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The Hundred Dresses I NCERT Solution | Class 10

Updated: May 8, 2021

The Hundred Dresses, Part I

Lesson Architecture

  • Theme

  • Story-At-A-Glance

  • NCERT Solution


  • ‘The Hundred Dresses’ is a poignant story that highlights a common feature of our society- prejudice and chauvinism. This story is a sensitive account of how a poor young girl is judged by her classmates. Wanda Petronski is a young Polish girl who goes to school with other American children in an American town. These children consider Wanda ‘different’ in many ways.

  • Wanda is heckled in her school. The children find her odd and think she has a strange name. The teasing goes on till her parents decide to move to a city where there are many Polish people like them.

  • The story also suggests that people can be sensitized that there are being unkind. Once they understand there is remorse and the wish to make amends.


1. Wanda’s Absence:

  • Wanda Petronski is a Polish immigrant student who lives in Boggins Heights and comes to school with her shoes all muddy.

  • She is a quiet girl who sits in the back row with the noisiest and roughest kids.

  • When the story opens, Wanda Petronski, the protagonist, is absent from the class. It is her prolonged absence that compels other girls to take notice of her.

2. Wanda is teased by her friends:

  • Wanda’s classmates find her strange as she has a name that is unusual and hard to pronounce. She is poorer than most of her classmates.

  • She has no friend of her own and always wears the same faded blue dress. This is probably the reason as to why other girls in her class make her a target for bullying.

  • Among those who tease her includes Peggy who always asks her how many dresses and shoes she has in her closet. Wanda always replied she has a hundred dresses and sixty shoes each of them is different from the other.

  • As Wanda is poor, her response amuses and antagonizes her bullies, who fail to perceive that it is merely Wanda’s defense against bullying.

3. Maddie feels Embarrassed :

  • Maddie is not comfortable with her classmates teasing Wanda. She studies the marbles in her hands whenever the girls nag Wanda about the things she owns. Maddie herself wears second-hand clothes, including Peggy’s old clothes.

  • She does not dare to protest against Peggy’s teasing of Wanda as she thinks that Peggy’s attention might then be shifted to her. She might be the next target of bullying. Therefore, she stays quiet and does not protest although she wants to.

  • Therefore, her disquiet does not only stem from her sympathy for Wanda, but from the underlying fear that she might be the next object of ridicule. She thinks so as like Wanda she is also a poor girl.

  • Caught between the fear of losing her friends and what her conscience tells her is wrong . Maddie can only hope that Peggy would stop making fun of Wanda by her own accord.

4. The Drawing Competition:

  • On the day Miss Mason would announce the winners of the drawing and colouring contest, Peggy and Maddie did not wait for Wanda on Oliver Street to make fun of her. They did not want to be late.

  • Maddie was sure that Peggy would win. But the moment Peggy and Maddie entered the classroom they were taken aback. There were drawings all over the room, probably a hundred of them, in dazzling colours and lavish designs.

  • This is the turning point in the story. Everyone expects Peggy to win the drawing competition, but in reality it is Wanda Petronsky, who steals the show by winning the competition.

  • Miss Mason said that one girl, Wanda, has submitted not one or two, but a hundred dresses. Each of her drawings were beautiful and deserved the first prize. Her elegant designs, a hundred of them decorate the walls of the classroom and win everyone’s admiration. In the opinion of the judges, Wanda Petronski was the winner.

  • What wanda did not achieve in reality, she achieves the same in her creative imagination and sheer talent. Her entry for the competition is both wish-fulfillment and a chance to establish her pride.

  • But ironically enough Wanda Petronsky was absent from the class and could not be physically present to enjoy the fruit of her hard work.

Oral Comprehension Check (Page 65)

Q1. Where in the classroom does Wanda sit and why?

Ans: Wanda sits next to the last seat in the last row in Room Thirteen. She sits in the corner in the room where the rough boys who did not get good grades sit.

She sits there probably because she came all the way from Boggins Heights and her feet were usually caked with dry mud.

Q2. Where does Wanda live? What kind of a place do you think it is?

Ans: Wanda lives in Boggins Heights.

It is perhaps a place that does not have proper roads and streets and is muddy. It is up a hill and may belong to economically deprived people.

Q3. When and why do Peggy and Maddie notice Wanda’s absence?

Ans: Peggy and Maddie notice Wanda’s absence on Wednesday because they had waited for her to have some fun at her expense. Moreover, they became late for the school in the process of waiting for her.

Q4. What do you think ‘to have fun with her’ means?

Ans: It means to have some fun by teasing her.

Oral Comprehension Check ( Page 67)

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

Ans: Wanda had an unusual name and did not have any friends. She came to school alone and went home alone. She rarely spoke, and no one had ever heard her laugh out loud.

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

Ans: No, Wanda did not have a hundred dresses.

She said this perhaps because she was annoyed at being teased by her schoolmates. She might have also felt bad at having possessed only one dress and wanted others to believe that she had a stock of hundred dresses.

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

Ans: Maddie is embarrassed because she herself is poor and wears only hand-me-down dresses. She is worried that Peggy may start picking on her next.

She too is poor, though not as poor as Wanda. She is different in the sense that she did not live on Boggins Heights or had a funny name.

Oral Comprehension Check ( Page 70)

Q1. Why didn’t Maddie ask peggy to stop teasing Wanda? What was she afraid of?

Ans: Maddie did not ask Peggy as the former thought that Peggy’s attention would switch on to her and she would be the victim next time.

She was afraid that Peggy might ask her about her dress and she had to confess that she got her hand-me-down dress from Peggy herself.

Q2. Who did Maddie think would win the drawing contest? Why?

Ans: Maddie thought that Peggy would learn the drawing contest because she is good at drawing the picture of a film star from a magazine or a film star’s face. Her drawing exactly looks like the person whose sketch she had made.

Q3. Who won the drawing contest? What had the winner drawn?

Ans: Wanda won the drawing contest in the girl’s category. She had won a hundred beautiful dresses.

Thinking about the Text

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

Ans: Wanda is seen as different by other girls in the following ways:

a) She has an unusual name.

b) She sits at the back of the classroom where the noisy boys sit.

c) She wears the same blue dress every day.

d) She claims that she has hundred dresses in the closet.


The other girls make fun of her unusual name and also tease her for wearing the same dress every day. They also ignore her and do not include her in their company.

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

Ans: Wanda feels annoyed and feels bad at being teased about her blue dress.

She claims that she has a hundred dresses in order to safeguard herself from the fun that Peggy makes at her for wearing the same blue dress every day.

3.Why does Maddie stand by and not do anything? How is she different from Peggy? (Was Peggy’s friendship important to Maddie? Why? Which lines in the text tell you so?

Ans: Maddie does not dare to protest against teasing done to Wanda because she thinks that Peggy would start picking on her. Peggy’s attention would then be shifted to her from Wanda. Peggy might also tell the class about giving Maddie her hand-me-down clothes.

She is a poor girl who wears the hand-me-down clothes of Peggy. Peggy is also the most popular girl in the class. Therefore, her friendship is important to Maddie.

The lines that support the above fact from the text is as follows:

‘’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 Maddie’s mother had tried to disguise with new trimmings. So no one in room Thirteen would recognize it.’’

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

Ans: Miss Mason thinks that room Thirteen should be proud of Wanda who has actually drawn one hundred dress designs-all different and all beautiful. She further says that in the opinion of the judges, any of Peggy’s drawings deserves to win prizes.

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

For The Hundred Dresses Part II, Click Here

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