Literature is the perfect place to turn to for quotes about fathers and fatherhood, because books are a lot like dads. Wait — go with me here. Like many of the dads in the world, books are full of wisdom and kind words of advice. Both are there for you in the middle of the night when you can't fall asleep, and getting wrapped up in a good book is just like being wrapped up in your dad's bear hug. There are few things as comforting, reliable, or lovable as a good book or a great dad. (See? Told you I was on to something.)
Books have also shown us the wide spectrum that fathers can fall on. Although there are plenty of awful fathers easily found in the pages of books — Jack Torrance and King Lear come to mind — not all fathers are neglectful, murderous, and manipulating, promise. Literature has given us some of the world's best dads, like Atticus Finch and Mr. Bennet, who are loving, supportive, and just. They are the dads who teach you right from wrong, the ones who support even your toughest decisions, and love you unconditionally. They are the dads who you will remember, even after you close the book, and whose words will stay with you.
So in honor of Father's Day, here are 11 literary quotes celebrating the best kinds of dads:
1. “It was times like these when I thought my father, who hated guns and had never been to any wars, was the bravest man who ever lived.”
—Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird
2. “He promised us that everything would be okay. I was a child, but I knew that everything would not be okay. That did not make my father a liar. It made him my father.”
—Jonathan Safran Foer, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close
3. “There’s no shame in fear, my father told me, what matters is how we face it.”
―George R.R. Martin, A Clash of Kings
4. “Papa, you saved me. You taught me to read.”
– Markus Zusak, The Book Thief
5. "[...] never could I expect to be so truly beloved and important; so always first and always right in any man's eyes as I am in my father's."
—Jane Austen, Emma
6. "I understand more and more how true Daddy's words were when he said: 'All children must look after their own upbringing.' Parents can only give good advice or put them on the right paths, but the final forming of a person's character lies in their own hands.”
―Anne Frank, Diary of a Young Girl
7. “It's a funny thing about mothers and fathers. Even when their own child is the most disgusting little blister you could ever imagine, they still think that he or she is wonderful.”
—Roald Dahl, Matilda
8. "You have been so careful of me that I never had a child's heart. You have trained me so well that I never dreamed a child's dream. You have dealt so wisely with me, Father, from my cradle to this hour, that I never had a child's belief or a child's fear."
—Charles Dickens, Hard Times
9. “I suddenly remember being very little and being embraced by my father. I would try to put my arms around my father's waist, hug him back. I could never reach the whole way around the equator of his body; he was that much larger than life. Then one day, I could do it. I held him, instead of him holding me, and all I wanted at that moment was to have it back the other way.”
―Jodi Picoult, Vanishing Acts
10. "I've made it my business to observe fathers and daughters. And I've seen some incredible, beautiful things. Like the little girl who's not very cute — her teeth are funny, and her hair doesn't grow right, and she's got on thick glasses — but her father holds her hand and walks with her like she's a tiny angel that no one can touch."
—Adriana Trigiani, Big Stone Gap
11. "...the man before him was not an aging father but a boy, a boy much like himself, a boy who grew up and had a child of his own and, as best he could, out of a sense of duty and, perhaps love, adopted a role called Being a Father so that his child would have something mythical and infinitely important: a Protector, who would keep a lid on all the chaotic and catastrophic possibilities of life."
—Tom Wolfe, The Bonfire of the Vanities
Images: Damián Bakarcic, Frank Lindecke, Kristina Alexanderson, photosavvy, Photographer No. 9, DVIDSHUB,Chris Goldberg, Nationaal Archief, Racchio, Kourtland Lott, Aaron Gilson,Claus Tom Christensen, Chris Price, Valentina Mabilia/Flickr