Because of Winn-Dixie

by Kate DiCamillo

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How does Because of Winn-Dixie end?

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Because of Winn-Dixie by Kate DiCamillo tells the story of Opal Buloni, a ten-year-old girl who struggles to get adjusted to her new home in Watley, Florida, after her father (a preacher) moves the family there.

Opal finds her first Floridian friend in the form of Winn-Dixie—a stray mutt whom she meets after he creates chaos in the local Winn-Dixie grocery store. It is through this unlikely canine hero that Opal manages to start meeting the folks around town: Otis, Miss Franny, Gloria Dump, and so on. Still, nothing can quite fill the hole in Opal's heart left by her mother, who abandoned the family when Opal was young.

Tragedy strikes when a thunderstorm interrupts a party thrown by Opal and Gloria. The partygoers attempt to rescue the sandwiches and punch. Meanwhile, terrified of the stormy weather, Winn-Dixie goes missing. This devastates Opal. Gloria attempts to comfort her by telling her that you cannot make something you love stay if it wants to leave, but Opal takes off to look for Winn-Dixie anyway.

When Opal's dad wants her to give up looking for the dog, this sends Opal off the deep end. She yells at her father for always wanting to give up and accuses him of failing to look for her absentee mother. This sudden vulnerability and anger leads to a profound interaction between the two, in which Opal's father cries over his former wife and Opal offers up the same advice about love to her dad that Gloria had given to her.

The book concludes triumphantly when Winn-Dixie is revealed to have been hiding under the bed inside the house the whole time. The party resumes, but Opal takes a moment to herself and walks out into the yard. There, she speaks aloud to her long-gone mother, telling her that while she misses her still, her heart is now filled. Once she is satisfied with the conversation, she returns to the house and listens to her friends sing. At last, she feels at home.

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Because of Winn-Dixie is one of those great stories that has a truly happy ending. After Opal and her father move to Florida in the aftermath of her mother walking out on the family, Opal is lonely and miserable. Soon, however, she adopts a dog called Winn-Dixie, and after some initial skepticism, her father allows her to keep the dog.

Thanks to having Winn-Dixie in her life, Opal gets the confidence and the opportunity to make some non-canine friends in her new town. As the book draws near its conclusion, Opal is at a party that she has thrown for her new friends, and a thunderstorm starts. In the chaos of the storm and the party, she forgets that Winn-Dixie is scared of storms, and then she can’t find him.

While all this is going on, Opal finally decides to open up to her father about how she felt about her mother’s disappearance. She admits to her father that she has been angry with him for not making her mother stay. After a long talk, she realizes that her mother’s departure was not her father’s fault and that he truly loves her. The best part of all is that after a long, fruitless search, they discover that Winn-Dixie was at home in the kitchen all along.

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The novel, Because of Winn-Dixie, ends on a very happy, positive note. At the opening of the book, Opal moves with her father, the Preacher, to Naomi, Florida. She has no friends. Sadly enough, her mother also had left her and her father. Opal feels lonely and abandoned. However as the story progresses, Opal adopts the dog, Winn-Dixie. She also makes friends in the town. However, deep down, Opal blames her father for her mother leaving the family.

At the end of the story, Opal decides to throw a party and invite her new friends and the Preacher. Unfortunately, a storm occurs, and Opal thinks she has lost Winn-Dixie because he is terrified of storms and has run away. Opal and the Preacher search for the dog. When they can't find Winn-Dixie, Opal lets her father know how she feels about losing her mom and how she thinks her dad is to blame. The Preacher explains that he couldn't make her mother stay with them. Finally, she and the Preacher cry and hug. Opal has learned a life long lesson about love and loss and understands that her mother will never come back. She also understands it is not her father's fault and that he loves her more than anything in the world. When they go back to the party, Opal discovers that Winn-Dixie didn't run away.

Opal learns about love and family all because of Winn-Dixie

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At the end of the story, Opal and Gloria throw a party.  At first, the party is outside, but when it starts to thunderstorm, they all have to go in.  Opal panics because she can't find her dog, Winn Dixie.  Opal is worried because Winn Dixie doesn't like storms.  However, Winn Dixie is finally found and the story ends happily.

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