Because of Winn-Dixie Summary

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  • 0:04 Setting
  • 0:48 Characters
  • 1:56 Plot
  • 3:57 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Audrey Akins

Audrey has more than a decade of experience teaching elementary. She has a bachelor's in journalism and a master's in education.

'Because of Winn-Dixie' is a story involving a group of strangers who eventually become friends with a girl and her dog Winn-Dixie. The story is told through the eyes of the girl.


Because of Winn-Dixie is a story about a lonely girl named Opal who, although she is new to town, somehow makes friends everywhere she goes, beginning with the stray dog she finds at the grocery store and that she names Winn-Dixie. Because of Winn-Dixie takes place in the small town of Naomi, Florida, during the summer. The story begins at the town grocery store, Winn-Dixie. During the story, the main places that the character visits are the Open Arms Baptist Church, Gertrude's Pets, Herman W. Memorial Block Library, and Gloria Dump's house. By the end of the story, Gloria Dump's house changes from being the scary witch house to a place where the people in the small town come together to celebrate.


The characters in this story are introduced progressively as you read from one chapter to the next. It begins with the main character, India Opal Buloni who is simply called Opal. Her father, Mr. Buloni, is a preacher and is referred to as the preacher throughout the story. Opal's mother left her and her dad when Opal was three years old. Early in the book, Opal befriends a stray dog while at the local grocery store, Winn-Dixie. Since this is where she finds him, she names the dog Winn-Dixie. As the story continues, she meets the town librarian, Miss Franny Block. She is older and her family has been connected to the town for generations. Another person Opal meets is Otis. Otis runs the town pet store. He is gentle and enjoys playing music. The last prominent character that she meets is Gloria Dump, who is elderly and lives alone. All of the characters share the commonality of dealing with some type of loss or loneliness. Supporting characters in the story are Amanda Wilkinson, Sweetie Pie Thomas, and two boys who are brothers, Stevie and Dunlap Dewberry.


From the very beginning of the story, Opal is longing for the mother that left her family. Her father deals with the loss by working a lot and not talking about Opal's mother. In the story Opal says, ''It's hard for me to think about him as my daddy because he spends so much time preaching or thinking about preaching or getting ready to preach.'' Over the course of the story, people fill that fatherly void as she gets to know them in the new town she's moved to. Because Winn-Dixie tends to wander off, Opal often has to go look for him, and on these occasions, she meets people in the town. ''Just about everything that happened to me that summer happened because of Winn-Dixie,'' says Opal.

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