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The Hundred Dresses I: A Comprehensive Guide for Class 10 (RBSE & CBSE)

Introduction to Chapter Five: ‘The Hundred Dresses–I’ by El Bsor Ester of ‘First Flight’

Chapter Five of the Class X NCERT English textbook ‘First Flight’ features ‘The Hundred Dresses–I,’ a story by El Bsor Ester. This chapter presents a touching narrative set in an American school, focusing on a young Polish girl named Wanda Petronski, who becomes the subject of her classmates’ mockery due to her poverty.

The story opens with Wanda’s classmates teasing her about wearing the same faded blue dress every day to school. In response, Wanda claims she has a hundred dresses at home. The claim, seemingly far-fetched, becomes the source of further ridicule. The narrative explores themes of bullying, empathy, and the consequences of our actions on others. Through the experiences of Wanda and her classmates, the story delves into the issues of class and cultural differences, and the often invisible impact of words and actions.

‘The Hundred Dresses–I’ is not just a story about a young girl and her dresses; it is a poignant reminder of the importance of kindness and understanding. It encourages readers, especially young students, to reflect on their behavior towards others and the significance of compassion and acceptance in a diverse society.

Summary of Chapter Five: ‘The Hundred Dresses–I’ by El Bsor Ester from ‘First Flight’

Chapter Five of ‘First Flight’, titled ‘The Hundred Dresses–I’, tells the story of Wanda Petronski, a young Polish girl in an American school who is ridiculed by her classmates for wearing the same faded blue dress every day. Despite the mockery, Wanda claims she has a hundred beautiful dresses at home, all lined up in her closet.

The central event of the chapter revolves around a drawing competition in the class, where Wanda surprises everyone by submitting one hundred different drawings of dresses, each unique and beautifully designed. This revelation brings a significant shift in how her classmates view her. They realize the depth of Wanda’s talent and the harshness of their own behavior towards her.

The themes of this chapter include empathy, the impact of bullying, and the recognition of individual differences. The character of Wanda, with her quiet dignity and remarkable talent, highlights the often-overlooked depth in those who may seem different. The story also explores the theme of regret and realization, as Wanda’s classmates begin to understand the consequences of their thoughtless actions.

This chapter not only narrates the story of Wanda and her hundred dresses but also serves as a powerful lesson on kindness, acceptance, and the unseen struggles of others. It encourages readers to look beyond appearances and to think about the impact their words and actions can have on their peers.

Multiple Choice Questions for ‘The Hundred Dresses–I’

  1. What is Wanda Petronski teased for in the story?
  • (a) Her accent
  • (b) Her name
  • (c) Wearing the same dress daily
  • (d) Her drawing skills
  • Answer: (c) Wearing the same dress daily
  1. How many dresses does Wanda claim to have at home?
  • (a) 10
  • (b) 50
  • (c) 100
  • (d) 200
  • Answer: (c) 100
  1. What competition takes place in Wanda’s class?
  • (a) Singing competition
  • (b) Drawing competition
  • (c) Dance competition
  • (d) Essay writing competition
  • Answer: (b) Drawing competition
  1. Where does Wanda sit in her classroom?
  • (a) At the front
  • (b) In the middle
  • (c) At the back
  • (d) Near the window
  • Answer: (c) At the back
  1. What is the reaction of the class to Wanda’s drawings?
  • (a) Disbelief
  • (b) Amusement
  • (c) Admiration
  • (d) Indifference
  • Answer: (c) Admiration
  1. What is the primary theme of ‘The Hundred Dresses–I’?
  • (a) Friendship
  • (b) Creativity
  • (c) Bullying and empathy
  • (d) Adventure
  • Answer: (c) Bullying and empathy
  1. What nationality is Wanda Petronski?
  • (a) American
  • (b) Polish
  • (c) Italian
  • (d) German
  • Answer: (b) Polish
  1. Who is the author of ‘The Hundred Dresses–I’?
  • (a) El Bsor Ester
  • (b) Anne Frank
  • (c) Frederick Forsyth
  • (d) Liam O’ Flaherty
  • Answer: (a) El Bsor Ester
  1. How does Wanda’s class feel after seeing her dresses?
  • (a) Jealous
  • (b) Guilty
  • (c) Angry
  • (d) Excited
  • Answer: (b) Guilty
  1. What does Wanda’s story teach the reader?
    • (a) To be creative
    • (b) To always tell the truth
    • (c) The importance of kindness and understanding
    • (d) To participate in competitions
    • Answer: (c) The importance of kindness and understanding

Short Answer Questions for ‘The Hundred Dresses–I’

  1. Why do Wanda’s classmates tease her?
  • Answer: They tease her for wearing the same dress every day and her claim of having a hundred dresses.
  1. What is unique about Wanda’s last name?
  • Answer: Wanda’s last name, Petronski, reflects her Polish heritage, which is unusual in her school.
  1. What was Wanda’s response when asked about her dresses?
  • Answer: She claimed to have a hundred dresses, all lined up in her closet at home.
  1. Where does Wanda live in the story?
  • Answer: She lives in Boggins Heights, a poor area of the town.
  1. How does Wanda’s family react to the teasing?
  • Answer: The story does not directly show their reaction, but they eventually move away.
  1. How many dress designs did Wanda submit in the contest?
  • Answer: She submitted one hundred dress designs.
  1. Describe one dress that Wanda drew.
  • Answer: Each dress was unique, but specifics are not detailed in the story.
  1. What lesson does the story convey?
  • Answer: It teaches about empathy, kindness, and not judging others by their appearance.
  1. How do Wanda’s classmates feel after seeing her drawings?
  • Answer: They feel ashamed and guilty for having teased her.
  1. What happens at the end of the story?
    • Answer: Wanda wins the drawing contest, but she has moved away with her family.

Long Questions with In-Depth Answers for ‘The Hundred Dresses–I’

  1. Evaluate the impact of Wanda Petronski’s character on the reader and how it contributes to the central message of the story.
  • Answer: Wanda Petronski’s character, portrayed as a quiet, marginalized figure, significantly impacts the reader through her dignified response to bullying and her hidden talent. Her character embodies resilience and the unseen depths beneath surface judgments. The contrast between her perceived and actual situation compels readers to introspect about quick judgments and the unseen struggles others may face. Wanda’s character effectively drives the story’s message on empathy, kindness, and the dangers of assumptions based on appearances.
  1. Analyze how ‘The Hundred Dresses–I’ uses the narrative technique to explore themes of empathy and awareness of socioeconomic differences.
  • Answer: ‘The Hundred Dresses–I’ uses a narrative that unfolds through the eyes of Wanda’s classmates, primarily Maddie. This perspective allows readers to experience the gradual realization of the consequences of their actions. The story subtly builds on the theme of empathy by showing Maddie’s growing discomfort and eventual regret. The narrative effectively uses Wanda’s absence and her hundred dress drawings as powerful tools to convey themes of empathy, awareness of socioeconomic diversity, and the impact of thoughtless actions.
  1. Discuss the relevance of ‘The Hundred Dresses–I’ in the contemporary context of bullying and social inclusiveness.
  • Answer: ‘The Hundred Dresses–I’ remains highly relevant in today’s context of bullying and social inclusiveness. The story addresses universal themes like the impact of bullying, the pain of being an outsider, and the importance of empathy. In an age where bullying can take many forms, including cyberbullying, the story serves as a poignant reminder of the profound impact our words and actions can have on others, especially those who are different from us. It underscores the need for greater social inclusiveness and understanding in a diverse society.