Celebrate Fathers Day with Dads in literature

Jun 2024

Life doesn't come with an instruction book; that's why we have fathers.
H. Jackson Brown Jr., Author

In celebration of Father's Day, we're looking to some iconic fathers in literature. 

Who can forget Danny's father, William, in Roald Dahl's Danny the Champion of the World? In Danny's eyes, he is the most wonderful, marvellous man in the world - though it transpires he has some less than legal pastimes in which Danny becomes embroiled in!

Or Harper Lee's, Atticus Finch, in To Kill a Mockingbird? Atticus is an upstanding lawyer who is moral and just. He does his best to pass on these values to his children, Jem and Scout, despite increasing challenges and local pressures. Students studying the Kumon English Programme encounter this classic novel when looking at essay structure in the later critique levels.

Immortalised in film by Robin Williams, Anne Fine's Madame Doubtfire (which features on the Kumon Recommended Reading List) sees a desparate dad disguise himself as a woman in order to be hired as a housekeeper by his estranged wife. This effort to spend more of his time with his precious children after a divorce leads to story which is both hilarious and moving as we see events draw to the inevitable unveiling and subsequent fall-out. This is a hilarious story about one father's desire to be closer to his children.

In Cormac McCarthy's post-apocalyptic The Road, an unnamed man does everything in his power to keep his son alive through all kinds of dangers. As bleak as its backdrop, this novel plots the journey of our two characters in a world turned on its head, neither of the characters are given names and both risk having to make the ultimate sacrifice every day.

Finally, we would be remiss if we didn't mention Jo Gargery in Charles Dickens' Great Expectations. Although actually Pip's brother-in-law, he becomes a surrogate father to Pip and remains steadfast, honourable and kind, even when faced with Pip's rejection, his love is unconditional.

So, we hope you get to celebrate your Dads, Fathers, Daddies, Papas and father-figures on Sunday, because, in the words of Helen Thompson: "Dads are stone skimmers, mud wallowers, water wallopers, ceiling swoopers, shoulder gallopers, upsy-downsy, over-and-through, round-and-about whoosers. Dads are smugglers and secret sharers." And, well, because everyone deserves a 'thank you' from time to time.