s that green one. Boy, and I thought I could draw.”

The Hundred Dresses – I  Summary

Wanda Petrosnki and Her Classmates

It was Monday, Wanda was absent but nobody noticed in the class. She did not have too many friends in the class because she was very shy and quiet girl. She always preferred to sit in the corner of the class. She came from Boggins Heights, where poor people lived. Her parents were Polish who left Poland to settle down in America.

Thinking of Classmates about Wanda

Wanda’s classmates thought of her only when they came out of the class and waited to tease her but she was absent. Wanda did not come to school on Tuesday as well.

Peggy and Maddie

Peggy and Maddie were close friends. Peggy was the most popular girl in the school. She was pretty and intelligent. Maddie, her friend, was a poor girl. They always teased Wanda. They stayed after the school to mock Wanda but they noticed that she was absent.

Girls Made Fun of Wanda

After being teased by other girls, Wanda lied of having a hundred dresses and sixty pair of shoes in her closet. This lie became a game for others and everybody in the class wanted her to describe her dresses for them everyday. Peggy and Maddie derived pleasure in her discomfort.

More of Peggy

Peggy, the most popular girl of the school, was very pretty. She always teased Wanda but she was not cruel. She never behaved cruelly with anyone not even with animals. If somebody asked her, she always said that Wanda was not an ordinary person but wanted her to describe the hundred dresses.

More of Maddie

Maddie, a poor girl, was very close friend of Peggy. She felt bad for Wanda as everybody teased her. She wore different dresses given by rich family. She feared that one day all the girls would be fed-up of Wanda and she would become their next target.

Maddie’s Note to Peggy about Wanda

One day Maddie decided to write a note to Peggy, asking her not to tease Wanda anymore. Later, she tore it up, thinking that she might be angry with her and would tease her. She thought about Wanda’s discomfort. She thought about how Wanda had described her blue and green velvet dress with each little detail and her thoughts got diverted to upcoming drawing contest.

The Drawing Competition

Next day, it was drizzling (raining lightly). Peggy and Maddie did not want to be late, so they did not wait for Wanda to tease her. There was a drawing competition for everyone in the class. Boys had to draw a motorboat and girls, a dress. Everybody thought of Peggy to win as she drew really well every time.

Miss Mason Announced the Winner

Everybody drew beautifully in the class in bright colours. The class had assembled and the class teacher Miss Mason announced the winners of the drawing contest. Jack Beggles was the winner among boys and Wanda Petronski was the winner in girls. Everybody, specially the judges, were immensely impressed by her drawings and each of her drawing was capable of winning the contest individually. But Wanda was absent that day. Miss Mason showed her drawing to all the students.

Her Classmates’ Reaction

Everybody in the class clapped for Wanda in joy. They found that all the dresses she used to describe were there, the green velvet one, the blue one and the red one also. The boys whistled with fingers in their mouth. Peggy said that she had thought she could draw the same like Wanda.

Chapter Sketch

‘The Hundred Dresses’ is a story based on the true experiences of the author El Bsor Ester about a girl who is teased by her classmates because she belongs to a poor family. The girl, ‘Wanda Petronski’, becomes the butt of her friends’ jokes because of her funny Polish name. She is always quiet and wears the same faded blue dress to school everyday. She always boasts of having a hundred dresses of same colour at home. The story is also about the realisation which people from main stream society are forced to make about other ‘different’ people with similar potential and emotions.

About the Characters

Wanda Petronski : A poor Polish girl with a funny name, who wears same blue dress always and boasts of having a hundred dresses.

Peggy : Always teases Wanda, creates a game to ask Wanda about dresses, different from others, never made Wanda cry by teasing, the most popular and pretty girl in the school.

Maddie : Always teases Wanda, very close friend of Peggy, a poor girl but never boasts like Wanda.

Miss Mason : Wanda’s class teacher, who helps the students and supports them.

Chapter Highlights

  1. It was Monday, Wanda was absent but nobody noticed.
  2. Wanda, a quiet girl, did not talk with others too much.
  3. She lived up on Boggins Heights and belonged to a poor family.
  4. She wore the same blue dress everyday.
  5. Peggy and Maddie were good friends and teased Wanda everyday.
  6. Wanda had no friends and girls used to make fun of her.
  7. Wanda claimed of having a hundred dresses and sixty pairs of shoes.
  8. Peggy was not really cruel girl. She loved children and animals also.
  9. Peggy would say why Wanda had spoken of her hundred dresses.
  10. Maddie, herself a poor girl, did not like to tease Wanda but remained silent for fear of being ridiculed in Wanda’s place.
  11. There was a drawing competition for every boy and girl in the class.
  12. Everybody expected Peggy to win.
  13. There were a hundred sketches of dresses beautifully drawn by Wanda in the classroom.
  14. Miss Mason announced the winner-Jack Beggles won among the boys and Wanda Petronski among the girls.
  15. Wanda was absent but everybody clapped for her.
  16. Peggy and Maddie identified the blue and the green dress once spoken by Wanda.
  17. Everybody in the class clapped for Wanda’s great quality of drawing.
Word Meanings

possessions : things owned

enduring :lasting long

judged : evaluated, assessed

encyclopedia : book giving all branches of knowledge

immigrants : those coming from one country to settle in other countries

occurred : happened

identified : recognised, made known

ethnicity : relating to human race

notable : famous, known

suburbs : areas outside a city, outskirts

discriminated : made discrimination, differentiated

census : counting

rough : (here) indisciplined, violent

scuffling of feet : rubbing of shoes on the ground to create noise

on the contrary : as against

rarely : very seldom

twisted : moved, changed

crooked sort of smile : awkward, foolish smile, grin

caked with dry mud : covered with

faded : dim coloured

hand right : (here) fit properly

ironed : pressed with iron

surrounded : stood round, encircled

hopscotch : a game

courteous : civil, gentle

nudge : a gentle push

incredulously : showing disbelief

velvet : soft cloth

stolidly : not showing any feeling

peals of laughter ; great laughter

obviously : clearly

exaggerated politeness : false politeness

greeted : respected

inseparable : which can’t be separated

hitching : catching

protected : saved

bullies : those who frighten weaker people with power

cruel : unkind

hand-me-down clothes : old clothes given to others

mocking : making fun of

embarrassed : (here) ashamed of mentally unfortunately

exactly : correctly

teasing : troubling

absent-mindedly : without thinking much

paused : stopped

shuddered : shock

target : person chosen to attack

disguise : conceal

trimmings : ornamenting

accord : wish

blonde hair : golden hair

scarcely : hardly

brilliant : shining

red sash : red scarf

pretended admiration : false praise

probably : possibly

announce : declare

drizzling : light rain

tracks : line, rail

eagerly : with eagerness

gasped : breathed heavily, deeply

ledge : outer part

windowsill : window edge

dazzling : bright and shining

lavish : very grand

wrapping : with which things are wrapped

murmured : spoke in a low voice, whispered

admiringly : with admiration

assembled : gathered together

exhibition : on show

sketches : drawings

unfortunately : without luck

applause : praise

exquisite : very beautiful, marvellous

burst into applause : clapped hands loudly

stamp : (here) put feet on the floor with force

Questions and Answers

NCERT Solutions

Oral Comprehension Check (Page 65)

Question 1 : Where in the classroom does Wanda sit and why?

Answer : Wanda Petronski used to sit on the cornermost benches, lost in her world, where rough boys usually sat. She was a very poor, shy and quiet girl and did not want to mess with others so she preferred to sit in isolation from the main group of girls.

Question 2 : Where does Wanda live? What kind of a place do you think it is?

Answer : Wanda lives up on Boggins Heights, where poor people live. It is not a developed area and is covered with mud. There are no proper roads or streets and is a kind of slum. Because of no proper drainage system, the problem of waterglogging creates unhygenic conditions there.

Question 3 : When and why do Peggy and Maddie notice Wanda’s absence?

Answer : Wanda didn’t come to school on Monday and Tuesday but nobody noticed her absence as she did not have friends in the class. When Peggy and Maddie waited for Wanda to make fun of her after the school was off, they noticed that she was absent, otherwise nobody bothered about her there.

Question 4 : What do you think “to have fun with her” means?

Answer : “To have dun with her” means to laugh at her as it is human tendency to make fun of others imperfections which are mostly about the appearance. Here in the story, Wanda is a source of amusement or pleasure because of her shy nature and her hundred dresses.

Oral Comprehension Check (Page 67)

Question 1 : In what way was Wanda different from the other children?

Answer : Wanda Petronski was a Polish girl whose parents had settled down in America. She was a source of fun because of her last name which made her different from others, because Americans did not have such names and it was difficult to pronounce.

She was to school alone and her school alone and her feet were covered with mud. She  had only blue dress which was faded but she claimed of having a hundred dresses. These qualities make her different from other children.

Question 2 : Did Wanda have a hundred dresses? Why do you think she said she did?

Answer : Wanda was teased everyday by her classmates after school hours. They used to make fun of her dress and her name. One day tried of all the teasing and taunting, she claimed of having a hundred dresses and sixty pairs of shoes, but nobody believed her.

She was a determined girl and had a great amount of self-confidence. For her, not number of dresses but the inner talent which had the real value was important.

Question 3 : Why is Maddie embarrassed by the questions Peggy asks Wanda? Is she also like Wanda, or is she different?

Answer : Maddie is embarrassed by the questions Peggy asks Wanda because she is also poor and understands the mental condition of Wanda. She also wears dresses handed down by rich families. Though, she is an American but she has the same mindset as Wanda and doesn’t want anyone to tease Wanda because of her dress or her name.

Oral Comprehension Check (Page 70)

Question 1 : Why didn’t Maddie ask Peggy to stop teasing Wanda? What was she afraid of?

Answer : Maddie didn’t ask Peggy to stop teasing Wanda because Peggy was the most popular girl in the school. She was a nice girl but when it came to Wanda she behaved differently, otherwise she helped everyone in trouble. Though, otherwise she helped everyone in trouble. Though, she wanted Peggy to stop teasing Wanda, she didn’t ask her to do so as she was afraid of being the next target of such taunts and teasings.

Question 2 : Who did Maddie think would win the drawing contest? Why?

Answer : Maddie always believed that Peggy would win the drawing contest as she was good in drawing and everybody in the school loved her. She had a good image and impression on her teachers and classmates. No other girl in the class could draw as well as she. So, Peggy definitely had very good chances of winning the drawing contest according to Maddie.

Question 3 : Who won the drawing contest? What had the winner drawn?

Answer : Among the boys, Jack Beggles and among the girls, Wanda Petronski won the drawing contest. To show her determination, she did not attend the school for two days and had drawn a hundred sketches of dresses of different colours. Each of them was capable to win the contest individually.

Wanda had drawn all the dresses which she had claimed to have in the class. Everybody was very impressed with her drawing skill and clapped for her.

Thinking about the Text (page 70)

Question 1 : How is Wanda seen as different by the other girls? How do they treat her?

Answer : Wanda is a Polish girl who has settled in America with her parents. She lives in Boggins Heights. She comes to school in same faded blue dress everyday with her feet always covered with mud. Her last name is quite funny and difficult to pronounce for her classmates. Her appearance is not perfect to be in a higher class so all the students make fun of her and tease her after the school hours. After being teased over her tolerance, she claims to have a hundred dresses in her closet.

Question 2 : How does Wanda feel about the dresses game? Why does she say that she has a hundred dresses?

Answer : Wanda feels very embarrassed but remains silent in the class. She doesn’t talk to anyone and sits on the last bench with rough boys so that nobody can give attention to her. She is deeply hurt but never complains about it. To avoid their taunts and humiliation, Wanda says that she has a hundred dresses and sixty pairs of matching shoes in her closet. Later on, she draws all of them on paper for the drawing competition.

Question 3 : Why does Maddie stand by and does not do anything? How is she different from Peggy?

Or,

Was Peggy’s friendship important to Maddie? Why? Which lines in the text tell you this?

Answer : Peggy is the most popular girl in the class and Maddie is her closest friend. Though, Maddie is poor, Peggy never teases her as she does with Wanda, so Maddie is afraid of losing her friendship. That’s why, she does not risk to annoy Peggy and prefers to be silent. The line, “Peggy was the best-liked girl in the whole room. Peggy could not possibly do anything that was really wrong” illustrates this.

Question 4 : What does Miss Mason think of Wanda’s drawings? What do the children think of them? How do you know?

Answer : Miss Mason is very impressed with Wanda’s drawings. She considers them really beautiful and worthy of winning individually. The children are also impressed by the drawing skill of Wanda that they all applaud and whistle when she wins among the girls.

Thinking about Language (Page 71, 72)

Question I : Combine the following to make sentences.

i) This is the bus (what kind of bus?). It goes to Agra. (use which or that).

ii) I would like to buy (a) shirt (which shirt?).(The) shirt is in the shop window. (use which or that)

iii) You must break your fast at a particular time (when?). You see the moon in the sky. (use when)

iv) Find a word (what kind of word?). It begins with the letter Z. (use which or that)

v) Now find a person (what kind of person?). His or her name begins with the letter Z. (use whose)

vi) Then go to a place (what place?). There are no people whose name begins with Z in that place. (use where)

Answer : Student do it yourself.

Question II. The Narrative Voice

Here are two other sentences fro the story. Can you say whose point of view the italicised words express?

i) But on Wednesday, Peggy and Maddie, who sat down in front with other children who got good marks and who didn’t track in a whole lot of mud, did notice that Wanda wasn’t there.

ii) Wanda Petronski. Most of the children in room thirteen didn’t have names like that. They had names easy to say, like Thomas, Smith or Allen.

Answer : Student do it yourself.

Extra Questions

Extract Based Questions

Read the following extracts carefully and choose the correct option.

Question 1 : Today, Monday, Wanda Petronski was not in her seat. But nobody, not even Peggy and Maddie, the girls who started all the fun, noticed her absence. Usually Wanda sat in the seat next to the last seat in the last row in room Thirteen. She sat in the corner of the room where the rough boys who did not make good marks sat, the corner of the room where there was most scuffling of feet, most roars of laughter when anything funny was said, and most mud and dirt on the floor. Wanda did not sit there because she was rough and noisy. On the contrary, she was very quiet and rarely said anything at all. And nobody had ever heard her laugh out loud. Sometimes she twisted her mouth into a crooked sort of smile, but that was all.

i) Who did not notice Wanda’s absence?

a) Peggy alone

b) Maddie alone

c) No one

d) Everyone

ii) Why did Wanda Petronski sit in the last row of the class?

a) She was tired

b) She wanted to sleep

c) She wanted to avoid taunts and trouble

d) The teacher had instructed her to do so

iii) Find out the word form the extract which means the same as ‘dragging’.

a) Rough

b) Scuffling

c) Twisted

d) Crooked

iv) What kind of girl was Wanda?

a) Quiet and serious

b) Naughty and talkative

c) Troubling and cunning

d) honest and intelligent

Answer : i) d) Everyone

ii) c) She wanted to avoid taunts and trouble

iii) b) Scuffling

iv) a) Quiet and serious

Question 2 :  But on Wednesday, Peggy and Maddie, who sat down in front with other children who got good marks and who didn’t tract in a whole lot of mud, did notice that Wanda wasn’t there. Peggy was the most popular girl in school. She was pretty, she had many pretty clothes and her hair was curly. Maddie was her closest friend. The reason Peggy and Maddie noticed  Wanda’s absence was because Wanda had made them late to school.

i) What kind of girl was Peggy?

a) Shrewd and smart

b) Pretty, popular and helpful

c) Industrious and successful

d) Dishonest and cruel

ii) What made Peggy and Maddie late for the school?

a) Traffic on the way

b) Delay in their breakfast

c) Completing their homework

d) Long wait for Wanda to arrive

iii) Find a word which is opposite of the word ‘absence’ used in the extract.

a) Time

b) Lack

c) Presence

d) Availability

iv) Who noticed Wanda’s absence in the class finally on Wednesday?

a) Peggy and Madddie

b) Miss Mason

c) back s set boys

d) The principal

Answer : i) b) Pretty, popular and helpful

ii) d) Long wait for Wanda to arrive

ii) c) Presence

iv) a) Peggy and Maddie

Short Questions and Answers

Question 1 : Describe the reaction of Wanda Petronski to Peggy and Maddie.

Answer : Wanda was a poor Polish girl who had no American friend. In her school, her classmates Peggy and Maddie made fun of her funny name and her blue dress that she wore every day. But, she did not respond to them and remained silent and serious. She walked alone with dull eyes and hitched her shoulders in a funny way.

Question 2 : Do you think Peggy meant to bully Wanda?

Answer : Peggy did not realise she was being mean to bully Wanda; she actually thought that Wanda was telling lies about how many dresses she owned and was trying to point out to her how ridiculous her grand claims were. The fact that she felt guilty after Wanda had left school also indicates that her actions were simple teasing rather than calculated bullying.

Question 3 : Given their teasing, how was Wand able to still see Peggy and Maddie as friends?

Answer : Wanda was able to still see Peggy and Maddie as friends because she seems to have taken their teasing as a sign of friendship, and not as an intentionally, unkind act. She felt that at least she was getting attention from the other girls in her class; otherwise she was largely ignored by them.

Question 4 : What was the competition about in the school and who won this?

Answer : There was drawing competition in the school. In the competition, all boys had to draw a motorboat and all girls had to make sketches of a dress.

The class teacher Miss Mason announced the winners of the contest and Jack Beggles who drew a motorboat won in the boys’ category and Wanda Petronski who drew two beautiful dresses won the girl’s medal in the drawing competition.

Question 5 : Explain two dresses of Wanda Petronski in brief?

Answer : When the result of drawing competition was declared, the class teacher Miss Mason announced the winners and Wanda Petronski was the winner among the girls. Miss Mason showed her drawings to all the students. Each dress of Wanda was different fro other as one of the dresses was pale blue with coloured trimmings and another was brilliant jungle green with a red sash.

Question 6 : What lessons does this chapter teach children about how to treat others?

Answer : This chapter teaches children and adults alike to stand up for what is right and not be swayed by others. It teaches that although standing up for the right thing might be difficult , standing by and watching whilst others are bullied or treated badly is definitely the wrong thing to do. It also will be something that plays on your mind for a lot longer than doing the right thing would have done. The main lesson in the book is “be nice to others”.

Long Questions and Answers

Question 1 : Pen down the character sketch of Wanda Petronski.

Answer : Wanda Petronski is a Polish girl who has shifted in America from Poland with her parents. She is very poor and lives up on Boggins Heights. She is very shy and quiet. She does not talk to anyone. She as no friends and sits in the last row of the class with some naughty boys so that nobody notices her. She wears the same faded blue dress everyday which is not ironed but clean.

Everybody teases her in her class. In anger, she claims of having a hundred dresses and sixty pairs of shoes at home. She is very determined and shows her determination in the drawing competition by displaying the hundred sketches of dresses she claims to own. Each of them was so beautiful, that she wins the competition and surpasses Peggy. Everybody in the class claps for her in joy. They find all her dresses she used to describe are there in her drawings. Even Peggy who teases her, wishes to draw the same like Wanda.

Question 2 : ‘The Hundred Dresses-I’ is about teasing Wanda. It also borders on ragging and racism indirectly. Describe how does it affect you and how do you evaluate it?

Answer : The story ‘The Hundred Dresses-I’ is really all about teasing of Wanda being Polish and having a strange name. They made fun of Wanda for being Polish and having a strange name. They made fun of Wanda and made her feel inferior by asking her about her dresses. Their behaviour towards Wanda was completely undesirable as it shows racism and ragging.

These are totally condemnable issues in the society which cannot be accepted. Peggy and Maddie never thought of Wanda’s feelings and continued teasing her but her selection as a winner shows that colour, prejudice or racism are not the parameters of talent as everybody clapped for her drawings. It is very disturbing to see her being teased for her financial condition. As it is every changing but the skills and talent never go in vain.

Question 3 : It disturbs you that Peggy and Maddie make fun of Wanda. You don’t like it. you decide to speak about this as weak, ugly or poor. Write a speech to express your thoughts.

Answer : Dear friends, today I would like to express my thoughts about the issue of making fun of the students who are weak, ugly or poor by those who are bit superior to them in those aspects. But I would like to fetch your attention that being ugly or poor is not a personal choice or fault. God creates us with different qualities and we should see those qualities in others too. One may be poor or physically unattractive but he/she may have better qualities or skill than us. As in the story, Wanda Petronski is better than Peggy and Maddie in her creativity or drawing.

I hope we all give respect to one another and do not judge anyone on the basis of his/her monetary status or physical colour. Let us all be encouraging human beings helping and uplifting other human beings.