We are just putting our own celebrations for our Dads on hold and will raise a glass to those in the literary world who we can only admire as fictional fathers. Although most books feature a doting mother, we can’t help but nod to those amazing Dads and father figures we have all grown to love.
1. Atticus Finch (To Kill a Mockingbird)
The absolute acme of model fathership. Atticus Finch has moral fibre, is dignified, brave, loyal and kind – traits that any child would love to see in their dad. Atticus is brought to life by Gregory Peck in the big screen adaptation, but it’s Harper Lee’s mesmeric depiction of Atticus in her novel – not least his numerous quotes to live by, chief among them: “You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view – until you climb into his skin and walk around in it” – that really shines brightest.
2. Bob Cratchit (A Christmas Carol)
Is Bob Cratchit an inadequate and feeble man? Or a distinguished character merely doing his best for his family in extremely trying circumstances? Sentimental lovers to the core, we prefer the latter. His bond with his children, notably the crippled Tiny Tim, is one that all fathers would do well to emulate.
3. Arthur Weasley (Harry Potter)
Arthur Weasley might come across as a less than domineering alpha male – he leaves the patriarchal side of duties to his wife Molly – but his zest for life and jokey demeanour serve his seven children well.
4. Jean Valjean (Les Miserables)
Jean Valjean was not a biological father to Cosette, but his actions demonstrate that it took more than just fathering a child to be a real dad. Valjean is a man of virtue and morals – his kind actions continuously put him in peril, but he never shies away from doing the right thing. Cosette couldn’t have wished for a more caring guardian.
5. Thomas Schell (Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close)
Thomas Schell dies in the 9/11 World Trade Center attack before the events of Jonathan Safran Foer’s acclaimed novel. However, his memory lives on in his doting son Oskar. It soon becomes clear that the pair’s relationship was a fun and loving one, with Thomas treating Oskar with respect and devotion. No one wants to live without their child or father, but living, and loving, in the here and now, will allow for wonderful memories should the worst happen.
Do you have a favourite literary Dad? If so, tell us in the comments below.