Sunday, June 21, 2009

Sunday Salon

We had a lovely Father's Day here--it really started last night when my parents came in and we went to a local mall where they have live music every Saturday evening. We ate our way through the rest of the evening and clear through noon today. Both of the dads enjoyed their gifts--which included books, of course!

In honor of Father's Day, I thought it would be fun to take a look at fathers in literature. Perhaps the most tragic father in literature is Shakespeare's King Lear, whose pride causes his downfall. Atticus Finch, of To Kill A Mockingbird, set the bar for quiet heroism and teaching by example. In George Eliot's Silas Marner, life changes entirely for embittered Silas when he becomes a surragate father. Geraldine Brooks and Louisa May Alcott both wrote about the same father but from two very different points of view in March and Little Women. John Ames is writing his legacy to his young son in Marilynne Robinson's Gilead, telling the boy about not just his own life but that of his father and his grandfather.

Who do you think were the most memorable fathers in literature? Who suffered the greatest failure? Who was your favorite?


  1. The cover I posted for Anyone But You is really old - I have the copy from when it first came out. They recently re-released it in hardcover and mass market, I think it's yellow with a cute puppy on the front - a BIG improvement!

    I was trying to think of some literary fathers that I thought had some effect on me, but I couldn't think of any - maybe I don't read enough books with important father roles in them! I did think of "Roots" by Alex Haley though, which seems important since it's a history of a family through the male lineage. It's a really remarkable book.

  2. Sarah, there are some great fathers in Roots!


  3. Great list of fathers in literature! I can't think of any to add.