Fatherhood is one of the high points of a man’s life. Along with the unrequited joy one experiences, it also entails a large responsibility on one’s shoulders. In front of his children is when a man is vulnerable, devoid of all the faces that he shows to the outside world and in the true sense of the word, honest. With Fathers Day coming up, we decided to look back at some of the iconic father figures in literary history. The list we came up with was truly inspirational.
Hans Hubermann from ‘The Book Thief’
Influenced by his parent’s tales, Zusak sets his novel in Nazi Germany and brings out an exemplary father figure in Hans Hubermann. Liesel, the protagonist in the novel moves in with Hans and Rosa Hubermann who become her foster parents.
While Rosa treated her foster daughter in gruff, uncharitable and all-round uncompromising manner, Hans presented a stark contrast to this. When he realizes that Rosa cannot read, he starts “midnight classes,” where he teaches her to read the alphabet. Unfazed by her slow progress, he remains patient. Numerous similar acts of kindness followed.
Hans presents a stabilizing influence in Liesel’s life that allows the nine year old to cope with the adverse conditions prevalent in the society of the time. Positive and understanding Hans Hubermann’s character is the portrait of an ideal father.
Atticus Finch from ‘To Kill a Mocking Bird’
Atticus Finch through his words and actions represents the virtues of a man of incredible character. An idealist in thought and action, he follows through whatever he believes in, in particular we can see that in his espousal of racial equality when he represents Tom Robinson, who is a black man accused of rape.
As a father, he tries to bring out the best in his children. He treats them as equals, and teaches them important life lessons that I believe are the quintessential features of any father figure. In the absence of their mother, he led by example, and promoted what is right and not what is popular. In doing so, his children respect him and aimed to emulate him.
Mr. Bennett from ‘Pride and Prejudice’
Mr. Bennett presents a contrasting view in terms of his behavior. While aloof in general, he dotes on his five daughters and loves them unequivocally, and has their best interests at heart. These feelings are strongest towards Elizabeth. In terms of his realism, and abstraction, she has inherited much. He often advises his daughter, notably asking her to reconsider her decision to marry someone she doesn’t love.
At the end of the book, the tremendous influence of the character is revealed when she confides in him of her love for Mr. Darcy. He in turn supports her in her decision as he truly believes that it is in her best interest.
Arthur Weasley from the Harry Potter series
The father of Harry’s best friend Ron Weasley, Arthur is not a rich man but has a heart of gold. The father of 7 children, he tried to provide the best for his family. Not limiting in terms of love, Harry is a member of his family and often provided sane and sound advice to his boys in times of peril. He embodies the spirit that writer JK Rowling considers an ideal in parents of today.
Jean Valjean from ‘Les Miserables’
On adopting the orphan Cosette, Dumas’ tragic hero Valjean learns the value of love and caring. He transforms a young girl of limited means and adverse circumstances into an upstanding woman of independent thought.
Valjean’s relationship with Cosette symbolizes the ability of a person to change despite their circumstances. On having rescued a frail Cosette who is regularly beaten, starved and traumatized by her caretakers the Thenardiers, he not only gives the girl a new life but also grows as a human.
So, how do you plan to make the day special for your father?