Gloria Dump in Because of Winn-Dixie

Instructor: Elizabeth Hance

Elizabeth has taught elementary and middle school special education, and has a master's degree in reading education.

Gloria Dump is a key character in Kate DiCamillo's novel ''Because of Winn-Dixie''. In this lesson you will learn about who she is, the importance of her character, and some of the lessons she teaches Opal (and the reader).

Who is Gloria Dump?

Gloria Dump is another character that Opal meets because of Winn-Dixie! One day when Opal is riding her bike home from the pet store, the Dewberry boys start riding behind her, whispering about her. While she is yelling at the boys, Winn-Dixie takes off running, heading straight for Gloria's house. The Dewberry boys warn that she is a witch, and that Gloria will probably eat Winn-Dixie. Luckily, Opal decides that she cares more about Winn-Dixie than she does about seeing a witch, so she goes after her dog.

As soon as Opal sees Gloria, she decides she doesn't look like a witch. She wears a big hat covered in flowers, and her backyard is full of plants. She makes peanut butter sandwiches for Opal, and shares a spoonful with Winn-Dixie. Gloria can't see much at all, so she instructs Opal to tell her everything about her so that she can see her with her heart. They even plant a 'wait-and-see' tree together in the backyard. Pretty soon, Opal is going to Gloria Dump's house every afternoon after work, sharing stories and, eventually, reading books to her.

Gloria Dump always shares a spoonful of peanut butter with Winn-Dixie.
peanut butter

The Seer

In many classic stories and works of literature, there is a character that has a special gift: they can see the future or are especially wise. Often, that character is blind. They are usually called a seer.

In Because of Winn-Dixie, Gloria Dump's character plays the role of the 'seer'. She is full of wisdom and is often teaching special lessons to Opal. She listens and sees with her heart. With her special wisdom, Gloria helps Opal to understand more about her mother, the Dewberry boys, and how to understand other people.

Important Lessons

One day, Gloria Dump shows Opal a tree in her backyard called the mistake tree. It has empty bottles hanging from all the branches, and they make noise as the wind blows and they clink together. Gloria says that each bottle is for the ghost of something wrong that she has done, and that it helps to keep those ghosts away.

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