Because of Winn-Dixie

by Kate DiCamillo

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What reasons does Miss Franny give for the Civil War in Kate DiCamillo's Because of Winn-Dixie?

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In Chapter 15 of Kate DiCamillo's Because of Winn-Dixie, Opal goes to the library to pick out something to read aloud to Gloria as a nice surprise for her. Not knowing what an elderly woman might like to read, Opal asks Miss Franny, the librarian, for a suggestion, who recommends Gone with the Wind, which she explains is a "wonderful story about the Civil War." Miss Franny continues further to explain the Civil War to Opal and tell about her great-grandfather's involvement in the war.

When Opal says she knows the Civil War was fought over slavery between the North and the South, Miss Franny agrees with her but adds the following interpretation:

Slavery, yes, ... . It was also about states' rights and money. It was a terrible war. (Ch. 15)

In speaking of states' rights, she means that the Southern states had felt it unconstitutional for the Federal Government to interfere with their desire to uphold slavery since the Constitution legitimized separate state governments as well as the Federal Government. In speaking of money, Miss Franny is referring to the fact that slavery was such a central part of the Southern economy that, again, the Southern states did not feel the Federal Government had a right to infringe upon their desires to uphold slavery.

Miss Fanny continues to explain that her great-grandfather fought in the war on the Confederate side. He started fighting at the age of fourteen after the Battle of Fort Sumter. After the war, he returned home to find his house had been burnt to the ground, his sisters and mother had died of typhoid, and his father had died in battle. Wanting to sweeten the world after such a terrible calamity as the Civil War, he got the idea to manufacture his own candy, made with a secret recipe of sweetness and sorrow.

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