Father’s Day is right around the corner. And in celebration of this national day honoring dad, let’s look at a few historic literary fathers and the important roles they play in defining ‘dad’ for all of us.
In American literature, its almost impossible to talk about fathers without acknowledging Atticus, the father in Harper Lee’s classic To Kill a Mockingbird. In a novel centered on the roles society imposes on individuals, Atticus teaches his children to be themselves, and to recognize the importance of making their own choices. Atticus Finch has been a quintessential role model in American literature since the first printing, and his character remains an everlasting example of the ideals a father can strive for.
JK Rowling’s Harry Potter series has no lack of interesting and exciting characters. Arthur Weasley, the father of the Weasley brood, is perhaps not the most memorable of the bunch. Still, he presents a soft spoken but wise, heroic if not boisterous, and completely unflappable father figure. During the lighter moments, Arthur is a fun loving and jovial man, and when things get serious, he sets an example for his children (and Harry of course) to be strong in their convictions and willing to stand up for what they perceive as right.
Bob Cratchit does not have an easy life. As the long suffering clerk for Ebenezer Scrooge in Charles Dicken’s A Christmas Carol, Bob endures his bosses scorn and mood swings with endless optimism. His attitude, always positive, always looking for a bright side, keeps him from succumbing to Scrooge’s misanthropy. And, as we all know, the tale ends with Scrooge realizing the error of his ways, vindicating Bob’s outlook. As an example for his family, Bob Cratchit represents the idealist, the father who unceasingly encourages and promotes. His kindly attitude leads to an incredible bond with his children, in particular Tiny Tim, and demonstrates how a father can be a positive influence despite circumstances.
The father of five daughter’s in Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, Mr. Bennet endures his challenging wife with a reclusive and somewhat distant attitude. But what sets him apart is his love and affection for his daughters. Most notably, putting circumstantial needs and desires behind their happiness. He never allows his own wants to come before theirs, and he continually guides and encourages his daughters to strive for what they want in life. Mr. Bennet is both protector and cheerleader for his children.
The father from the the popular Calvin and Hobbes comic strip penned by Bill Watterson, Calvin’s Dad is the epitome of patience. This father figure provides some sarcastic humor in his interactions with his son, but on the whole he endures Calvin’s antics and imagination by both encouraging his son and giving him the room he needs to explore for himself. Calvin’s Dad is never phased by Calvin’s many questions or sometimes incredible adventures. Despite numerous moments when patience can be seen to stretch thin, Calvin’s Dad remains a perfect example of how a father can support and encourage their children despite the many challenges parenting presents.
All of these fathers serve as examples, as role models for their children and other characters in their stories. Father’s day is an opportunity to acknowledge and appreciate the role fathers play in shaping us, and providing lessons by which we can grow. This father’s day, take a minute to thank all the dads (both real and fictional) for being a part of your story.