In the US, the third Sunday of June is set aside to honor fathers. That was yesterday.
I’m lucky in that, for the most part, I’ve only ever had strong male influences in my life. My father is an amazing man (my aunt and grandmother—on my mother’s side—call him Saint Bob). My father-in-law is equally impressive (family members have been known to call him Deacon Ed). My grandfather, my husband’s grandfathers, my uncles… all incredible people. And I would never and could never ask for a better father for my children than my husband.
So, in honor of Father’s Day, I thought we should talk about fictional fathers. (I mean, I could keep bragging about the men in my family, but I doubt you’d want to hear that.)
Here’s a list of five fictional fathers who made a lasting impression on me, good or bad:
- Vito Corelone, The Godfather
Say what you want about the mafia, you won’t find a more family-oriented man than Don Corelone. This is a guy who believed family was the pinnacle of manhood.
Do you spend time with your family? Good. Because a man that doesn’t spend time with his family can never be a real man.
He wanted more for his children than himself, and he provided them with anything they could possibly have wanted. (How he provided for them is another story, and I don’t really want to debate the merits of his choices here.) For better or worse, he was a true family man.
- Arthur Weasley, the Harry Potter series
Arthur Weasley had a whole passel of kids in The Burrow, his quirky and quaint house in Ottery St. Catchpole. If not for magic, I don’t think it would be standing. But it wasn’t the material possessions he provided his family that made him such a noteworthy father; it was the love. Hand-me-down robes and second-hand books might be embarrassing for a fleeting moment, but the love he showed for his kids—and even for Harry, a non-relative who he unofficially adopted as his own—more than made up for the shortage of money. That love transcends the test of time.
“Harry, some within the Ministry would strongly discourage me from divulging what I’m about to reveal to you.
But I think that you need to know the facts.
You are in danger.
That he would risk his job—his family’s security—for the safety of another shows what kind of moral fiber he really had.
- Bob Cratchit, A Christmas Carol
Thinking about Bob lifting Tiny Tim onto his shoulder and carrying him around town always brings tears to my eyes. The poor man knows his son has so little time left, yet he makes every day seem like an adventure and a promise for more.
“Mr. Scrooge!” said Bob; “I’ll give you Mr. Scrooge, the Founder of the Feast!”
“The Founder of the Feast indeed!” cried Mrs Cratchit, reddening. “I wish I had him here. I’d give him a piece of my mind to feast upon, and I hope he’d have a good appetite for it.”
“My dear,” said Bob, “the children. Christmas Day.” . . .
“I’ll drink his health for your sake and the Day’s,” said Mrs. Cratchit, “not for his.”
He endures a dreadful working environment just to give his family the most meager existence, and despite their frustration with the situation, he is the personification of only happiness and love.
- Pa Ingalls, Little House on the Prarie series
Okay, this one isn’t exactly fictional. But it is literary. Charles Phillip Ingalls didn’t have it easy. The poor man had to get his family to the frontier, build them a house, and then make a living for them. He farms, he hunts, and he still plays the fiddle for his little ones. Then he has to pick up and move again! At one point, he even needed to go back east to earn money for the family, living alone and laboring hard just to provide for them.
Ma sighed gently and said, “A whole year gone, Charles.”
But Pa answered cheerfully, “What’s a year amount to? We have all the time in the world.”
He is more than the ultimate provider, he is the consummate optimist, and it was his faith and efforts that helped the family survive.
- Alphonse Frankenstein, Frankenstein
Alphonse Frankenstein is Dr. Victor Frankenstein’s father. He is portrayed as a perfect anthesis to Victor. Where Victor abhorred and feared his “son”, Alphonse loved and indulged his, provided him with wealth, education, and a good name. He is the voice always proclaiming the virtue of family. If only his son had displayed the came compassion, the wrath of the monster may not ever have been released.
Come, Victor; not brooding thoughts of vengeance against the assassin, but with feelings of peace and gentleness, that will heal, instead of festering, the wounds of our minds. Enter the house of mourning, my friend, but with kindness and affection for those who love you, and not with hatred for your enemies.
— Your affectionate and afflicted father,
He is clearly distraught over the events taking place, yet he still endeavors to soothe his son’s distress and implores him to find solace in his family rather than seeking revenge. This is a man who put his family above all.
- Vito Corelone, The Godfather
Okay. These are my five. I have to admit, it was hard to choose, so I know there are more examples out there. Why don’t you share a memorable fictional father in the comments below?
And to all the great dads out there, Happy (belated) Father’s Day!