We live in a society that for some reason values LISTS. My Google search this lovely father’s day morning was for the BEST DADS IN LITERARY FICTION. I had upward of 20,000 links I could have clicked on to. I chose a random 1o, and from those I whittled the names down to the dads who showed up on each list. I must admit, I was impressed – but not really surprised.
1. Atticus Finch, To Kill a Mockinbird. I’ll admit this even though it’s embarrassing, but I don’t know a great deal about Harper Lee’s background. I don’t know if this fictional father was based on her own, someone she knew, or a total compilation of her imagination of what she wanted in a father, but Atticus Finch, for me, is it. If I could have personally ordered a dad from God, this is the man I would have selected. Calm, patient, kind, smart, fair…the descriptors could go on and on, but the aspect of Atticus Finch that I took away from the book was his incredible sense of morality and Godliness. He not only believes all men are equal, he lives and breathes it. He walks the walk, talks the talk, and backs up when he says with his every action. This, this, is the man I would have gladly thanked God for daily, if he were my father.
2. Mr. Bennett, Pride and Prejudice. Some people describe him as a sad-sack, a man married to a harpy who disappears from the world to his solitary library whenever the pressures of his wife, daughters, and life in general get too hard for him. Well, maybe that’s true. But it can not be denied Mr. Bennett loves his daughters and simply adores his second girl Lizzy. My favorite line- hands down-he delivers to Lizzy is this, and it shows how much he truly values her not only as a daughter, but as a woman as well: “I can not believe that anyone can deserve you.” Call him what you will, but the man loves his daughter to no end.
3. Matthew Cuthbert, Anne Of Green Gables. While not exactly, biologically her father, Matthew is the first male during Anne’s formative young life who shows her kindness, acceptance, and ultimately the unconditional love of a “father.” It’s not often you read or hear of a confirmed, lifelong bachelor, set in his ways, who has an orphan thrust upon him and learns how to be a better person for it. As Anne tells him, they are kindred spirits who found each other among all the people in the world.
After writing this, I realized the men listed above all had daughters. (Atticus had a son as well, but the book is Scout’s.)Maybe the reason why I am not surprised these three are top rated is because I am a daughter as well, and what daughter wouldn’t want a father with all the qualities of character these men possess. To be loved unconditionally; to be valued as a person; to be treated with respect and love in equal parts; to be guided through and into life; and to know there is always, always, someone right there who will protect, love and support you, is tantamount to my thought of the perfect person.
On this day we celebrate our fathers, the men who would be dads, and the special men who are as close to being fathers as can get, take a moment and think about what your dad means or meant to you. What qualities made him the man he is(or was) and for what kind of man do you think he would like to be remembered.
And then…call him, talk to him, give him a physical or spiritual hug. But most of all, acknowledge all he has done for you, simply because you are his little girl.