A review on Richard Bach’s Jonathan Livingston Seagull

It starts with the dazzling picturesque view of a seashore where at one end, seagulls flock tirelessly to get scraps of food from fishing boats while on the other end, our protagonist, practices and perfects flying slow.

His belief in freedom makes him defy the flock and push himself, adjusting his wing tips, failing and falling countless times and yet his spirit seems intact, aspiring to see the unlimited world. A one in a million seagull, ignores the warnings of his parents and other elders, determined to practice out by the sea, an utter devilish act in the eyes of other seagulls.

Jonathan becomes forlorn when he fails to beat his mark of 140 km/hr and prays that the ocean swallows him whole. He goes into despair, believing he’s nothing special and bound by tradition and fear like any other gull.

His pity party doesn’t last long when he has an epiphany. He realises, that with short wings similar to an eagle, he could totally pull the smooth moves; and so, with a speed of 214 km, he soars 5000 miles above and achieves the unimaginable.

Often how those who appear to be closer to us are displeased with our success, the seagull races to share his joy only to be shot down and outlawed. In solitude, he brushes off the rejection and learns techniques of flying.

Soon he encounters Sullivan, a millennial like him who introduces him to a free world of acceptance. His master, Elder Chiang teaches him “You are what your thoughts are”. Jonathan learns that kindness and love are the greatest lessons in life.

Focusing on perfection, one rises above his limitations and achieves freedom. Only when you’re free, can you help free others; and so, Jonathan bids adieu to sully and takes on Fletcher, his first pupil and then more students, learning all sorts of tricks and acrobatics.

He returns home like the geek turned popular and continues to teach his ways. He encourages his students to dream big, a dream with limitations.


Critical Analysis

Rules are an important part of life, they provide us with structure, to direct through the chaos of life. This is what the author showcases in his novel. Sometimes, to achieve greatness, the rules need to be broken, just so one can be free to breathe and think.

We face obstacles that pull us down, push us to give up and yet, we must keep moving; for living is hard and giving up, easy.

Published by Allena Andress

||Bibliophile|| Biotechnologist|| Aspiring Forensic Science specialist|| Researcher|| Closet singer and dancer|| Motivational Speaker||

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