Posts Tagged ‘American Values’

To Kill A Mockingbird: A Treasury of American Values

Wednesday, December 7th, 2016

7 Characteristics of America at its Best

Written by Tony Mussari, Sr.
Edited by Kitch Loftus-Mussari
Copyright 2016
The Face of America Project
Mussari-Loftus Associates, LTD

The one thing that doesn’t abide by majority rule is a person’s
Harper Lee

Defining What America Is At Its Best

While looking for a quotation that would encourage and inspire a teenager who is going through some rough times, I found these words of wisdom:

You just hold your head high and keep those fists down. No matter what anybody says to you, don’t you let ’em get your goat.

Those words of advice were written by Harper Lee, the author of the American classic To Kill A Mockingbird. Not only did they satisfy my need, they motivated me to look deeper into the treasury of Harper Lee’s work.

To Kill A Mockingbird is a celebrated, Pulitzer Prize-winning book about justice, friendship,mockingbird-graphic3a_fc_perseverance innocence, love, tolerance and transformation. The story takes place in a small Alabama town in the 1930’s. It features a well known attorney Atticus Finch, his two children Scout and her brother Jem, their housekeeper Calpurnia, their neighbor Miss Maudie Atkinson, a recluse Boo Radley and a black man, Tom Robinson, who is falsely accused of raping a poor white girl Mayella Ewell. Atticus accepts the appointment to represent Mr. Robinson, and he uses this opportunity to teach his children and the community the importance equal treatment under the law and compassion for people who are suffering.

In this article we use Harper Lee’s words to identify and explain some of the characteristics of America its best. The words were written more than 56 years ago, and they are as powerful and practical today as they were then.



I wanted you to see what real courage is, instead of getting the idea that courage is a man with a gun in his hand. It’s when you know you’re licked before you begin, but you begin anyway and see it through no matter what. You rarely win, but sometimes you do. Atticus Finch


“Atticus, you must be wrong."

“How’s that?”integrity_sm_nc

“Well, most folks seem to think they’re right and you’re wrong. . .”

“They’re certainly entitled to think that, and they’re entitled to full respect for their opinions,” said Atticus, “but 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



I do my best to love everybody…I’m hard put, sometimes- baby, it’s never an insult to be called what somebody thinks is a bad name. It just shows you how poor that person is, it doesn’t hurt you. Atticus Finch


People in their right minds never take pride in their talents. (Miss Maudie Atkinson a neighbor of the Finches)

As you grow up, always tell the truth, do no harm to others, and don’t think you are the most important being on earth. Rich or poor, you then can look anyone in the eye and say, I’m probably no better than you, but I’m certainly your equal. (Harper Lee 6/7/06 handwritten note to a fan)



Simply because we were licked a hundred years before we started is no reason
for us not to try to win…

Atticus Finch


First of all," he said, "if you can learn a respect_sm_nc
simple trick,Scout, you’ll get
along a lot better with all kinds of folks. You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view–until you climb into his skin and walk around in it. Atticus Finch



It’s not necessary to tell all you know. It’s not ladylike — in the second place, folks don’t like to have someone around knowin’ more than they do. It aggravates them. Your not gonna change any of them by talkin’ right, they’ve got to want to learn themselves, and when they don’t want to learn there’s nothing you can do but keep your mouth shut or talk their language.(Calpurnia, the Finches’ housekeeper and a trusted member of the family. She acts as a mother figure to Atticus’ children Jem and Scout)

We are publishing this article on the 75th Anniversary of Pearl Harbor as a tribute to the america-at-its-best_3-men_ffc_smmen who died on that tragic day. We must never forget their service and sacrifice. They gave their lives to preserve the values Harper Lee personified in the characters in her wonderful book.

God Bless the soldiers and sailors who gave their lives for America and American values on December 7, 1941, and God Bless America.

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