Because of Winn-Dixie

by Kate DiCamillo

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Chapter 24 Summary

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Opal and the preacher walk the streets and call Winn-Dixie’s name. Opal is glad it is raining so heavily because the noise drowns her crying. Even though they call his name loudly, Winn-Dixie does not appear. Opal and the preacher walk all around town: they go downtown, they walk past the Dewberrys’ house, the library, Sweetie Pie’s house, and Gertrude’s Pets. Opal and the preacher go back to their trailer park and search for Winn-Dixie, but he is not there either. Then they walk to the church and out past the railroad tracks. Opal and the preacher eventually find themselves on Highway 50, where cars rush past them. Opal fears that Winn-Dixie may have gotten run over, but the preacher tells her that they cannot worry about what might have happened and that they must keep looking for the dog.

As they search, Opal thinks about ten things that she knows about Winn-Dixie just in case she has to write a poster to tell other people about him. The first thing is that Winn-Dixie has a pathological fear of thunderstorms; the second is that the dog likes to smile. Third, Winn-Dixie can run fast; fourth, he snores when he sleeps. Five is that he can catch mice without hurting them, and six is that Winn-Dixie likes to meet new people. Seventh, he likes to eat peanut butter, and eighth, he does not like to be left alone. Ninth, Winn-Dixie likes to sit on the couch and sleep in Opal’s bed, and tenth, he does not mind going to church. Opal goes over this list in her head and memorizes it the same way she memorized the list about her mother. Opal figures that if she memorizes the list, then she will have something to hold on to if she cannot find Winn-Dixie. But then Opal thinks that the simple list does not even begin to characterize Winn-Dixie, and she realizes that the list she has memorized about her mother must not really characterize her either. Thinking about this makes Opal cry even more.

Opal and the preacher search for a long time, and then the preacher says they have to quit. Opal says they cannot leave Winn-Dixie out in the open, but the preacher insists that they have done all the looking they are able to do. Opal criticizes her father for wanting to give up the search, and the preacher tells her not to argue with him. By this time, the rain has gotten softer, and the preacher wants to head back to Gloria’s house. Opal screams that the preacher always gives up, just like he gave up on her mother. The preacher then cries and says he misses Opal’s mother and that he did not want her to go but he could not stop her. Then he says that he loves Winn-Dixie too. Father and daughter embrace, and Opal asks her father if he thinks her mother will ever come back. The preacher says that although he has dreamed of that day, he does not think she will return. Opal is sad and does not want to let Winn-Dixie go too. The preacher says he is glad she has her father. Hand in hand, they walk back into town calling for Winn-Dixie.

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