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The Hundred Dresses II | NCERT solution | Class X

Updated: May 8, 2021

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. The letter from Wanda’s Father:

  • As the children were walking around the classroom admiring the drawings, Miss Mason received a note from the Principal’s office. It was a letter from Wanda’s father.

  • In the letter Wanda’s father wrote that his children would not be coming to school as they have moved to a big city where there were many people like them. He further wrote that his children would not be called Pollacks and ridiculed there. A deep silence followed the reading of the letter.

  • Miss Mason has told the class that she is sure that non one in the class has deliberately hurt Wanda’s feelings, and that if something hurting has been said, it was not intentional and said thoughtlessly.

  • The letter also highlights Miss Mason’s good sense not to chide the class and hold them accountable for their treatment of Wanda.

2. Maddie’s Feeling of guilt:

  • Maddie’s guilt originates from her inability to protest teasing of Wanda by Peggy and other girls.

  • Maddie thinks that she is a coward because she has just stood by and done nothing.

  • According to her, Peggy could be excused as she never realized that she was being mean while teasing Wanda.

  • But Wanda feels guilty as in spite of feeling bad at Wanda’s situation, she could not muster enough courage to speak up.

3. Peggy and Maddie visit wanda’s House:

  • Peggy suggests to Maddie that they should go to Boggins Heights to see if Wanda was still there.

  • They wanted to apologise to Wanda and tell her how wonderful the whole school thought she was.

  • But when they reached Boggins Heights, they found the house empty. Wanda’s family had left the place lately.

4. Peggy and Maddie write to Wanda:

  • Peggy and Maddie writes a letter to Wanda telling her that she has won the drawing and colouring contest and how pretty her drawings are .

  • They ask Wanda if she likes where she is living at the moment and if she likes her new teacher.

  • The letter was a friendly one and does not indicate any sense of remorse or apology from their end.

5. Wanda’s Letter to Miss Mason:

  • Miss Mason received a letter from Wanda in which she asked Miss Mason to tell the girls that they could keep all her drawings because now she has a hundred new dresses, all lined up in the closet in her new house.

  • She gifts her prize-winning drawings to the girls in Room Thirteen. She chooses the green dress with red trimming for Peggy , which the latter has previously mocked for its resemblance to a Christmas tree, and the pale blue dress with coloured trimmings for Maddie. These choices indicate that Wanda is more aware of their treatment of her than she has led them to believe.

  • Wanda’s letter is significant as it is the only instance in the story when we have Wanda speaking so assertively. It also highlights Wanda’s generosity and her willingness to move on as she wishes the drawings be given to the girls.

6. Reaction of Peggy and Maddie:

  • Peggy felt satisfied for she thought that Wanda must have really liked them to give them the drawings. She must have received their letter, and it was her way of saying that everything was alright.

  • Maddie feels sad as she knows that she will have no chance to meet Wanda any day and there is no way she can tender apology to her.

  • Maddie treats the drawing from Wanda respectfully , pins it on the wall of her bedroom and takes comfort from the fact that Wanda still loves them.

  • The story ends when Maddie runs to Peggi’s house to look at the drawing that Wanda gifts to Peggy. It is Peggy’s face that Wanda has drawn on the picture. Peggy took it casually and concludes that Wanda really likes all of them.

  • Maddie, on the other hand, really misses Wanda and imagines Wanda standing alone in the school yard feeling sad and teary-eyed.

7. Conclusion

  • Although Wanda does not reply to Peggy and Maddie’s letter with the same enthusiastic declaration of love, her communication through Miss Mason and the dedication of drawings to girls, suggest that she has forgiven them.

  • For all the mocking she has been subjected to , she has only friendship to offer . Maddie appreciates this effort of Wanda, whereas, this realization is still missing from Peggy’s end.

Oral Comprehension Check ( Page 4)

1. What did Mr. Petronski’s letter say?

Ans: Mr. Petronski wrote in his letter that neither Wanda nor Jake would be coming to school any more because the family was moving to the big city whre they would not be teased for having a funny name. He further said that there would be plenty of funny names in the city.

2. Is Missss Mason angry with ther class or is she unhappy and upset?

Ans: Miss Mason is unhappy and upset because instead of being angry at the students, she replies calmly that she would prefer to think that it has been said in thoughtlessness. She further says that it is unfortunate that such a thing has happedned and wants the class to have a thought over it.

3. How does Maddie feel after listening to the note from Wanda’s father?

Ans: Maddie feels guilty as she stands by silently without any protest when Peggy makes fun of Wanda. She thinks that it is worse than what Peggy has done because she is just a silent speactator when she knows that what has been happening with Wanda is totally wrong.

4. What does Maddie want to do?

Ans: Maddie decides to go to Boggins Heights and tell

Wanda that she has won the drawing contest, she is smart and her hundread dresses that she drew were beautiful.

Oral Comprehension Check ( Page 76)

1.What excuses does Peggy think up for her behaviour? Why?

Ans: Peggy says thqt she has never called Wanda a foreigner or has made fun of her name. She also says that she has never thought Wanda has the sense to know they have been making fun of her. Peggy makes these excuses because she does not want to be accountable for the fact that she does something wrong though she experiences guilt bceasue of it.

2. What are Maddie’s thoughts as they go to Boggins Heights?

Ans: Maddie decides to tell Wanda that Peggy and herself were very sorry that they have picked on her. She would further tell her how wonderful the whole school thinks she has been. She also decides to request Wanda not to leave as Peggy and she would fight anybody who is not nice to her.

3. Why does Wanda’s house remind Maddie of Wanda’s blue dress?

Ans: Both Wanda’s house and its sparse little yard were shabby, but clean like Wanda’s dress. Thus Maddie is reminded of Wanda’s faded blue cotton dress, shabby but clean.

4. What does Maddie think hard about? What important decision does she come to ?

Ans: Maddie thinks about Wanda and her faded blue dress and the little house she has lived in. She thinks of the glowing picture those hundred dresses has made-all lined up in the classroom. She feels repentant, sits up in bed and presses her forehead tight in her hands and does the hardest thinking she has ever made.

She comes to a decision that if she ever hears anybody picking on someone due to their funny looks or strange names, she would instantly speak up. She would protest even at the cost of her friendship with Peggy.

Oral Comprehension Check ( Page 79)

1.What did the girls write to Wanda?

Ans: The girls wrote a friendly letter to Wanda telling her about the contest and that she had won. They complimented her on her pretty drawings. They asked her if she liked where she was living and if she liked her new teacher.

2. Did they get a reply? Who was more anxious for a reply, Peggy or Maddie? How do you know?

Ans: No, they did not get a reply from Wanda.

Maddie was more anxious for a reply because she would fall asleep at night making speeches about Wanda, defending her from great crowds of girls who were trying to tease her.

3. How did the girls know that Wanda liked them even though they had teased her?

Ans: The girls came to know that Wanda liked them from the letter Wanda wrote to Miss Mason. In the letter she mentioned that Peggy was given the drawing of the green dress with the red trimming and Maddie the blue one. She had drawn the face of each girl in the picture of the dress she had left for them.



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