Study Guide

Because of Winn-Dixie Friendship

By Kate DiCamillo


"We could be friends," I said to Miss Franny. "I mean you and me and Winn-Dixie, we could all be friends."

Miss Franny smiled even bigger. "Why, that would be grand," she said, "just grand." (7.29-30)

You know what? Deep down, old people and kids really aren't that different. They may even have a lot to teach each other. And in this case, it's the kid who starts the friendship. That's our girl.

Because I had been waiting for a long time to tell some person everything about me, I did. (9.40)

We love people who make us feel even cooler than Madonna, Taylor Swift, and that Bieber kid all wrapped into one. Gloria is that kind of person. So is Winn-Dixie (except for the "person" part).

"Some people have a strange way of going about making friends," he said. "You apologize." (18.44)

Aw, shoot. Shouldn't it be the other way around? Is the preacher doing this for Opal's sake or his own? He is a preacher, after all, so his kid should set an example. (We like the preacher, so we're going to give him the benefit of the doubt here.)

"I didn't do it for the money. I did it because the music is better if someone is listening to it." (19.22)

Ain't that the truth? Like Kit-Kats, much of life is better when shared with someone else.

"Thank you most of all for friends. We appreciate the complicated and wonderful gifts you give us in each other." (22.16)

Friendship is complicated. It's like a Rubik's Cube mixed with chess and flavored with Tetris. That's because it involves understanding, forgiving, and sacrificing. Yet it also brings great joy. Whew! We're exhausted just writing about it.

I grabbed Gloria Dump's arm.
"I'm all right," she said. But she put her hand on my arm and held on to me tight. (23.4-5)

Gloria never asks for help, and she is the one who listens and helps Opal, rather than the other way around. But deep down, Gloria needs friendship and help just as much as anyone else does. Opal sees that. She wants to hold tight to both Opal's arm and her friendship.

It made me sad, him standing on Gloria's porch, his bald head glowing. Dunlap saw me looking, and he raised up his hand and waved to me. I didn't wave back. (23.34)

Why does it make Opal sad to see Dunlap standing on the porch? Does she feel bad about making fun of him? Is she just sad about Winn-Dixie? Is she sad because he's got an alien-shaped head? And if it makes her sad, why doesn't she wave back without being forced to?

"I told you she wasn't a witch."

"I know it," he said. "I knew it all along. I was just teasing you." (26.9-10)

Stupid little boys. Who ever told them that teasing = friendship? And yet we see it all the time—and not just with kids, either. Playful teasing is one way that friends can show they care about each other.

He held out his hand to help me up. And I took it. I let him pull me to my feet. (26.14)

Yeah! Friends at last. Not only is Opal willing to apologize to the pesky boys, she accepts their help. That's humility. And while we're at it, good for Dunlap! There's a right chivalrous young man beneath that bald shiny head.

I went up on the porch and took hold of her hand and pulled on her. "Come on," I said, "let's go inside." (26.20)

Even when others tease Amanda, Opal includes her. She seems to have a sixth sense for people who need some extra love. Think about all the times in the story when she reaches out to someone who needs her. Some of those times were because she was told to, but many more came from her own loving heart. That's our girl.

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