Father’s Day is a time for all us ungrateful kids to remember the guy who presumably taught us all how not to piss off mom, and maybe how to hold a bat properly. Dad’s are there for you. If you are lucky. Some of us didn’t fair to well in the Father category. And let’s face it – some Dad’s are jerks.
In honour of Father’s Day and my own failed father, I give you the Most Deplorable Dad’s in Literature! Enjoy!
- Mr. Wormwood, Matilda by Roald Dahl – First of all, he is a used car salesman. He is duplicitous and shady. He’s sneaky, mean and thoughtless. A crook, a liar and a bully. And he does the unthinkable: He makes fun of his daughter for enjoying books! Asshole.
- Alexi Karenin, Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy – He’s almost like a ghost father. He is cold and unfeeling and he distances himself from both his wife and only child. Poor Seryozha! He is used as a pawn in the bitter dealings between his parents and ultimately loses the only parent who loves him.
- Humbert Humbert, Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov – Humbert Humbert might be the worlds worst parent. Or Step-parent. He is a wicked, wicked man. The dude married a woman solely to be closer to the woman’s twelve-year-old daughter. Eww. I have to admit, I liked Humbert. He was hilarious! And how can you take him seriously? But, he is still a deplorable human being and a really, really naughty Daddy.
- Jack Torrance, The Shining by Stephen King – Recovering alcoholic and aspiring writer Jack Torrance takes his wife and kids to the Overlook Hotel for a scarier than shit work/holiday. Even before they arrive at the hotel we are aware that Jack has had some trouble in the parenting arena. In a drunken rage he broke his sons arm. Not even close to the worst thing Dad’s gonna do. A note to Danny Torrance: Hide the croquet mallets.
- Heathcliff, Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte – This is a man with an all-consuming passion for vengeance. And while that’s kinda hot, it doesn’t make for very good parenting. Heathcliff is usually remembered as smoldering and intense. The perfect Anti-hero. Yet we forget that he also despises his own son, thinking him physically and mentally inferior. Poor sad and sickly Linton! He is forced to marry Edgar and Cathy’s daughter purely for revenge.
- King Lear, King Lear by Shakespeare – A father (or mother) should never play favorites. Every one knows that. But let’s get real. All parents play favorites. Even King Lear. This time playing favorites pisses off the non favored child to the point of no return. And seriously, making your three kids fight it out for your estate is fucking stupid. But nobody ever listens to reason in Shakespeare.
- The Chief, Swamplandia! by Karen Russell – Let’s get this straight: I liked The Chief. But man, what a bad dad! While giving your kids freedom to explore the world around them is a good thing, letting them swim with alligators might be a little much. Not to mention his entire life, even his name, is based on a lie. He invented a Tribal world for his kids although he has absolutely no Indian heritage. He is brutally and unjustifiably optimistic about his failing business. Things don’t exactly end well for his kids.
- Pap Finn, Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain – Drunk dads. Isn’t literature just riddled with them? Well, Pap Finn is an abusive drunk (Is there any other kind?) who parents with his fists. Near the beginning of the book Pap locks Huck in a cabin. He’s a dick and one of the most loathed characters in literature. Honestly Pap Finn is like the opposite of Atticus Finch. The best worst ever.