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The Hundred Dresses Summary Analysis and Explanation
About the Author Eleanor Estes
|Poet Name||Eleanor Estes|
|Born||9 May 1906, West Haven, Connecticut, United States|
|Died||15 July 1988, Hamden, Connecticut, United States|
|Awards||John Newbery Medal|
|Education||Pratt Institute School of Information, West Haven High School, Pratt Institute|
The Hundred Dresses Part 1 Summary of the Lesson
Wanda Petronski was a young Polish girl who went to school with other American children. She was different in many ways from other children. That day Wanda was not in her seat. She usually sat in the seat next to the last seat in the last row in Room thirteen where most of the boys made noises.
She rarely said anything. Wanda came from Boggins Heights. Her feet were usually caked with dry mud. There were other girls named Peggy and Maddie. Most often both these girls waited for Wanda Petronski to have fun with her.
Wanda did not have any friend but a lot of friends talked to her. She came to school alone and went home alone. She always wore a faded-blue dress that did not often fit her properly. Peggy asked Wanda courteously how many dresses she possessed.
Wanda replied that she had a hundred all lined up in the closet. All were surprised at her remark. About shoes she replied that she had sixty pairs of all colours. Cries of politeness came from the students.
Peggy was the closest friend of Wanda. She enjoyed fun with her but she always protected small children from bullies. She would cry for hours on seeing an animal mistreated. If anybody asked about her protection for Wanda as cruelty, she would feel surprised. But why did Wanda say she had a hundred dresses? She must have told the truth, Peggy thought. Other girls had never troubled her very much.
On the other hand, Maddie was a poor girl. She usually wore the old clothes of others. She thanked herself for not living in Boggins Heights or for having a funny name. But the question of asking dresses, hats and other items was troubling her.
Often Peggy asked such questions but Maddie always felt ashamed. In reality this game about dresses was invented by Peggy. It was Maddie’s desire that Peggy would stop teasing Wanda Petronski.
Today Maddie was busy with her arithmetic problems. She decided to write a note to Peggy on the point that they would stop asking Wanda how many dresses she possessed. She started writing but suddenly she stopped. She viewed a new target for Peggy and other girls. She would tell others that it was Peggy5s old dress and her (Maddie’s) mother had mended it so that none could recognise it.
She also thought that she would decide not to make fun of Wanda. With these words, Peggy tore up the note. Peggy also knew that Wanda hardly said anything to others.
Maddie was lost in Wanda about her hundred dresses. Then the drawing and colour contest came to her mind. For the girls the contest was to design dresses. The boys were to design motor boats. Maddie was hopeful that Peggy would win because she was good at designing.
She could copy a picture from a magazine quite alike. Next day it was drizzling. So without waiting for Wanda, they hurried to school for the result.
The moment they entered the room, they were amazed to see drawings all over the room. They were in dazzling colours of lavish designs. These must have been hundred and all were lined up. Everybody stopped and praised this grand work.
In no time Miss Mason announced the winners.
Miss Mason announced Jack Beggles from the boys. About girls, she told that there were just one or two sketches submitted by most girls. But there was a single girl in Room thirteen, who had drawn one hundred different designs. All should be proud of her.
The judges had viewed that each drawing was worthy of the prize. Wanda Petronski was the winner. She had been absent for some days and applauses were due for her. All students were happy and burst into applause. Labour gives result.
The Hundred Dresses Part 2 Summary
The Hundred Dresses Part 2 Summary of the Lesson
Miss Mason received a letter from Wanda’s father. She read it for the class. Wanda’s father had informed Miss Mason that Wanda would not come to the school any more. They were moving to big city where nobody would ask Wanda about her funny name.
The entire class got tensed and they felt bad about Wanda. Maddie could not concentrate on her studies. She had a sick feeling. She felt that she was a coward and never stopped Peggy from making fun of Wanda. She wanted to meet Wanda and say that she had not meant to hurt her feelings. She made up her mind to go to her house and tell Wanda that she had won the contest and her hundred dresses were beautiful.
When school was dismissed Peggy and Maddie went to Boggins Heights. On the way Peggy said that she never called Wanda a foreigner or made fun of her name. She never thought that Wanda had the sense to know they were making fun of her.
Peggy thought that Wanda was too dumb. Maddie said nothing. She just wanted to meet Wanda and tell her that they were sorry for their rude treatment. She wanted to request her not to move away. Both the girls found her house but could not meet Wanda as her family had already left the place.
They came back. Peggy tried to defend her behaviour by saying that if she had not asked Wanda about her dresses she would not have got the ideas for her drawings. But Maddie was not satisfied. She could not sleep that night.
Now Maddie decided that she would not keep quiet if someone teased anybody about their funny names. Even if it meant losing Peggy’s friendship. She had no way of making things right with Wanda, but now she would never make anybody else that unhappy again.
On Saturday, both Peggy and Maddie wrote a friendly letter to Wanda telling her that she had won the contest. They signed it with lots of X’s for love and mailed to Boggins Heights. Days passed but there was no answer from Wanda. Peggy had begun to forget the whole business and Maddie put herself to sleep at night making speeches about Wanda.
It was Christmas time when Miss Mason received a letter from Wanda. Wanda had written that the girls could keep those hundred dresses because in her new house she had hundred new ones. She had gifted special drawings to Peggy and Maddie. They accepted the drawings and pinned them in their bedrooms.
Maddie was missing her too much. Tears blurred her eyes and she gazed for a long time at the picture. She found that the face in the drawing looked like her. She was excited to see that Wanda had made that drawing specially for her. She ran to Peggy’s house and saw her drawing too.
Peggy was also happy to see that the face and head of the drawing looked like her. Peggy consoled herself by saying that Wanda really liked them. Maddie agreed and blinked away the tears that come everytime she thought of Wanda Petronski.