Danielle Rockman Because of Winn Dixie by Katie DiCamillo Newbery Honor 2001
Katie DiCamillo's fictional Because of Winn Dixie is about ten-year-old girl, Opal
Buloni, and her father, a preacher, who move to a trailer park in Naomi, Florida. Missing home,
her friends, and her mother quite terribly, adjustment to life in Naomi was not easy. In the
supermarket one day, the lonely Opal finds a stray, shaggy looking, misbehaved dog, Winn-
Dixie, whom she claims is hers, and eventually, convinces her father to her keep him. The love
Opal provided the mutt with was requited, and consequently, Opal's summer changed for the
better. Due to Winn-Dixie's loyalty and affection, Opal meets a few other lonely people from
town. With her new friend Gloria Dump, Opal plans a small get-together. All are having a great
time when suddenly, a thunderstorm comes, which terrifies Winn-Dixie, who then goes missing.
An anxious Opal and her father look for Winn-Dixie everywhere. When they cannot find him,
Opal has a meltdown and feels as though she has been abandoned yet again (first by her mother).
Eventually, Winn-Dixie is found hiding under Opal's bed. As a result of the fiasco, and despite
the pain and sadness she experienced in order to get to this new place in her life, Opal learns
many important lessons and realizes that there is, in fact, a lot of love and happiness in her life.
Throughout the story, DiCamillo uses figurative language, such alliteration, imagery, and
metaphors, both aiding the reader in imagining scenes from the story and drawing them into it.
When Winn-Dixie goes missing after the big thunderstorm, Opal and the preacher go on a f
search to find him. The author could have very easily written this scene with very little
description, however, she writes using alliteration and other words that can help the reader to
picture what was really taking place: "I took hold of his hand, and we started walking back into
town, calling and whistling for Winn-Dixie" (168). This one simple sentence allows readers to
picture Opal and her father coming together to search for their beloved member of the family.
Additionally, there may be some readers who have experienced looking for a lost dog, and this
scene can help readers feel as though they can relate and as though there is someone else who
understands how upsetting, scary, and sad having a lost pet can be.
The use of metaphors is also present in Because of Winn-Dixie. For example, when Opal
tells her father that had found Winn-Dixie in the supermarket, she describes the preacher as
someone who has the personality of a turtle. Opal says, "I stared at the preacher really hard.
Sometimes he reminded me of a turtle hiding inside its shell, in there thinking about things and
not ever sticking his...