Because of Winn-Dixie

by Kate DiCamillo

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What events in Because of Winn-Dixie seem directly related to the story’s main problem or conflict?

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The most significant events related to the problem and conflicts in the novel are concerned with the dog, Winn-Dixie. The main problem in Because of Winn-Dixie is Opal’s difficulty with accepting her mother’s abandonment. This problem is combined with her adjustment to living in a new town, where she and her father moved so he can pursue his vocation as a preacher. The conflicts around this problem are both internal and external. Both Opal and her father experience internal conflicts as they struggle with accepting their family status; there are related conflicts between daughter and father.

One important early event is Opal’s finding Winn-Dixie and bringing him home; this is closely related to her father’s initial resistance to their adopting the dog. As her father gradually gets used to having him around, Winn-Dixie helps Opal remember things about her mother by repeating them to the dog. Even more important, he helps her make friends which contributes to her fitting in to the town and realizing that there are many different kinds of families. For example, she gets to know Otis through working at the pet store. In the end, when Winn-Dixie gets lost, the traumatic event sparks a serious conversation with her father which helps her accept that her mother will not return.

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