Library Blog

Stand Up for Fathers: Favorite Dads in Literature

Monday, July 3, 2023

This June - the month of Father's Day - we asked readers for their favorite dads or father figures in literature. About forty of you replied. I guess it shouldn't have come as a surprise that nine of those responses named the same fictional hero - Atticus Finch from Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird. And I'm pretty sure that despite many other versions, in our heads he looks like this:

Gregory Peck in the 1962 Robert Mulligan-directed film To Kill a Mockingbird, looking every inch the man of whom you'd say, "Stand up, boy - your father's passing."

Here's Harper Lee's book To Kill a Mockingbird in all kinds of formats (plus Horton Foote's film screenplay).
Here's the recording of Casey Cep's 2021 Library presentation on Furious Hours: Murder, Fraud, and the Last Trial of Harper Lee.

An additional 3 respondents registered the genial patriarch of Jane Austen's Bennet clan as their favorite. Read Austen's Pride and Prejudice in the friendly Modern Library edition of 1995 or in the Norton authoritative text, or check out versions with annotations or based on early texts, with critical context and commentary, or with zombies.

Pride and Prejudice's Mr Bennet played by Edmund Gwenn (1940), Moray Watson (1980), Benjamin Whitrow (1995), and Donald Sutherland (2005). Mr Bennet always has a book.

It was widely pointed out how dominant fathers are in 19th-century British lit - including four mentions of Charles Dickens - for John Jarndyce (Bleak House), Joe Gargery (Great Expectations), Bob Cratchit (A Christmas Carol) - or, as an example of how not to father, Edward Murdstone (David Copperfield).

Other favorite fathers appear in


More recent literature:


Children's and young adult books:

And among less conventional - but still winning - father figures, we have Horton in Horton Hatches the Egg by Dr. Seuss.

Happy reading to all the dads and kids of dads out there -

Roald Dahl's concluding "moral" in Danny, the Champion of the World

Disqus Comments