Jonathan Livingston Seagull, feathered allegory

Jonathan Livingston Seagull is an Allegory.  Just so you don’t miss the point, author Richard Bach thoughtfully capitalizes Important Words.

A grainy photograph of a seagull is on the dust jacket cover of Jonathan Livingston Seagull.
Russell Munson’s photos accompany Bach’s narrative.

Jonathan is No Ordinary Bird. Although no gulls are killed when he dives at 214 miles an hour into the breakfasting flock, Jonathan is expelled from the flock for for “reckless irresponsibility.”

In exile, he practices flying, neglecting to eat, until he is called to a better place where he meets other gulls who also live to fly.

After spending some time in the better place in the sky, Jonathan returns to earth and gathers disciples whom he teaches to consider themselves “special and gifted and divine.”

Some of Jonathan’s disciples consider him the Son of the Great Gull but he’s not. He merely wants his followers to “reach out and touch perfection” in the thing they most love to do.

Jonathan leaves them after instructing them to Go Make Disciples who will devote their lives to doing whatever they want to do.

Fortunately, this paean to the totally self-centered life is short.

Its 93 pages are already as nauseating as a gull’s breakfast.

Jonathan Livingston Seagull by Richard Bach
Photographs by Russell Munson
Macmillan, © 1970. 93 p.
Bestseller #1 in 1972 and 1973. My grade: C-

© 2018 Linda Gorton Aragoni

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Linda G. Aragoni

I make big ideas simple for learners. In eight sentences, 34 words, I taught teens and adults to write competently. Now I'm writing guides to turn willing volunteers into great nursing home visitors.

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