Sometimes he reminded me of a turtle, hiding inside its shell, in there thinking about things and not ever sticking his head out into the world. (2.14)
The preacher deals with his grief by isolating himself, even from his own daughter. Yeah, the shell might keep him safe—but the whole "hiding out" thing results in him missing out on a whole lot more.
I was lonely in Naomi because I didn't know that many kids […] And none of them wanted to be my friend anyway because they probably thought I'd tell on them to the preacher for every little thing they did wrong. (5.37)
Do you think Opal's right about why kids don't want to be her friend? Based on what we find out later, is she justified in this conclusion? Or is it a silly excuse she's made up because she's scared to leave her comfort zone?
"All my friends, everyone I knew when I was young, they are all dead and gone." (7.23)
Poor Miss Franny. All alone in her library every day, with no one to talk to but the books. Sure, she may have been kind of a loner back in the day, too. But that doesn't make it any easier to lose everyone you love. She would know—it happened to her great-grandfather, and she's got the candy to prove it.
I didn't feel so lonely anymore. (8.38)
It's amazing what a little social gumption can do. Thanks to Opal's bravery, she has a friend, a job, and a party invitation—even if it's just to a six-year-old's "pink" party. Seems like it doesn't really take much to stop feeling so alone.
He cried just like a baby. He missed his mama and he missed his daddy and he missed his sisters and he missed the boy he used to be. (17.1)
This is maybe the saddest kind of loneliness we've every heard: missing your younger self. When Littmus returns from the war, he's changed. He'll never be an innocent little boy again, and part of—okay, a lot of—him wishes that he could.
"It taste sweet. But it also taste like people leaving." (18.8)
Gloria Dump doesn't talk about her specific sorrows, but she's lonely, because people have left her. Have they died? Or did they leave because of the mistakes she commemorates on her mistake tree?
"I ain't a dangerous man," Otis said, "if that's what you're thinking. I'm lonely. But I ain't dangerous." (19.16)
Otis may not be the life of the party, but he doesn't want to be alone. He wants to get out of that store and share his talents with people. But he doesn't know how. (Hint: maybe the bird is freaking people out?) Well, one shaggy dog to the rescue!
Sometimes, it seemed like everyone in the world was lonely. (19.32)
So, is everyone in the world lonely? It's a good question. Because of Winn-Dixie can't exactly answer that—it can only tell us that a few people in Naomi are lonely. But it can tell us that probably everyone would be happier if they spent a little more time connecting.
She looked shy and not as mean as usual. (21.15)
It's just like a magic trick. One nice gesture from Opal, and Amanda softens right up. She may have succeeded in growing prickly thorns around her heart, but inside she was just a cuddly white bunny.
"He misses you and I miss you, but my heart doesn't feel empty anymore. It's full all the way up." (26.2)
Opal is ready to move on from missing her mom. She's got new friends, a loyal dog, and a recipe for dump punch. What else could a girl want?