June 17, 2012

Father's Day post: best literary(ish) dads

Well, it's Father's Day today, and I won't lie: I briefly humored the idea of writing a very personal post extolling the praises of my own dad and my husband, the father to our totally awesome daughter.

And then I realized: (hopefully) everyone thinks their own father, and the father to their child(ren), are the best dads out there, so why argue?

Instead, I decided to discuss some of my all-time favorite literary(ish) fathers. I took a spin through our book-room, a spin through my memory, and here's who I came up with.


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Best Dad All-Around: Atticus Finch/To Kill a Mockingbird

All right. Admittedly, this one's a bit of a gimme. Atticus is brave, strong, honorable. He's raising two fantastic, brave, strong kids on his own (although it could be argued that Calpurnia is really the one doing a lot of the day-to-day raising). He saves his neighborhood from a rabid dog with one sure shot; he saves his children from the treacherous path of prejudice and racism by taking a stand in the courtroom. He's unable to save Tom Robinson, but we all know how hard he tried. And when Boo Radley saves the lives of his children, he turns around and helps save Boo Radley from the spotlight.


Most Adventurous/Smartest Dad: Mr. Murray/A Wrinkle in Time

Meg and Charles Wallace's father, Mr. Murray, disappears while chasing a scientific dream. That doesn't bode well for his parenting skills, sure, but it does set about the adventure of a lifetime for his two children, plus their friend Calvin (for whom my heart still swoons).  When the children appear out of nowhere to rescue him, he eventually lets them, a sure sign of a father who has faith in his children.  And what more do most children need than to know their parents believe in them?


Dad with the Coolest Way of Coping with Grief: Emilio Rico/ Starship Troopers

When Johnny Rico's father loses everything (his son to the Mobile Infantry, his wife and home to the Bug War), he signs himself up for the Mobile Infantry as well, taking his son's noble example and running with it. They meet up with each other among the stars, a reunion to end all sci-fi reunions, and the love and admiration on both sides are clear.


Funniest Dad: Mr. Bennett/Pride and Prejudice

He mocks his wife and the "silly" younger daughters with a humor that does him credit. He acknowledges their ridiculousness while still doing things (like throwing a huge social event) to humor them. Plus, his adoration for his eldest two daughters is palpable. And then, when push comes to shove, he does everything within his power to save the honor of his youngest, even accepting help from the haughty Mr. Darcy to make sure Lydia will not fall too far from grace.


Most Bad-Ass Dad: Mr. Bennett/Pride and Prejudice and Zombies

For all the reasons listed above, with the addition of being a Zombie-Killing Ninja.


And finally...

Scariest Dads: A Tie: Darth Vader/Star Wars (original trilogy) and Jack Torrance/The Shining

One's destroying the galaxy; the other's destroying an isolated vacation spot. Both cause irrevocable damage to their offspring. I couldn't decide who was scarier, so they both win.


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Happy Father's Day to all you dads out there, most especially my favorite two: Andy and Charles.  

1 comment:

Jen said...

My pick for Most Noble Dad: Mr. Logan / Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry. For teaching his kids about justice, equality, and patience, and for incredible personal sacrifice in breaking up a lynch mob. (I think he and Atticus Finch would get along well.) This is my favorite book ever. I'm buying Zoe a copy when she's old enough for it. xo

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