Sunday, June 15, 2014

Memorable Fathers in Fiction

I asked our bloggers to think about memorable fictional fathers and here are the dads that have resonated with them over the years. Happy fathers day!

Atticus Finch from Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird has to be one of the best fathers in fiction: an intelligent, principled man fighting to make a better world for his children (Jem and Scout). But my favorite thing about him and part of what makes him such a good dad is his love for reading. He reads the newspaper each day, reads to his children, encourages them to read to others in the community, and even uses reading as a defensive weapon when he protects his black client from a lynch mob by sitting outside his jail cell reading a book. The best fathers understand how important reading to their children is.

Children's books have some of the best fictional fathers. In Charlie and the Chocolate Factory Mr Bucket and the grandfathers all support Charlie and have raised him to be a fine child that the other prize winners were most definitely not. A father that I spend a lot of time with when I was a child was Charles "Pa" Ingalls in the Little House on the Prairie books. A gentle and hardworking man, Pa Ingalls was a dad who could do anything. He was both loving and firm, and never forgot that childhood was a time of fun as well as a time of learning.

Rosemary agrees with both choices and adds: One character that is not a biological father but was a lovely father figure is Matthew Cuthbert of Anne of Green Gables fame. Matthew was shocked when he met Anne at the train station as he was expecting a boy to help out with the farm. A very shy man he was a little afraid of women but warmed up quickly to Anne. Matthew was one of Anne's kindred spirits and he loved Anne with all his heart. He was often the voice of reason when Marilla and Anne's emotions got the best of them.

I think Robert Kirkman shows father-son relationships with special care in The Walking Dead. Imagine trying to be a parent with herds of zombies wandering around. Rick Grimes and Carl Grimes, a father and a son at the zombie infested post-apocalyptic world, have complicated relationships. Rick is smart and is a good father and is a character who emphasizes moral codes and values. He is forced to be a leader of a small group of survivors at the end of the world while looking out for his son and daughter. Carl is learning who he is and matures very quickly. He slowly becomes hardened, due to the constant loss of life around him. At times the losses and dramatic events have driven Rick and Carl apart but despite terrible ordeals they are able to develop a father-son bond.

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