It’s Father’s Day and while researching this post I have noticed how lacking literature is when it comes to fathers. Even the “manly” novels don’t seem to pay much respect to the role fathers play in the lives of their children. I did manage to get ten though, but tried to stay away from the famous literary father figures (King Lear, Atticus Finch, etc.) which are always given as examples.
1) In “Little Orphan Annie” Daddy Warbuck’s full name is Lieutenant General Oliver Warbucks
Picture from http://file.vintageadbrowser.com
2) Charlie Brown’s father’s occupation is a barber.
3) It’s a tradition that Mr. Darling and Captain Hook are played by the same actor in the play “Peter Pan”.
4) Jack Torrance, the psychotic father in Steven King’s “The Shining”, is a school teacher by trade.
Special Father/Son picture – the happiness “shines”
5) Babar, King of the Elephants, is first and foremost a father to Pom, Flora, Alexander and Isabelle.
Picture from http://www.terradialtrove.it
6) Charles “Pa” Ingalls, the patriarch of “Little House on the Prairie” series loved to travel and moved his family many times. From Wisconsin, to Indian Territory in southeastern Kansas, then back to Wisconsin, then to southern Minnesota, then for a year to Burr Oak, Iowa, then back to Minnesota. His wife Caroline agreed to one last move, De Smet, South Dakota where the family finally settled for good.
7) For the first half of the book “Little Women”, their father, Mr. March, is serving as a chaplain in the Civil War. Bronson Alcott, the father of author Louisa May Alcott, was said to be as overbearing and had frequent conflicts with his daughter which might explain Mr. March’s ease of attitude and willingness to let his daughters take charge.
8 ) Cormac McCarthy’s “The Road” is, in its heart, a tale of father and son journey and survival. The pair is referred throughout the book as “the father” and “the boy”.
Picture by Dustin Nguyen
9) Tarzan was a grandfather. Tarzan and Jane’s son was named John “Jack” Clayton. Jack’s ape name was Korak. Korak had a son with a woman named Meriem whom he saved from captivity. Their son’s name was Jackie.
Johnny Weissmuler & Johnny Sheffield, in the 1939 movie “Tarzan Finds a Son!”
10) The quintessential dad, one of the few great fathers in American literature, to THE greatest hero, is also one of my favorites. However, in the classic Action Comics #1 he was simply known as a “passing motorist”. By 1939, in Superman #1 the father was still nameless, the mother was known as “Mary Kent”. From their until 1950 the name varies, sometimes it’s “Eben”, sometimes “John”. Finally, in 1950 Adventure Comics #149 came out and the man we all know as Jonathan Kent finally got his rightful name.
Picture by Gary Frank (c) DC Comics
Overall, fathers do not get their rightful place in American literature. Our most beloved characters, from Melville’s Ishmael to Twain’s Huck Finn are of unknown ancestry.
Happy Father’s Day.
Zohar – Man of la Book
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- Father’s Day without a father? (ask.metafilter.com)
- Happy Father’s Day (tsnra.wordpress.com)
- This Father’s Day, Listen to a Bunch of Stories About Bad Fathers (slog.thestranger.com)
- Incorporate Fitness on Father’s Day (fitsugar.com)