Words to Live By from Fiction’s Greatest Father (IMHO)

Yesterday was Father’s Day. In honor, today’s post was to be a commentary on several of my favorite fictional fathers. I mulled it over for some time before deciding to do a post on my most favorite fictional father, and what he represents, not only as a father but also as a human, using his own words. His words are timeless, full of truth, and well…far surpass any of my own in both wisdom and eloquence.


I fear my choice is a bit cliché, but I cannot help it. I am a Southerner—Alabama-born—and my favorite fictional father is the epitome of the true Southern gentleman. The book in which he lives was the work of an Alabama-born author, and it has been said that the man and father so beautifully drawn in her book was inspired by her own father. So perhaps in some ways, my choice isn’t all that fictional. Quite moving to consider.


I’ll start the list of what this character represents by saying: Lucky, lucky Jem and Scout Finch. They have a father who loves them, guides them, chides them when he must. Most importantly, they have a father who leads by example.


Atticus (Gregory Peck), Jem (Phillip Alford) and Scout (Mary Badham) Finch in To Kill A Mockingbird (1962)

Atticus (Gregory Peck), Jem (Phillip Alford) and Scout (Mary Badham) Finch in To Kill A Mockingbird (1962)



And lucky, lucky Harper Lee. She must have had the same.


Amasa Coleman (A.C.) Lee

Amasa Coleman (A.C.) Lee


Fictional or no, Atticus Finch or Amasa Coleman Lee, you don’t have to be a father to follow their example.



You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view. …until you climb inside his skin and walk around in it.”—Atticus Finch, To Kill a Mockingbird

(If I had to choose one line in all of To Kill a Mockingbird as my all-time favorite, it would be this one.)



 “I wanted you to see what real courage, instead of getting the idea that courage is a man with a gun in his hand. It’s knowing you’re licked before you begin but you begin anyway, and you see it through no matter what.”—Atticus Finch, To Kill a Mockingbird



 “But there is one way in this country in which all men are created equal- there is one human institution that makes a pauper the equal of a Rockefeller, the stupid man the equal of an Einstein, and the ignorant man the equal of any college president. That institution gentlemen, is a court. It can be the Supreme Court of the United States or the humblest JP court in the land, or this honourable court which you serve. Our courts have their faults as does any human institution, but in this country our courts are the great levelers, and in our courts all men are created equal.”– Atticus Finch, To Kill a Mockingbird

(This quote represents Atticus’s opinion, but his words are, to me, idealistic–the way things should be. Reality is all too often the opposite. Even the book’s reality is opposite. Atticus’s words are disproved in Tom Robinson’s case. However, his thoughts on what our judicial system should be are inspiring. Now if we could just get there…)



 “Best way to clear the air is to have it all out in the open.”—Atticus Finch, To Kill a Mockingbird



 “…before I can live with other folks I’ve got to live with myself. The one thing that doesn’t abide by majority rule is a person’s conscience.”—Atticus Finch, To Kill a Mockingbird


Who is your favorite fictional father? Your favorite quote? Feel free to comment and share.



Laura Golden is the author of EVERY DAY AFTER, a middle grade novel about a young girl learning to let go and find her own way amidst the trials of the Great Depression and STANDING TALL ON MULBERRY HILL, another middle grade about Klan uprisings and true friendship beyond color lines in 1949 Birmingham, AL. Find out more about Laura and her books by visiting her website or chatting with her on Twitter.




3 thoughts on “Words to Live By from Fiction’s Greatest Father (IMHO)

  1. I’m with you. Was there ever a better fictional father than Atticus Finch? Stand up, child.

  2. Just Amy says:

    I absolutely adore Atticus Finch. I’m going to go home and watch To Kill A Mockingbird.

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