Question 1: What did Mr Petronski’s letter say?
Answer: Mr. Petronski was shifting to a bigger city. As bigger cities had more cosmopolitan population, so, there were lesser chances of getting funny glances from others. He was not happy with the treatment his children were getting in the school.
As people of cities get to see and interact with people from a wider geographies and ethnicities so they become more resilient at dealing with them.
Question 2: Is Miss Mason angry with the class, or is she unhappy and upset?
Answer: Miss Mason seems to be upset rather than angry. She hopes that all the misbehaviour was part of normal childhood pranks. She hopes that kids will derive a lesson from Wanda’s episode.
Her calm manners of reading the letter and reprimanding the students tells that she is upset and wants and hopes the kids would mend their ways.
Question 3: How does Maddie feel after listening to the note from Wanda’s father?
Answer: Maddie feels let down by herself. She feels that her behaviour was of a coward. There is an old saying that to tolerate injustices on others is also like being a part of the injustice.
Maddie feels that in stead of being a mute spectator she should have protested the mental torture of Wanda.
Question 4: What does Maddie want to do?
Answer: Maddie wants to meet Wanda to show her true feelings towards Wanda. She wants to say sorry and to convey that all was part of childhood prank and people really love Wanda.
Question 5: What excuses does Peggy think up for her behaviour? Why?
Answer: Peggy thinks that she was the person who gave inspiration for Wanda’s wonderful drawings. Had she not asked questions about number of dresses Wanda had, Wanda could not have made beautiful drawings.
There can be two views on Peggy’s real feelings. First view can be of a stubborn child who refuses to accept her mistakes. And another view can be accepting the mistake deep inside but for fear of being subjected to fun not accepting the mistake openly.
Question 6: What are Maddie’s thoughts as they go to Boggins Heights?
Answer: Maddie is feeling bad about Wanda and herself. She is feeling very sad for not even getting a chance to say sorry to Wanda.
Question 7: Why does Wanda’s house remind Maddie of Wanda’s blue dress?
Answer: Wanda’s blue dress was old, faded but used to be neat and clean. Similarly her house was small and makeshift but clean. Wanda was a poor girl but she was sober and was probably more mature than other kids of her age. May be her hardships had taught her great lessons in the life which is evident in the way she used to keep her dress or her house.
Question 8: What does Maddie think hard about? What important decision does she come to?
Answer: Wanda thinks about not letting injustice happen to anyone. She makes vow that she would protest if anybody misbehaves with anybody. She won’t be a mute spectator the way she did earlier.
In a way the episode of Wanda’s family leaving that city works as major change agent for Maddie’s personality.
Quesiton 9: What did the girls write to Wanda?
Answer: The girls planned to write their true feelings but ended up writing a formal letter. Most of us have this inbuilt ability of fear of truth. We don’t want to show our shortcomings to the world. Every time we talk about ourselves we talk about positives only. It takes lots of courage to talk about our negative aspects. To develop this level of courage requires years. But those who learn to admit mistakes learn to take lessons from their mistakes.
Question 10: Did they get a reply? Who was more anxious for a reply, Peggy or Maddie? How do you know?
Answer: They got the reply. Maddie seems to be more anxious. The way Maddie rues the fact of not getting a chance to say sorry to Wanda gives one clue. Another clue to this is the fact that she was the first person to notice her face on Wanda’s drawing. Had she been as arrogant as peggy she would not have noticed her face on the drawing.
Question 11: How did the girls know that Wanda liked them even though they had teased her?
Answer: An act of making a portrait requires lots of observation of the face. Until and unless an artist likes a subject, it will not be motivating enough for the artist. The way Wanda made everyone’s faces on drawings shows she liked them in spite of being teased by them.
Question 12: Why do you think Wanda’s family moved to a different city? Do you think life there was going to be different for their family?
Answer: Wanda’s family had had enough of differential treatment from the people of that city. Hence, they decided to move to a different and bigger city. The statement, “Plenty of funny names in the big city” indicates towards certain characters of big cities. Most of the big cities are cosmopolitan in composition. People in such circumstances are usually attuned to seeing people from all regions and races. They usually have a better sense of cross cultural sensibilities which normally is absent in people in small cities. It can be hoped that life would be better in the new environment.
Question 13: Maddie thought her silence was as bad as Peggy’s teasing. Was she right?
Answer: It is often said that turning a blind eye to a crime is worse than committing a crime. By being a mute spectator of Peggy’s crime, Maddie was indirectly encouraging the crime. Hence, she was right in thinking that her silence was as bad as Peggy’s teasing.
Question 14: Peggy says, “I never thought she had the sense to know we were making fun of her anyway. I thought she was too dumb. And gee, look how she can draw!” What led Peggy to believe that Wanda was dumb? Did she change her opinion later?
Answer: Wanda’s unusual behavior led Peggy to believe that Wanda was dumb. Wanda never reacted to all the pranks and misbehavior which she had to suffer every day. She was quite stoic while suffering all that. Her expressionless face may have led Peggy to think that Wanda did not understand anything. After the drawing contest, Peggy appears to be in a denial mode. But after seeing her own face in one of Wanda’s drawings; she appears to have change her perception about Wanda.
Question 15: What important decision did Maddie make? Why did she have to think hard to do so?
Answer: Maddie realized that see was coward and it was not good to be a coward. Earlier, she was torn between her loyalty to Peggy and her sense of right and wrong. But after the Petronsky’s decision to leave the town, she mustered the courage to fight for justice instead of suffering the ignominy of being a mute spectator of racial discrimination.
Question 16: Why do you think Wanda gave Maddie and Peggy the drawings of the dresses? Why are they surprised?
Answer: It can be assumed that Wanda may have developed some inclination towards Maddie and Peggy. While suffering the humiliation of the dresses game; she must have closely observed these two girls. She may have planned to give a parting gift to these two girls to teach them an important lesson of life, i.e. of respect for individuals.
Question 17: Do you think Wanda really thought the girls were teasing her? Why or Why not?
Answer: Wanda appears to be smart enough to understand what was going on around her. But she was mentally conditioned to withstand such incidents, because she must had had been through pains which are associated with migration.
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