“Jonathan Livingstone Seagull” is a contemporary fairytale that relies on modern time themes. Unlike the traditional fairytales where you have mythical creatures here you have fictional creatures.
It’s not only a modern fairytale but also an allegorical story because the whole plot points out to something more that the story appears to be telling. Because of that, we could say that we have a combination of an allegorical story and a modern fairytale.
By writing a story about a seagull that was never satisfied with something average but always wanted to accomplish something more Richard Bach actually wrote about human life and the way a single person functions inside a community.
The time and place are not specified but it is generalized that the place is the sea and the shore and that it is present time.
Richard Bach went with short and simple sentences and the plot was also like that. A lot of different storytelling techniques are combined here such as inner monolog, dialogue, monolog, description, and storytelling. Richard focuses on what is important to the plot and he does notcomplicat4e everything with details.
Genre: modern fairytale
Place: sky, earth
Jonathan Livingstone Seagull could never fit in with the other seagulls. His primary goal wasn’t to fly every day in search of fishermen leftovers. He was a rebellious seagull not interested in rules. He wanted to reach the biggest speed and fly as fast as possible. He pushed his limits every day but practicing complicated twists and turns. He separated himself from the flock and became a loner.
His parents begged him to join the flock again and try to live with the other seagulls. He wanted to please them but he did not feel happy with that kind of life. He was not interested in the flock and hanging out with the seagulls. Whatever he did, he always came back to himself.
He was never satisfied with himself and always wanted to improve his flying so he practiced every day. Soon he broke the world record and flew 165 km/h. Then he collapsed and fell into the sea.
While he was floating sadly he heard a voice inside that told him he had limits in life and that he has to accept them. He decided to go back to the flock then. It was nighttime and he heard the voice again saying that seagulls can’t fly at night because they do not have short wings or sharp eyesight as the eagles. He did not pay attention to the voice and just kept on flying.
Suddenly something dawned on him. He thought that he should bend his wings a little bit and fly with the tips of his wings. Not thinking about the danger he went 600 meters up and reached the speed of 260 km/h. He forgot about his promises to be a normal seagull and decided to keep on practicing every day. Soon he reached the speed of 396 km/h. Not a single seagull in history could fly that fast.
He was proud of himself and his success so he couldn’t wait to share it with the other seagulls. But he was surprised when nobody was happy for him. Not only that but also the elderly called him out for disgracing his flock. He expelled him from the flock and ordered him to live on the rocks that were far away. Even though he tried to explain them the new meaning of life, nobody listened to him.
He lived a lonely life far away from everyone but he felt good. His life made sense and he was able to feed himself and take care of himself. He lived a long life.
One night he saw two seagulls. He saw that they were flying fast. They took them from the earth to the sky. He practiced flying with the seagulls that shared his opinion but he noticed that there were a few of them. His instructor Sullivan told his that the reason for that was that this was only one part of life and that every seagull changes depending on what they learn and Jonathan learned everything.
The Elderly thought him how to fly properly and soon he could fly even faster. With the power of thoughts, Jonathan went back to Earth. He was thinking about his previous flock and wanted to teach them everything he had learned and wanted to show them how to be free. Jonathan went back to the rocks and there he met Fletcher Lynd. He was another seagull that was kicked out of the flock for the same reason Jonathan was. More seagulls joined them and they were practicing their flying together.
After months of hard work, they decided to show everyone what they know. Even though everyone turned their back on them soon seagulls started gathering around them. More and more seagulls wanted to learn how to fly.
Fletcher became the main instructor and Jonathan went to teach another flock. Fletcher remained in the hope of seeing Jonathan again.
Characters: seagulls Jonathan Livingstone, Fletcher Lynd, Sullivan
Seagull Jonathan Livingstone is the main character. He is described as a lonely seagull who does not care about the customs of the flock but rather follows his inner desire of gathering more knowledge and skills.
He adjusted whole his life to his wish and that separated him from the flock but on the other hand, it made him perfect.
In the book, there was a part when the seagull tried to make others realize that they are strong and that they should rise above the ignorance they’ve been living in and become perfect creatures. He told them that they could be free if they wanted too.
That was the collision of limitations of the ones in charge who were not ready to change or reach knowledge and freedom. The elderly told the seagull that it is not worth being irresponsible and then he kicked him out of the flock.
Seagull lived off of his courage and persistence while he was alone. Even though he was alone he realized every day that he was free and he did not feel sorry because of the price he had to pay.
On his way to perfection, the seagull kept his persistence in reaching his goals and thirst for knowledge. Besides all of that his nobility was getting bigger every day because he was worried about the ones he left behind.
Despite the fact that the seagulls kicked him out of the flock he felt responsible for them and wanted to teach them valuable lessons. His biggest virtue was the ability to forgive the ones who did him wrong.
He gathered a few outcasts and started teaching them what was important. The flock kicked out all of those who joined Jonathan and when they realized that he was strong and special they called him the devil.
When they wanted to lynch him he did not hold a grudge against them. He is described as a character who always strives for something better and is never satisfied with what is offered to him.
Richard Bach Biography
Richard Bach David is an American author born in 1936. He finished his studies in Long Beach in 1955. Soon after he finished school he joined the navy and the National guard program. Also, he became a pilot in the Fighter Squadron USAF.
After being a part of the army he started his writing career and his first three books were about flying a plane and they were a reflection of his love towards planes. They were named “Stranger to the ground, Biplane” and “Nothing by chance”.
His book Jonathan Livingstone Seagull was published in 1970 and made him famous.
The book consisted of a precise and incredible description of seagulls flying. The book was sold in more of 1.000.000 copies.
For Bach flying is a way of life and life is seeking, constant learning, re-discovering of what people know but have forgotten.