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I’ve compiled a list of extraordinary, albeit imaginary, fathers to celebrate Father’s Day 2022.
Counting down to number one, we start with a grandfather…
Awesome Literary Fathers
Grandfather (from Heidi by Johanna Spyri)
“Grandfather lives in a hut high in the mountains in Switzerland. Neighbors view him as an angry old man who wishes to be left alone. Grandfather is not happy when Dete brings Heidi to him but he warms up to Heidi quickly. Grandfather grows to love Heidi deeply. He does not want Heidi to go to Frankfurt. However, he knows that this is a good opportunity and lets Heidi go. He is thrilled when she eventually returns to his home. Grandfather returns to church with Heidi after many years of not attending.”
Jean Valjean (from Les Misérables by Victor Hugo)
“Jean Valjean is a peasant who ends up spending 19 years in jail for stealing a loaf of bread. When he is released from jail, he is angry and bitter and, as a result, steals silver from a kind bishop. The bishop forgives him and puts him on a righteous path. The hero commits one more minor crime before dedicating himself to a Christian life, but his last theft puts him on the run from the law. Jean Valjean has high native intelligence and prodigious strength and stamina. The first quality helps him become a rich industrialist under an assumed name and also aids him in eluding the police. His strength and stamina help him escape from jail several times and save a young man from the barricades. His kindness and compassion allow him to help many people. His most important act is rescuing the orphan Cosette, who becomes his daughter and brings love into his life for the first time.”
The Man (from The Road by Cormac McCarthy)
“The Man faces an existential crisis throughout the novel. He is driven to survive and especially to keep his son alive in a world where humanity is doomed to die out. But he and the boy suffer constantly from hunger, cold, illness, and other threats. The man knows he and his child may someday be hunted down, tortured, and eaten by cannibals. Amid this grim reality, he regularly asks himself whether he can, or should, kill his son to spare the boy a fate worse than death. He seems far less concerned with preserving his own life. Indeed, he seems set on killing himself if the boy dies. The man thinks of God and religion in ways that suggest he was a religious man before the apocalyptic event transformed the world to a place of chaos and death. In the aftermath of this event, the man struggles with religious uncertainty. He sometimes seems angry at God. His love for his son has a certainty that takes on the quality of religious fervor. Because his son is unusually kind and gentle, the man sometimes suggests that the boy is godlike or even an actual god.”
Pa Joad (from The Grapes of Wrath by John Stienbeck)
“Pa Joad is married to Ma Joad. When the story begins, they are tenant farmers in Oklahoma. He is a physically strong man who is the breadwinner of the family. Early on, Pa is seen as the leader of the family. However, as the story develops, Ma takes on the role of family leader. Although Pa doesn’t like this change, he accepts it. Part of him realizes that Ma is better suited to leading the family during the difficult times they are facing. Pa is persistent in his efforts to aid the family.”
Rhett Butler (from Gone With The Wind by Margret Mitchell)
“Rhett Butler is a gambler, a speculator, and a man who has experienced far more of life than the sheltered—and much younger—Scarlett can imagine. He frankly admires Scarlett from the first time they meet; he enjoys her spirit and finds it refreshing she is passionate and blunt and demonstrates other “unladylike” qualities. Rhett encourages Scarlett to break mourning after her first husband dies, helps her start her own businesses, and eventually proposes to her. However, Scarlett is too focused on Ashley to appreciate Rhett. Rhett is a good husband and father. He does his best to see that Bonnie and Scarlett want for nothing. After their Bonnie dies in an accident, Rhett’s spirit is broken – other than Scarlett, Bonnie was his only real love.”
Walt Longmire (from the Longmire Mysteries series by Craig Johnson)
“Welcome to Walt Longmire’s worst nightmare. In Craig Johnson’s mystery, Depth of Winter, an international hit man and the head of one of the most vicious drug cartels in Mexico has kidnapped Walt’s beloved daughter, Cady, to auction her off to his worst enemies, of which there are many. The American government is of limited help and the Mexican one even less. Walt heads into the one-hundred-and-ten degree heat of the Northern Mexican desert alone, one man against an army to save his only child.”
Eddard “Ned” Stark (from Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin)
“In the face of political tension, intrigue, and injustice, Ned struggles to remain virtuous, and by the end of the book he must reconsider what virtue means to him. He starts to see the importance of moral and practical compromises, though perhaps too late. His name, Stark, is an indication of his incompatibility with such compromises. Something stark is simple, severe, and rigid, like Ned’s initial boundaries between right and wrong. When the book starts he considers duty and justice to be one and the same. But as the story progresses, Ned finds himself in situations where loyalty and duty are at odds with his own sense of virtue, as when Robert demands that Ned consent to having Daenerys Targaryen and her unborn child assassinated. Ned is disgusted with these moral compromises, but by the end of the story he recognizes that politics demands sometimes dishonest acts to achieve a just end. He passed on his sense of moral upstanding to his children and nephew.”
Bob Cratchit (from A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens)
Bob Cratchit is a penniless office clerk who represents the hardworking poor in London. Despite being forced to work in uncomfortable conditions for very little pay, Bob remains loyal to Scrooge, even defending his boss’ stinginess to his family on Christmas Day. Although poor, Bob remains optimistic, loving, and merry. He works hard to support his family, reveling in holiday traditions and family togetherness. He doesn’t let his time at the office taint his precious moments with his loved ones. Everything he does (and puts up with), is all for his family.
Arthur Weasley (from the Harry Potter Series by J.K. Rowling)
“Ron’s father and Mrs. Weasley’s husband. Humble and unassuming, Mr. Weasley is a minor Ministry employee with little standing in the outside world; however, he’s also a devoted father and a trusted mentor to other young wizards, like Harry. Mr. Weasley’s gentle character and strong sense of valor and loyalty make him an emblem of positive family values. He’s a foil to fathers like Uncle Vernon or Lucius Malfoy, whose obsession with status and power pushes their sons in the wrong direction.”
Atticus Finch (from To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee)
“Atticus Finch is a lawyer in Maycomb, Alabama, and the widowed father of Jem and Scout. Atticus is well-respected personally and professionally. He is an honest man with an open heart, a quick and fair mind, and a gentle disposition. At the same time Atticus is strong and focused in everything he does. His levelheadedness and legal training give him a solid backbone and strength of conviction, particularly during Tom’s racially fueled rape case. Neighbor Miss Maudie tells Jem and Scout that Maycomb citizens are paying a great compliment to their father by placing faith in him to do the right thing. Throughout the novel Atticus shows himself capable of living up to that trust.
Atticus Finch is an honorable and well-respected lawyer who believes in doing the right thing.”
Who is your favorite literary dad? Tell me in the comments below.