The Purple Dress (Henry)

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The Purple Dress
Summary of the Short Story
from the Collection «The Trimmed Lamp»
Microsummary: A young woman saved money for a purple dress to wear at a Thanksgiving dinner, but gave her last dollars to a friend in need, ultimately wearing the dress in the rain and impressing a coworker.

Maida, a young woman working at the Bee-Hive Store, decided to have a purple dress tailor-made for Thanksgiving. She saved up $18 after eight months of economy, which was enough to buy the materials and pay the tailor, Schlegel, half of his fee. Maida planned to pay the remaining $4 on the day before Thanksgiving and wear her new dress to the store's annual Thanksgiving dinner, hosted by the store's proprietor, Old Bachman.

Maida — young woman with big brown eyes and cinnamon-colored hair; kind, selfless, and determined.

Maida tells her friend Grace about her plans to buy a purple dress for the upcoming Thanksgiving dinner at their workplace.

I'm going to have a purple dress — a tailor-made purple dress — for Thanksgiving.

Grace, Maida's coworker and friend, also planned to buy a new dress for the dinner. She chose a red dress, believing it to be more fashionable and attractive to men, particularly their boss, Mr. Ramsay. However, Grace found herself in trouble when she couldn't pay her rent and was threatened with eviction. Maida generously gave Grace the $4 she had saved for her dress, leaving her unable to pay Schlegel the remaining balance.

Grace — Maida's friend and coworker; wears a rhinestone brooch; somewhat selfish, prefers red.

On Thanksgiving Day, Maida sadly watched her coworkers enjoy the dinner from her window, as she couldn't attend without her new dress. Maida decides not to attend the Thanksgiving dinner after giving her last dollars to Grace, leaving her unable to pay for her purple dress.

I was set on my purple. If I can't have it I won't go at all.

Later that afternoon, she went to Schlegel's shop to explain her situation, but the kind-hearted tailor allowed her to take the dress and pay him back later. Maida happily took her dress home, even as it began to rain.

Despite the rain, Maida decided to wear her new purple dress outside, not caring about the weather. As she walked through the storm, she encountered Mr. Ramsay, who complimented her on her beautiful dress and her intelligence for braving the weather. He asked if he could walk with her, and Maida, blushing and sneezing, agreed.

Mr. Ramsay — head clerk at the store; health-conscious, gentlemanly, admired by the female employees.

Mr. Ramsay compliments Maida on her purple dress as she walks in the rain, after she finally gets the dress from the tailor without paying the remaining balance.

Why, Miss Maida, you look simply magnificent in your new dress.