The narrator is India Opal Buloni, ten-year-old girl; the novel"s perspective is first-person limited

The major conflict is Opal"s journey to battle her loneliness and to overcome her distance from her father and her sadness about her mother having abandoned them. With the help of Winn-Dixie, she must learn to deal with these obstacles and create a fulfilling life for herself in her community.

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Winn-Dixie goes missing after it begins to storm at the garden party. Opal insists that she and her father venture out in the rain to search for the lost dog. During their search, Opal fights with her father. She tells her father that he didn"t try hard enough to make her mother stay. Opal"s father breaks down and cries as he tells Opal that he did try to make her mother stay and that he still loves her but he is grateful that she left him.

The first roll of thunder at the start of the party foreshadows both the storm and Winn-Dixie"s reaction to it.

One of the party guests observes that Winn-Dixie dislikes storms, which is a huge understatement as he is pathologically afraid of them.

Opal alludes to Margaret Mitchell"s novel "Gone With The Wind" when she is inspired to plan her party.

"By then I was deep in the jungle. There was every kind of thing growing everywhere. There were flowers and vegetables and trees and vines."

Opal describes Gloria Dump"s garden as being like a jungle in order to emphasize how large and lush it is. The setting is imbued with a sense of magic, which helps the Dewberry boys" claim that Gloria Dump is a witch. Every reference to Gloria"s house mentions the wild and overgrown nature of her yard.

Opal saves Winn-Dixie from going to the pound, but it is actually Winn-Dixie who rescues Opal and brings her and her father closer together.

There is a parallel between the sadness Amanda feels over the death of her younger brother and the sadness Opal feels over the absence of her mother.

"The whole church was laughing and clapping" actually means that the people inside the church were laughing and clapping. "The church" here is a metonym used to represent all of the congregation members.

On Gloria"s mistake tree, Opal imagines the wine and liquor bottles knocking around in the wind as chattering about the bad things that Gloria has done.

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adjective. If someone"s face is pinched, it looks thin and pale, usually because they are ill or old. Her face was pinched and drawn.