Happy Father’s Day to all those fathers out there!
Since my own father passed away six years ago, this day is rather bittersweet. Bitter in the fact that I miss him more than ever on days like this, but sweet because I love thinking of all the wonderful qualities he had as a father (I also make it a point to watch his favorite movies, drink Guinness, and eat double fudge brownies, which all help making it sweet). My dad also instilled my love for fiction, especially my love for Tolkien and C.S. Lewis, and the older I get the more I find out that his favorite authors and books are quickly becoming my own as well.
It’s usually difficult to find excellent father’s in literature, but there are a few who stick out to me as exceptional.
1.Jean Valjean, Les Miserables
OK, I may or may not be watching Les Mis while writing this, but regardless Jean ValJean is definitely a badass father figure. First of all, he is initially jailed for taking care of his sister and her children, which shows he is completely selfless when it comes to his family. Secondly, he risks going back to jail or killed to save Cosette, and thirdly, he devotes the rest of his life caring for Cosette and ultimately gives up his life for her continued happiness (oh and saves her boy from getting killed in the barricades)…he’s a badass and needs to be forever praised.
2. Atticus Finch, To Kill a Mockingbird
He may be one of the best known father’s in literature, and rightly so. Atticus Finch shows the power of mind and virtue, and he instills in on his children. He leads by example and by word. He is a strict parent, but he answers disobedience with discipline, not anger. He allows his children to make their own discussions, but makes sure they understand the consequences that come with their choices. He really is a powerful father and is a great example on how to raise honorable children.
3. Hans Hubermann, The Book Thief
I sincerely believe that Liesel, the protagonist of The Book Thief, would have lost all hope and joy had it not been for her adoptive father, Hans. He not only taught her to read, which became her favorite activity, but he also showed her more kindness than anyone ever had. In a world full of hatred, he was a shining light, and is a constant source of positive encouragement for Liesel.
4. Matthew Cuthbert, Anne of Green Gables
Similar to Hans Hubermann, Matthew Cuthbert is a source of pure kindness. He is a gentle, quiet soul who, oddly enough, is exactly what the spirited young orphan girl needed when she had no one else to turn to. He takes Anne under his wing and while he never tries to change her, he offers her a stable arm to lean on, something she had never before experienced.
5. Mr. Bennett, Pride and Prejudice
Does he have a name? I honestly don’t remember. Anyway, he is a great father, especially considering the fact that he only had daughters, and an over-the-top wife…it must have been challenging to be outnumbered all the time! I really feel bad for him ;). He seemed to understand the women in his household more than they understood themselves. He was consistently patient, understanding and is always there to offer sound judgement, all while maintaining a touch of humor in his attitude.
Guido, Life is Beautiful (Original title, La Vita e Bella)
If you have not watched this movie, you really need to put it at the top of your watch list. It is the most tragically beautiful story of a Jewish family in WWII. The mother and the boy are lovely and charming, but what really makes this story memorable it the father. He is spectacular. I don’t want to spoil it for any of you who haven’t seen it, because you really really should watch it. I weep like a child when I watch it and it never fails to move me.
What father’s in literature would go on your list? Happy Friday and again Happy Father’s Day to all you dads!