Chapter 11 Summary

There is a bad thunderstorm that night. Opal is roused from her sleep by Winn-Dixie, who is whining and banging his head on her bedroom door. She gets out of bed and pets the dog on the head, but he will not be calmed. Winn-Dixie is trembling violently, and Opal is afraid because she does not know what is causing his fear. She kneels down and puts her arms around the dog, but he does not smile or wag his tail. He continues to whine and bang his head on the door. Thinking that he must want to get out of the room, Opal opens the bedroom door, and Winn-Dixie runs with all his might to the other end of the trailer.

Opal fears that the dog will wake her father, so she tries to get control of him, but it is too late. A loud noise comes from the preacher’s room, and Opal knows that Winn-Dixie has jumped on her father’s bed. Winn-Dixie then comes tearing out of the preacher’s room, back to the other end of the trailer. The preacher gets out of bed and questions his daughter, but Opal still does not know what is wrong with Winn-Dixie. Just then, another boom of thunder sounds outside, and Winn-Dixie begins his rampage through the trailer once again. Winn-Dixie jumps onto the preacher, and both of them end up sprawled on the floor.

The preacher asks Opal if she knows about pathological fears, and Opal admits she has never heard of them. The preacher explains that pathological fears are fears that go beyond the normal realm of fear. Yet another boom of thunder sounds outside, and it sends Winn-Dixie running. The preacher reckons that Winn-Dixie has a pathological fear of thunderstorms, and he assures Opal that once the storm is over, the real Winn-Dixie will return.

The storm soon ends, and Winn-Dixie looks at Opal and the preacher as if nothing happened. Father and daughter sit on the couch, and Winn-Dixie creeps up onto the couch with them. The preacher says there are many thunderstorms in Florida during the summer, and Opal fears that her father is going to tell her they cannot keep Winn-Dixie because he is afraid of thunder. However, the preacher puts his arms around the dog and says they must make sure Winn-Dixie does not get outside during a storm lest he run away. Opal feels an enormous love for her father for wanting to keep Winn-Dixie safe.