English CBSE Class 10 NCERT First Flight Chapter 6 The Hundred Dresses – II Line by Line Explanation and Meaning of Difficult Words
THE HUNDRED DRESSES – II
Author – El Bsor Ester
All students of the class were going around the room to look at the drawings. During that time a person from the office of the principal brought a paper to Miss Masson. She read that paper many times. She studied it carefully for some time. Then she clapped her hands. She asked everybody to go back to their seats.
|Shuffling of feet||Sound of movement of feet|
|Still||Without movement, Motionless|
When sound of movement of feet had stopped, all movements in the class had stopped and there was no sound in the class, then Miss Mason spoke. She said that she had a letter from Wanda’s father. She wanted to read that letter for the students of class.
Miss Mason did not speak for a some time. Every student was silent, tense and eager. The teacher slowly and intentionally adjusted her spectacles. Her style indicated that she was going to read something of great importance. It was a letter from Wanda’s father. When Miss Mason started reading the brief note, everybody listened with full attention.
|No more holler Pollack||No teasing|
My daughter Wanda will not come to your school. Jake (probably he is brother of Wanda) will also not be coming to school. We are shifting to a big city. She will not be teased there. Nobody will ask why her name is funny. In a big city several people of different names stay.
The letter was signed by Jan Petronski.
After listening to the letter the whole class was silent. Miss Mason removed her spectacles. Blew air from her mouth on it and cleaned it with her soft handkerchief. Then she again put on her glasses and looked at the students. She spoke in a very low voice.
|Thoughtlessness||Carelessness, Without empathy|
I am sure that no student of this class will intentionally hurt anybody’s feeling because a name was long or strange. I would like to assume that what was said to Wanda was carelessness. [Nobody understood its impact]. I am aware that we all are feeling that it is unfortunate as well as sad that Wanda has left the school. I want you to think about it.
|Could not put mind||Could not concentrate|
|Sick feeling in the stomach||Disturbed, Upset|
In the first period a teacher taught the class. Maddie tried to understand what was being taught. But she was not able to concentrate. She was very upset and disturbed.
It is true that Maddie did not like Peggy asking Wanda how many dresses she had in her cupboard. But Maddie had not said anything to Peggy. So she silently supported Peggy. She thought her silence was as bad as Peggy had done to Wanda. Maddie thought that she was a coward.
|To put in someone’s shoes||Imagine to be in someone’s situation|
Peggy did not understand they were behaving like selfish persons. Peggy did not understand the effect her questions would have on Wanda. But Maddie was aware that it was wrong. Maddie could imagine herself to be in situation of Wanda.
|Stole a Glance||Took a quick short look|
Maddie thought if she could do anything now. Maddie thought it would be good to tell Wanda that she did not want to hurt her feelings. Maddie took a quick look at Peggy. But Peggy did not look at her. Peggy was probably concentrating on her studies.
Whether Peggy felt bad about the incident or not, Maddie wanted to do something about it. She wanted to meet Wanda Petronski. Probably she had not yet shifted to another city. May be Peggy will come with her to Boggins Heights. They would tell Wanda that she was the winner of the contest, she was smart and her hundred dresses were beautiful.
|Glowed||Felt very happy|
When the school was closed in the afternoon Peggy told Maddie to go to Boggins Heights. Peggy behaved as if she was quite normal. She wanted to check whether Wanda had gone away or not. So Peggy also wanted to meet Wanda. Maddie felt very happy. She thought Peggy was always right.
|Forbidding air||Disagreeable, Prohibited|
Maddie and Peggy quickly came out of the school building and started going towards Boggins Heights. People did not want to go in that part of the town. During month of November there used to be rains in that area. The locality was wet [water flowing in open area] and it had a dull look.
|Had the sense||Had wisdom|
Peggy said in a rough voice that she had never called Wanda a foreigner. She had never made fun of her name. I never thought she had the wisdom to understand that we were only having some fun. [We were not serious]. I thought she was a big fool. But she can make beautiful drawings.
|Pick on somebody||Tease somebody|
Maddie did not say anything. She wished that they would meet Wanda. Maddie wanted to tell Wanda that they were sorry to tease her. The school thought that Wanda was a wonderful girl. She wanted to request Wanda not to go away and that everybody would be nice to her. She and Peggy will fight with anyone who was not nice to Wanda.
|Here and there||Everywhere, Spread|
Two girls started walking quickly. The wanted to reach top of the hill before sunset. Pointing to a house of white colour, Maddie said that probably Patronkis family lived there. Bunches of old grass had grown all over the path.
|Shabby||Not looking nice|
The house and its small yard did not look nice but it was clean. It reminded Maddie about the faded blue dress of Wanda. The dress did not look nice but was always clean.
|Not a sign of life||Nobody lived there|
It looked that nobody lived there. Peggy knocked at the door but nobody answered it. The two girls went to back of the house and knocked at the back door. But there was no answer.
|Make amends||To correct a mistake|
Now they were sure that family of Petronskis had shifted to new place. So there was no scope for correcting their mistake. They turned back and slowly started climbing down the hill to return to their houses.
Peggy said that now Wanda has gone away so they cannot do anything. Additionally, when I was asking her about the dresses, she was probably getting ideas for her drawings. Otherwise she would not have won the competition.
|Turn-over in head||To think repeatedly|
Maddie repeatedly thought about this idea. Because if the argument of Peggy was right, Wanda would not have felt so bad about teasing. That night Maddie could not sleep. She continued to think about Wanda, her faded blue dress and the small house where she lived.
She thought of shining picture of hundred dresses made by Wanda which were exhibited in the class room. Finally Maddie sat up in her bed. She put her forehead in her hands and started thinking.
This was the toughest thinking she had done in her life. After a very long time she came to an important conclusion. She decided that she would not support any thing wrong and keep quiet.
|Picking on someone||Teasing some one|
|Speak up||To oppose|
If she came to know that anybody was teasing someone because their appearance or name being funny, she would oppose it. She would oppose even if she lost friendship of Peggy. Maddie had no method to correct the wrong done to Wanda. But she promised to herself that she would never make anybody unhappy to that extent.
In the afternoon of Saturday, Maddie and Peggy were together. They wrote a letter to Wanda Petronski. It was a friendly letter. They wanted to inform her about the competition and that she had won the competition
They wrote that her drawings were beautiful. They asked her if she liked where she was living and if she liked her new teacher. They wanted to say sorry to her but finally they wrote only a friendly letter. This letter was similar to one they would have written to a good friend. At the end of the letter they wrote lot of X’s to show that they loved Wanda.
They wrote the address of Boggins Heights on the envelope. They also wrote ‘Please Forward’ on the top of the envelope. [They thought that Wanda might have given her new address to the post office and people at the post office will forward the letter to Wanda at her new address]
Even after many days they did not receive any reply to their letter. But the letter did not come back to them. [Which means that post office people had forwarded the letter to the new address of Wanda] They assumed that Wanda was so hurt and angry at them that she did not want to reply. They could not hold Wanda responsible for being angry.
Many weeks passed but Wanda had not replied to their letter. Peggy had almost forgotten the complete incident. Maddie used to make speeches about Wanda in her dreams. She would protect Wanda from the large crowds of girls. These girls were trying to tease Wanda by asking Wanda how many dresses she had.
Before answering the question Wanda would as usual press her lips together. Just at that time Maddie would shout ‘Stop!’ Then everybody would feel ashamed same way as Wanda used to feel.
Now only some days were left for Christmas. There was snow on the ground. The classroom was decorated with a bell and a small tree. On the last day of the school before vacation, the teacher showed a letter to the class. She had received that letter in the morning.
Teacher asked the class students if they remembered talented artist Wanda Petronski. She was student of this class who had won the drawing competition. She has written a letter to me. I am happy to know where she lives. Now I will send the medal to her. I want to read the letter to you all.
The class was suddenly interested and listened carefully with full attention.
The letter was addressed to Miss Mason.
How to do you do and students of Room Thirteen? Please tell girls to keep those hundred dresses with them. Because in my new house I have another hundred dresses neatly put in my cupboard. I want to give the drawing of green dress with red trimmings to Peggy. I want to give the blue dress drawing to Maddie. I miss the school on Christmas. My new teacher is not as good as you are. Merry Christmas to you and everybody.
The letter was signed by Wanda.
|Holly||Type of green coloured grass|
While going back to their houses, Maddie and Peggy were holding their drawings very carefully. All the houses had put circular decorations and green grass in windows.
|Grocery store||General store|
|Cornucopia||Decoration in the form of a horn|
Outside general stores hundreds of Christmas trees were displayed. In the windows, peppermint toffees were displayed. There were strings of decorative horns made of shining transparent paper.
Everywhere there were decoration for Christmas. The lights were shining. It reflected in different colours on the snow. Peggy said that the letter indicated that Wanda liked us. She received our letter. Her letter indicates that everything is all right. [Meaning that Wanda has forgiven them]. And it is good.
|Tight lipped||One who does not speak|
Maddie sadly said that she hoped that Wanda had forgiven them. Maddie was sad because she would never meet that girl from Poland who did not speak. Maddie will never be able to remove the misunderstanding between herself and Wanda.
|Came alive||Started looking beautiful|
Maddie reached home. She put that drawing with the help of a pin on the wall. The wall had torn wall paper. The wall paper had pictures of pink coloured flowers on it. The ugly room started looking beautiful because of the brilliant drawing.
Maddie sat down on her bed and looked at the drawing. Maddie had supported Peggy by remaining silent. But Wanda had behaved nicely to Maddie.
|Blurred||Not clear, Made Hazy|
Tears came to her eyes. She could not see clearly because of tears. She looked at the drawing for a long time. Then she quickly rubbed her eyes and studied the drawing carefully.
The colours in the drawing were so bright that she could hardly notice the face and head of the drawing. But the face looked like her. Yes, it really looked like her own face.
Maddie thought why the drawing looked like her own picture. Wanda had actually drawn this drawing for Maddie. She ran to the house of Peggy. She asked Peggy to look at her drawing.
|Clattered||Walked with sounds of footsteps|
Peggy asked Maddie what was the reason for coming to her. They walked to Peggy’s room. Drawing made by Wanda was lying on her bed with its face down. Maddie carefully picked up the drawing.
Maddie told with surprise that Wanda had drawn face of Peggy in the drawing. The face and the head looked like Peggy. Peggy told that probably Wanda actually liked us.
|Stolidly||Calmly, Without any feelings|
Maddie agreed that Wanda must have liked them. She removed tears of her eyes by repeatedly closing her eyes. Tears used to come to Maddie’s eyes whenever she thought of Wanda standing alone in the sun in the school yard. The girls used to laugh at Wanda after listening that she had hundred dresses. Wanda would look at the laughing girls calmly and without any feeling.
Author – Walt Whitman
|Long||To wish, To have a desire|
|I think I could turn and live with animals||Repetition|
|I think I could turn and live with animals||Alliteration|
|I think I could turn and live with animals||Assonance|
|I stand and look at them long and long||Repetition|
Poet wishes that he could run away from human beings and start living with animals. Because they are so calm and self-controlled and self-satisfied. They are satisfied with their life. The poet looks at them for a very long period. He has a strong desire to live with animals.
|Sweat and whine||To complain|
|Sin||Wrongdoing, Morally wrong|
|They do not sweat and whine||Metaphor|
|They do not lie awake in the dark||Alliteration|
These animals do not complain about their conditions. They do not remain awake in the night. They do not commit anything morally wrong to repent later. But human beings do many things wrong and repent later. They would lie awake in the night because of guilt.
|Make someone sick||To upset someone|
|They do not make me sick discussing||Alliteration|
|Not one is dissatisfied, not one is||Repetition|
They do not upset me by discussing their duty towards God. [Here the poet is trying to point out the disturbance in the world because of various religions] No animal is dissatisfied. No animal is crazy with the urge to possess more and more things.
|Not one kneels to another, nor to his||Alliteration|
|Not one kneels to another, nor to his||Assonance|
|Not one kneels to another, nor to his||Repetition|
|that lived thousands of years ago||Alliteration|
No animal bows down to another animal. No animal bows down to an animal that had lived thousands of years ago. No animal is more respected or more important than the other. No animal is unhappy.
The poet is pointing at the inequality and unhappiness prevailing among human beings.
|Plainly||In a simple way|
|So they show their relations to me||Alliteration|
|They bring me tokens of myself||Alliteration|
|They bring me tokens of myself||Alliteration|
|they evince them plainly in their possession||Alliteration|
So animals always show their true nature to the world. And the world accepts them as they are. They do not pretend their behaviour. In a very simple form they reveal their behaviour and qualities.
|Huge time ago||Long time ago|
|I wonder where they get those tokens||Alliteration|
|I wonder where they get those tokens||Assonance|
I do not know from where they get the quality of being honest about their behaviour. Human being have lost qualities of being honest and innocent. Many years ago, human beings had these qualities. But carelessly they have lost these values.