The Hundred Dresses – I, II is a story based on the true experiences of the author about a girl who is teased by her classmates because she is different. Wanda Petronski, a girl who comes from the poor part of the town, is the only student in her class with a ‘funny’ Polish name. The story is told from the perspective of one of Wanda’s classmates, Maddie, who is the best friend of the main player in the daily taunting and teasing.
Important Question and Answers
Q. How did the children respond to Wanda’s paintings?
Ans. Children suddenly clapped. Even the boys were glad to have a chance to stamp on the floor and they put their fingers in their mouths and whistled. Peggy and Maddie also appreciated her drawings.
Q. In what way was Wanda different from the other children?
Ans. Wanda was an immigrant. She did not talk much. She was very serene and laughed rarely. She was a talented, patient and skilled girl. She used to wear a dull and faded dress.
Q. Where did Wanda sit in the classroom and why?
Ans. Wanda felt it comfortable to sit at the back of the class where the noisy rough boys, who got low marks, sat. She did so as she was not well dressed and her feet were dirty, where nobody noticed her.
Q. What was unusual about the dress of Wanda?
Ans. Wanda always wore a faded blue dress that didn’t fit her well. It was neat but it was wrinkled all over and required a good ironing. She always wore the same dress. It didn’t looked right.
Q. What shows that Peggy was not really cruel?
Ans. Peggy was not really cruel. She protected small children from bullies. Not only this, she cried for hours if she saw an animal being mistreated. But in Wanda’s bullying she never felt that.
Q. Why was Maddie sure Peggy would win the dress designing contest?
Ans. Peggy drew designs better than anyone else in the class and could copy a picture of film star’s head with such precision that no one could recognize it from the magazine. Maddie thought that Peggy would win the girls medal.
Q. What kind of a girl was Peggy?
Ans. Peggy was the most popular and pretty looking girl. She was a hypocrite as she could be kind at one time and make fun of someone at another time. She made fun of Wanda. But at the same time. She was a good artist, she protected children from bullies, cried when animals were ill treated.
Q. How did Wanda win the drawing competition? Did anyone expect her victory?
Ans. Wanda won the drawing competition as she had drawn hundred dresses all different, colourful and exquisite. All of them deserved a prize though nobody expected her victory because in routine, she used to wear the same wrinkled blue faded dress.
Q. Why did Maddie feel guilty of herself?
Ans. Maddie felt guilty of herself because she always supported Peggy for fun. She never stopped Peggy for making fun of Wanda. Later, she was remorseful to see the beautiful dresses gifted by Wanda.
Q. Why did Wanda’s house remind Maddie of Wanda’s blue dress?
Ans. Maddie was reminded of Wanda’s blue dress after looking at her house because the house and the sparse little yard looked shabby but it was clean like Wanda’s blue dress. The dress Wanda wore was always clean but not ironed yet simple and humble.
Q. How can you say that Maddie was different from Peggy?
Ans. Maddie belonged to a poor family. She always wore old clothes. She also felt sympathy for Wanda. Maddie did not like Peggy when she made fun of Wanda. She decided not to mock Wanda at one time.
Q. Though Peggy and Maddie made fun of Wanda, she gifted them her special drawings. In the light of this statement write a character sketch of Wanda Petronski.
Ans. Wanda Petronski was a Polish girl at an American School. Her name sounded unfamiliar to the other students who made fun of her name. They also teased her by asking her about her hundred dresses which she claimed she had but wore the same faded blue dress every day, she never felt embarrassed. She was cool headed and tolerant. Others called her a liar but she knew that she was truthful as she did have a hundred dresses but only the drawings not the real ones. Wanda had gifted two of her special drawings to Peggy and Maddie with their faces on the respective drawings. This showed that she liked them in spite of their teasing her. Gifting those drawings to them was also her way of making them realise their mistake. She was a large-hearted, understanding, forgiving, talented and intelligent girl.
Q. What was the effect of the letter of Wanda’s father on Miss Mason? How did Maddie react to it?
Ans. In his letter, Wanda’s father had informed Miss Mason that Wanda would not come to the school any more. They were moving to a big city. In that city, nobody would consider her name funny and laugh at her. There was a deep silence in the class when Miss Mason read the letter. Whatever happened was due to thoughtlessness. It was also unfortunate and sad. She didn’t like that other students had hurt the feelings of Wanda just because she had a name which happened to be a long, unfamiliar one. She wanted everyone to think about it. On the other hand, Maddie had a sick feeling. She wanted to regret on her behaviour. She thought that she never wanted to hurt Wanda in this way. It was true that she had never made fun of Wanda herself. But at the same time, she had not objected Peggy’s asking Wanda about her dresses. She felt that she was a coward.
Q. 3. Give the character sketch of Maddie.
Ans. Maddie was the classmate of Peggy and Wanda. She was Peggy’s inseparable friend. Both were always seen together. She used to wear hand-me-down clothes, mostly of Peggy with little innovation. She did not like Peggy’s making fun of Wanda. She felt uncomfortable, perhaps it reminded her of her own poverty. She was not courageous. Once she wrote a note to Peggy asking her to stop teasing Wanda but tore it. She was afraid that Peggy and other girls would make her the next target. She had a very high opinion about Peggy. She thought that Peggy could never do anything wrong and that she would win the art contest. Maddie was sensitive and emotional. Many nights before sleeping she would give imaginary speeches defending Wanda when others teased her. Even she was determined not to tease anybody else and make them unhappy. She didn’t mind losing Peggy’s friendship in doing so.