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The lesson "The Hundred Dresses I" is written by Eleanor Estes. The protagonist of the story is Wanda Petronski, a polish girl who studies in an American school. The lesson narrates how the American girls treated a polish girl.

The story opens in a classroom on Monday. On that day, Wanda Petronski was not in her seat. But her absence was not even noticed by anybody. Even Peggy and Madeline have not noticed her absence. These are the girls who started all the fun in the classroom (The fun is revealed later in the story).
A classroom

Wanda usually occupied her seat next to the last seat in the last row in Room Thirteen. She sat in the room's corner where the rough boys usually sat. Here, rough boys, in a sense, used to refer to the boys who used to make noises and play during class hours. Also, they didn't get good grades in their exams. In addition, one can hear the loudest laugh in the room's last area. The boys would make laughing when anything amusing was spoken. Also, the sound of feet shuffling was heard in between. Moreover, while looking at the floors it was covered with mud and dirt. The muds and dirt were from their shoes or sandals.

The narrator said that Wanda used to sit there as she was not a rugged and noisy person. While looking at the previous paragraph, one can find that the rough and loud people used to sit on the last bench. When it comes to Wanda, she was not sitting there because of roughness. On the contrary, the narrator said that she was a calm person. She used to speak rarely to others. Even nobody in the classroom heard her loud laugh. When someone said anything to her, she would smile unevenly. It means that she wouldn't smile pleasantly. She used to smile gloomily by twisting her mouth.
The narrator then said that no one in the classroom knew why Wanda sat in the corner of the seat. She might have sat in the corner because she had travelled from Boggins Heights (an area where poor people live), and her feet were often covered in dried mud. However, after Wanda Petronski took a seat in the class's corner, nobody was concerned about her.

Wanda's classmates used to think of her when the class got over. They used to think about her during lunch break, morning time while coming to school and even before school began. Whenever her classmates (a group of two, three or more girls) came to school, they used to talk and laugh about her on their way to the schoolyard. Here, one can find that her classmates would make her fun until she arrived at school.
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Girls talking and laughing about Wanda

The narrator continued by stating that occasionally even the girls waited for Wanda to make fun of her. The next day arrived, and it was Tuesday. Wanda was not in her seat, and nobody noticed her absence again in the classroom.
The narrator then describes the first bench students and how they are good at their studies. On Wednesday, Peggy and Maddie (the girls who used to make fun of Wanda) sat in the front row with the other children. Those children used to score good marks on the examination. Also, their shoes were not covered with a whole lot of mud. Here, one can find the differentiation between the first and the last bench students. The first benchers were the top scorers; their sandals were not covered with mud, while the last benchers were the least scores, and their sandals were immersed in dried mud.

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First bench students

On that day, Peggy and Maddie didn't even notice that Wanda was not in the classroom. The narrator then describes the appearance of Peggy. She was the most famous girl in the school. Peggy looked very beautiful, had many lovely clothes, and her hair seemed gorgeous with curls. Also, her close friend was Maddie.

The narrator then describes how Peggy and Maddie noticed Wanda's absence. Peggy and Maddie waited for Wanda to make fun of her in the schoolyard. But on the contrary, Wanda did not come. That was the reason Maddie and Peggy came late to school. The two girls (Maddie and Peggy) frequently waited for Wanda to have fun with her. This shows how often they get late to school. Then the narrator describes how the girls make fun of Wanda's name. Most of the children in Room Thirteen did not have names like Wanda. Instead, they had names easy to pronounce. The names were probably Thomas, Smith or Allen. There was a boy named Bounce, whose actual name was Willie Bounce. The children in the classroom thought that his name was funny. But they didn't feel his name was as funny as Wanda's.
Wanda did not have any friends in school. She used to come to school alone and go back home alone. She used to wear a dull blue dress that didn't fit her well. Her dress looked clean, and it seemed that it had never been ironed properly. Although she didn't have any friends, several girls spoke to her. When Wanda stood in the playground watching the little girls playing hopscotch on the mud-filled playground, some girls would encircle her.
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When Wanda was in the playground, Peggy used to go near her. She used to speak to her gently as she used to speak to her teacher Miss Mason. Then she would call her name and give a light push to her friend (to make fun of Wanda) and ask how many dresses she had hanging in her closet.

After hearing that, Wanda would say, "A hundred". At the same time, all the girls standing near her were astonished and exclaimed, "A hundred!" The little ones playing hopscotch would stop and listen to Wanda's talk. After seeing their expression, Wanda would reply that she had a hundred dresses lined up in a row in her closet. After telling that, "her thin lips drew together in silence". Here, the narrator expresses how soft she is and her calmness.
After hearing about a hundred dresses lined up in the cupboard, Peggy asked Wanda whether all dresses were made of silk. Wanda replied that all were silk and they were of different colours. Peggy then asked Wanda whether velvet clothes were there in her cupboard. She even agreed that she had velvet clothes. Wanda then repeated that she had a hundred dresses lined up in her closet in an unemotional way.

Then the girls allowed Wanda to go. The girls would start laughing and shouting when Wanda moved from there. Even Wanda wouldn't have gone far, but the girls would make fun of her. It means that Wanda can hear them laughing and commenting. They couldn't control the things Wanda said, and they burst out in laughter. Then the girls made fun of her by telling them that she had only one faded blue dress she wore every day, and then how come she would have a hundred dresses in her closet. Once she left the place, the girls started making fun of her by discussing the story Wanda said.

The girls then asked her how many shoes she had. Immediately Wanda replied that she had sixty pairs of shoes and all that lined up in her closet. Then the girls pretend to be complete politeness and ask whether they all look the same. Wanda then said that each pair differs from one other. Each pair seemed different in colour, arranged in the order in the closet.
Sixty pairs of shoes in cupboard
Peggy, the one who started the dress game and her best friend, Maddie, were usually the last to leave the school. After hearing the funny talk, Wanda would move slowly along the street with her lips shut. Her eyes seemed very dull. She continued the walk to school by herself, sometimes bending down her left shoulder strangely.

The narrator then describes the character of Peggy. She was not a cruel girl. She saves many small children from the bullying of other classmates. Also, she would feel pity and cry for hours if she saw any animal being mistreated on the road. In addition, the narrator said that if anybody asked Peggy why she was cruelly treating Wanda, she would be surprised. She would reply to them that she was not treating her cruelly. She would ask why the girl told lies to everyone that she had a hundred dresses. While hearing it, everyone can understand that Wanda was telling a lie. Then she asked why there was a need to tell a lie. After telling all these things, Peggy would say that Wanda wasn't an ordinary person. If she was normal, why did she have such a weird name? Moreover, the girls had never made her weep.

The narrator then said that when Peggy asked Wanda how many shoes, dresses, and hats she had, Maddie felt embarrassed. While hearing this, Maddie felt bothered about something. The thing which bothered Maddie was that she also belonged to a poor family. She used to wear dresses which were offered by someone or reused dresses. The narrator said, "Thank goodness" she didn't have a strange name or live up on Boggins Heights. Here the expression "Thank goodness" means that thank god, as she was not coming from Boggins Heights or having a strange name, Maddie escaped from the fun of Peggy.
Maddie didn't feel very comfortable teasing Wanda. When Peggy used to ask Wanda questions like how many dresses she had, she would silently count the marbles in the palm of her hand, pretending to play with them. These reaction doesn't mean that Maddie was feeling sad for Wanda. The narrator said Maddie wouldn't have paid attention to Wanda if Peggy hadn't started the dress again. Then Maddie doubted that Peggy and other classmates would start to treat or question her as they did for Wanda. Maddie was not as poor as Wanda, but she was not rich.
Moreover, the narrator said that Maddie naturally would be smarter than claiming to have a hundred gowns. But she still does not want them to start in on her. It means that even Maddie could tell she had a lot of clothes, but she didn't like the girls to turn over to her and ask the same questions as Wanda. Maddie desired Peggy should stop making fun of Wanda Petronski.

Wanda didn't come that day. Maddie and Peggy got to school late after having waited so long. Maddie secretly felt happy that the girls could not get a chance to make fun of Wanda. She was lost in her thoughts and couldn't concentrate on her arithmetic problems. Then she said, "Eight times eight — let's see". It means that she was telling them something, and her mind was not concentrating on her studies. She was bothered about whether her friends would tease her like Wanda.

All this time, she kept assuming about writing a note to Peggy. She didn't dare to talk in front of Peggy. Even though Peggy was her best friend, she didn't dare to tell her what she thought. She even didn't have the guts to tell her to stop asking Wanda how many dresses she had. After finishing her arithmetic problems, Maddie started writing a letter to Peggy. When she started, she paused in between while thinking about the future. While writing the note to Peggy, Maddie shook at the imagination of her being a new target for Peggy and the girls. She was afraid they would ask where she got Peggy's dress. Maddie's mother recreated Peggy's dress with new laces and ribbons so that none of her classmates could identify it.
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Maddie thought of writing a note to Peggy
Maddie then thought that Peggy should think herself to stop making fun of Wanda. Maddie then "ran her hand through her hair" as a gesture to drive away all those thoughts. Then she thought that if she wrote a note to Peggy, what difference it would bring. So she tore the notes into small bits.
Peggy was the best friend of Maddie. Everyone in the class liked Peggy. Since Peggy was brilliant and beautiful, everyone liked her. Maddie then thought that as she was a bright girl, she would not do anything wrong. It means that she would only make fun of her and that she won't cross her limits like teasing more.

After Maddie had cleared her thoughts about confessing to Peggy, she started thinking about Wanda. She thought Wanda was just another girl living in Boggins Heights. She stood alone in the schoolyard without anyone accompanying her. The only thing she used to speak in the schoolyard was about the hundred dresses. Maddie then remembered Wanda telling about one of her pale blue dresses with coloured trimmings. Then she remembered another dress which was green coloured. The green resembled the colour of the jungle, and it was with a red sash. After hearing that, the girls made fun of her by saying that Wanda would look like a Christmas tree in that dress.

While Maddie was thinking about Wanda and her hundred dresses in the closet, she immediately remembered the contest. A drawing and colouring contest was going to happen in the school for boys and girls. Girls used to design dresses, and boys had to design motorboats. After thinking that, Maddie thought that Peggy would win the girl's medal. As we learnt earlier that Peggy was an intelligent girl, Maddie would have thought in such a way.

Peggy can draw attractively. She used to draw in a better way than anyone in the class. Then Maddie said that even everyone would agree with the same thought. Then she said that Peggy would draw the picture of a magazine or the film star's image the same way it appears. Almost while looking at the picture, anyone can guess whose face it was. Maddie was sure that Peggy would win the contest. She then thought that the teacher would announce the winner the next day, and everyone would come to know who the winner was.
It was drizzling the next day. Maddie and her friend Peggy hurried to school under Peggy's umbrella. They didn't wait for Wanda Petronski at the corner of Oliver Street. Usually, they used to wait at the corner of Oliver street to ask questions to Wanda.
Peggy and Wanda hurried to school under one umbrella
Wanda comes from Boggins Heights. The street that went to Boggins Heights was far from away. One should walk under the train tracks and up the hill to reach Boggins Heights. Maddie and Peggy usually wait for her at the corner, but they didn't wait for her that day. Since they know that if they wait there, they will be late for school. Also, the day was very important for them, so they didn't wait for her. Peggy then asked Maddie whether she thought that their teacher Miss. Mason will announce the winners today. After hearing that, she said she hoped so. Also, she said that anyhow Peggy would win the competition.

After that, Peggy said that she also hoped the same. When they entered the classroom, both of them breathed heavily. As they were walking fast, they felt gasping once they reached the school. The drawings were all over the room, on every ledge and windowsill. The drawings were filled up with dazzling colours and lavish designs. All the people who participated in the competition did their drawings on great sheets of wrapping paper. There were hundreds of drawings lined up in the room. These were the contest drawings. Everyone came to the classroom, whistled or muttered admiringly.
The teacher announced the contest winners when the students assembled in the classroom. She announced that Jack Beagles had won on the boy's side. He had drawn an outboard motor. The drawing was kept on exhibition in Room Twelve, along with the drawings of other boys.

Then the teacher started telling about who won the prize on the girl's side. She said that most of the girls submitted one or two sketches. Then she added that only one girl from Room Thirteen designed hundreds of designs. Also, she said she was proud of that girl because all the designs seemed different and beautiful. The teacher then said that the judges believed that any of the drawings deserved the award. She said that she was very happy to announce that the winner of the girl's medal was Wanda Petronski.
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Children clapped their hands in excitement

After telling them that, the teacher said that, unfortunately, Wanda had been absent from school for some days. In addition, she said that she was not here to get this applause and she meant that the competition won because of her. Then she asked everyone that let them hope that she would be back to school tomorrow. Then the teacher asked the children to roam around the class in line to explore the extraordinary drawings. After hearing that, the children felt happy and started clapping their hands. The boys were glad they got the chance to stamp on the floor, put their fingers in their mouths, and whistle. Usually, these things won't happen on ordinary days. Due to the competition and the prize, the teacher made them enjoy their day. Since the boys were not interested in looking at the dresses, they enjoyed their day by stamping on the floor and putting their fingers in their mouths, and they whistled at each other.

Later, Maddie asked Peggy to look at the blue dress, which she told them. Then she asked her whether it looked beautiful. After hearing that, Peggy replied that yes, it seemed beautiful. Then she said there was a green colour dress. Then Peggy said, "Boy, and I thought I could draw." Here, a boy is denoted as an expression. It means, Oh man, or oh dude. Here Peggy tries to say that she thought of drawing that green coloured dress which Wanda drew.