There are many things that draw us to books. We might read by genre, or choose our reads based on writing style, while others may be attracted by stories with a unique sense of place. Recently, here at Willoughby, we've been thinking about characters from across the spectrum of literature and their impact on our reading experience. Love them or loathe them, a well-drawn character can make a good story unforgettable.
With Father's Day fast approaching, we've been discussing the most memorable dads we've read about over the years. Whether good, bad or somewhere in between, these are some of the father figures that have stuck with us over the years!
The Little House on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder
Charles 'Pa' Ingalls was an integral part of all Laura Ingalls Wilder's books, stoically driving his family toward a new life at the end of the their perilous journey west.
While all the Laura Ingalls Wilder books are written from the perspective of a child, Pa is ever present, toiling relentlessly and doing his best to provide little extras such as oyster crackers and a candy cane at Christmas.
The Moomins books and comics by Tove Jansson
Like a typical dad, Moominpapa can fix anything, and is always indulged by the ever-loving Moominmama. He’s always up for an adventure, and when he isn’t, he can be found writing his adventures down to share with his treasured family, or relaxing in his hammock with a nice glass of whiskey.
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
Atticus Finch is a kind and loving father, as well as a lawyer practicing in Maycomb County, Alabama. When he defends a black man accused of raping a white girl he earns the admiration of his daughter Scout. Events teach her the harsh lessons of life, but she finds acceptance in the love of her father Atticus.
Pride & Prejudice by Jane Austen
Mr Bennett, patriarch of the Bennett household and father of five daughters is an intelligent, witty & drily intelligent man who is often driven to exasperation by his wife and more wayward daughters. His favourite daughter is of course Elizabeth, with whom he shares a quick wit. Despite his weaknesses Mr Bennett is a warm, likeable figure in a trying situation.
Matilda by Roald Dahl
A formative father from literature for most of the Willoughby Book Club team, Mr Wormwood is a dishonest and neglectful father who doesn’t understand Matilda’s love for reading and learning, and treats her like a nuisance.
The Darling Buds of May by H E Bates
Pop Larkin, the unflappable head of the Larkin family is described as ‘Larkin by name, Larkin by nature’ He has a big heart, a hatred of pretension and humbug, and will do anything for his six children even if that means breaking a few rules along the way... Pop Larkin was immortalised by David Jason in the Darling Buds of May TV series.
A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens
Bob Cratchit is a kind, mild, hard-working and humble father to Tiny Tim and his other five children.
Underpaid and overworked by Mr Scrooge, he represents the working classes and endures cruelty and harsh conditions. Despite this, Dickens also demonstrates Christian characteristics of compassion and charity through the character of warmhearted and kind Bob Crachit.
The Game of Thrones by George R R Martin
Ned Stark is generally seen as noble, honest and loyal. As a protective & loving father, he strives to instil these qualities in his children. However, the increasing moral compromises he is forced to face weigh heavily on this upright and essentially honorable man.
Fantastic Mr Fox by Roald Dahl
Mr Fox is a charming and dapper rogue, a brave and clever hero but can occasionally neglect the needs of son Ash. He's the kind of resourceful and self assured character that has the charisma to think of a Grand Plan to outsmart farmers...
Harry Potter by J K Rowling
The father to the Weasley family: Bill, Charlie, Percy, Fred George, Ron and Ginny, Arthur Weasley is a really fun and affectionate dad. He loves his work and family, and is happy to be a father figure for Harry too.
Long after the final chapter has been finished and the plotlines are resolved and cast to the backs of our minds, it is often the characters in books that stick with us.
Whether there's a father figure in your life or not, there is something magical about the families we find in our stories. Occasionally, even the books themselves can feel like a part of the family, passed down dog-eared and well-loved, ready for a new reading adventure.
We'd love to know if you have any favourite dads in literature. Who would you add to the list?