The Hundred Dresses

The Hundred Dresses Imagery

Sometimes she twisted her mouth into a crooked sort of smile, but that was all.

In this visual image, Eleanor Estes creates a portrait of Wanda's enigmatic smile. Mystery surrounds the character, who rarely speaks and never laughs. Her peculiar smile, however, suggests that Wanda has an awareness of the world around her, but is perhaps too timid to engage as other students do.

Wanda moved over to the sunny place by the ivy-covered brick wall of the school building where she usually stood and waited for the bell to ring.

This example of visual imagery illustrates how Wanda is a social outcast. Having been teased by the other girls, Wanda stands alone. The image returns to Maddie in the book's closing lines. However, in the later recollection, Wanda stares back at the group of girls; it is clear to Maddie that Wanda simply wanted to belong.

Wanda would shift her eyes quickly from Peggy to a distant spot, as though she were looking far ahead, looking but not seeing anything.

This visual image captures Wanda's stoicism when she is being bullied. Rather than respond with tears, Wanda stares ahead as if unaffected by Peggy's cruelty. The quick movement of her eyes suggests that Wanda is afraid of challenging Peggy's authority and of showing fear. However, Wanda's show of indifference leads Maddie and the other girls to assume she must not care that they are teasing her.

A crisp, fresh wind was blowing, swishing their skirts and blowing their hair in their eyes.

In this image—which activates auditory, tactile, and visual senses—the author recreates the sensation of walking on a windy autumn day. By choosing a word like "fresh," Estes implies that the wind is exhilarating and welcome, as opposed to chilling and uncomfortable.