Gloria Dump’s “mistake tree” encapsulates the novel’s insistence that it’s important to learn from one’s past mistakes. In Gloria’s younger years, she was an alcoholic. She tied alcohol bottles that she emptied through the course of her alcoholism to a tree in her yard in order to, as she tells Opal, “keep the ghosts away”—that is, to keep her sober and to remind her of all the lessons she learned while she was drinking. With this, the novel insists that people cannot simply gloss over the embarrassing or imperfect parts of their lives. It’s essential to try to find lessons in one’s past experiences and follow them going forward. Even more than that, though, Because of Winn-Dixie suggests that it’s also important to pass these lessons onto others wherever possible. Gloria does this by sharing the idea behind her mistake tree with Opal, which helps Opal become more understanding of her own Mama’s alcoholism—and ultimately, to understand that Mama isn’t coming back.

You are watching: Because of winn dixie bottle tree


The Because of Winn-Dixie quotes below all refer to the symbol of The Mistake Tree. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
*

).Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Candlewick Press edition of Because of Winn-Dixie published in 2000.

“Why are all those bottles on it?”

“To keep the ghosts away,” Gloria said.

“What ghosts?”

“The ghosts of all the things I done wrong.”

I looked at all the bottles on the tree. “You did that many things wrong?” I asked her.

“Mmmm-hmmm,” said Gloria. “More than that.”

“But you’re the nicest person I know,” I told her.

See more: How Long Do Pine Trees Take To Grow Each Year? How Fast Do Pine Trees Grow

“Doesn’t mean I haven’t done bad things,” she said.


Related Characters:India Opal Buloni (speaker), Gloria Dump (speaker), Otis
Related Symbols:The Mistake Tree
Related Themes:
*



*

*

Related Symbols:The Mistake Tree

*


Explanation and Analysis:
*