How did the War affect Miss Franny Block's great-grandfather in Because of Winn-Dixie?

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dymatsuoka | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

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Miss Franny Block's great-grandfather, Littmus W. Block, was only a boy when he fought in the Civil War.  He discovered the truth "that war is hell", and came home "a changed man".

Littmus was only fourteen when the first battle of the war occurred, but he was determined to enlist.  His father was already serving in the Confederacy, and Littmus, who was "strong and big", lied about his age and was accepted also.  Miss Franny explains his insatiable desire to fight, saying,

"Men and boys...are always looking for a reason to go to war.  It is the saddest thing.  They have this abiding notion that war is fun.  No history lesson will convince them differently".

Littmus Block "went off to be a hero...but he soon found out the truth...about war".  He was

"...hungry all the time.  And he was covered with all manner of vermin...and in the winter, he was so cold...and in the summer...there's nothing worse than war in the summertime...and the only thing that made Littmus forget that he was hungry and itchy and hot or cold was that he was getting shot at...quite a bit...and he was nothing more than a child". 

When Littmus Block finally returned home, he found that "there was no home there".  The Yankees had burned his house to the ground, his mother and sisters had died of typhoid fever, and his father had died on the battlefield (Chapter 16). 

Littmus had lost everything that he had loved because of the war, and "he missed his mama and he missed his daddy and he missed his sisters and he missed the boy he used to be".  Littmus Block decided then and there that "the world was a sorry affair and that it had enought ugly things in it and what he was going to do was concentrate on putting something sweet in it".  He started a candy factory and invented the Littmus lozenge, a special hard candy, sweet, with just a touch of sadness in it (Chapter 17).

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