Opal in Because of Winn Dixie

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.

If you ever want to read a book that can take you back to simpler times, this is the story. This story has old-fashioned values and is reminiscent of when people didn't rush through life. In this lesson, we'll take a close look at the main character, India Opal Buloni.

Who is Opal?

Opal and her dog.

India Opal Buloni (who goes by her middle name, Opal) is the ten year-old main character and narrator of the story Because of Winn Dixie. She is a friendly and trusting girl. Her friendly personality is apparent in the way that she creates relationships everywhere she goes in the small Florida town that she and her father move to at the beginning of the story. Throughout the story, from the beginning to the end, she makes a friend at every stop she makes - first a stray dog, then the librarian, the owner of the pet store, and even the scary lady at the end of the block. Opal is forgiving of the flaws of others and has the ability to accept people for who they are, whether they are friendly, peculiar, or even mean.

Her Struggle

All of the main characters in this story are dealing with personal emotional difficulties. Opal is lonely because she yearns for her mother, who left when Opal was three years old. You can tell how much she longs for her, because she often thinks that her mother will be returning any day. This becomes even more difficult for her when she notices that her father never talks about her mother, but she still remains hopeful. In an effort to get over the loss, she befriends many other people (and even a dog!) who can give her the attention she desires.


Opal learns to accept change.

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