I was grading student reading blogs today & noticed a pattern for the first time in literature: Where are all of the great literary moms? I ask because there are lots of great literary dads out there (who I am going to write a bit about), but what about the mothers? In fact, without much digging to think about it, I can't really think of any literary moms I particularly like. As a woman, and (hopefully) a future mother, that makes me so very sad! I'm going to keep thinking on this subject and revisit it, and if you can think of a great literary mother I've forgotten, PLEASE comment below!
Now, on to some of my favorite literary dads:
Atticus Finch from To Kill a Mockingbird
I love Atticus. He's patient, kind, treats his children like young adults, and explains things well. These attributes I respect as an educator. In fact, on the days when I feel the end of my rope slipping through my hands, I make sure to channel an inner Atticus to take a deep breath, smile, and say something positive. I also try to channel Atticus to engage curiosity of my students and to explain punishments fully for people who act out. Atticus is one of my favorite literary dads.
Papa from The Book Thief
Papa is quite possibly my favorite literary dad. He's so kind to Liesel, even though he bedwetting phase. He reads to her, teaches her, and lets her have tantrums. He lets Liesel live through her pain, but encourages her to move on from it. He knows what the Nazis are doing is wrong and lives in quiet protest. Papa hides Max because he knows it's the right thing to do, Nazi invasion be damned. Plus, there are few books that made me sob like the ending of The Book Thief. Papa taught me that sometimes fits are necessary to move on and that it's important to do what you believe in, even if it means you might get in trouble. His quiet protests showed me that sometimes doing what you believe is right doesn't have to be showy, it can be simply to save two more lives.
Pa from The Little House on the Prairie series
Pa was my first favorite literary dad. Laura obviously adores him as she grows up and wishes to be a boy to be more like him multiple times. Pa plays music, is a prankster, and treats Ma lovingly. Now, there has been historical evidence to suggest otherwise about Pa, but I'm refusing to ruin a childhood favorite series by acknowledging that. Sometimes fiction is best left alone to stand as fiction.
Now, a common denominator between these literary men. is that they raised strong, spunky daughters. Their girls are tomboys who won't take no for an answer and believe they have just as many rights as men. These girls fight patriarchal society alongside their fathers, even when facing great adversity. My three favorite literary dads obviously push their daughters to be stronger, better women.
But seriously, where are the awesome literary moms?
This post is the final in a series for the Slice of Life writing challenge from Two Writing Teachers. While I didn't participate as fully in the challenge as I would have liked, this challenge provided me the opportunity to write in ways I wouldn't have otherwise. Thank you, Two Writing Teachers, for the push outside my comfort zone.
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Kari teaches English I to 9th graders (!) and other electives in rural Iowa. Her husband is also an English teacher, and their friends have sworn to never help them move again because "even libraries don't have that many books."