Here are the quotes I liked from the book ,Jonathan Livingston Seagull by Richard Bach. You can find my review here, and can downloand the story from here.Quotes are in the order of the progress of the story. I have given little narration where it is necessary to give background.

Most gulls don’t bother to learn more than the simplest facts of flight – how to get from shore to food and back again. For most gulls, it is not flying that matters, but eating.

Interesting dialogues between Jonathan and his parents

“Why ,Jon ,why?” His mother asked. “Why is it so hard to be like the rest of the flock, Jon? Why can’t you leave low flying to the pelicans, the albatross? Why don’t you eat? Jon, you are bone and feathers!”

“I don’t mind being bone and feathers, Mum. I just want to know what I can do in the air and what I can’t, that’s all. I just want to know”

“See here, Jonathan,” said his father, not unkindly. “Winter isn’t far away. Boats will be few, and the surface fish will be swimming deep. If you must study, then study food, and how to get it. This flying business is all very well, but you can’t eat a glide, you know. Dont’t you forget that the reason you fly is to eat”

After the failures Jonathn is disappointed :

As he sank low in the water, a strange hollow voice sounded within him. There’s no way around it. I am a seagull. I am limited by nature. If I were meant to learn so much about flying, I’d have charts for brains. If I were meant to fly at speed I’d have falcon’s short wings, and live on mice instead of fish. My father was right. I must forget this foolishness. I must fly home to the Flock and be content as I am, as a poor limited seagull.

When he discovers the technique of flying :

How much more there is now to living! Instead of our drab slogging forth and back to the fishing boats, there’s reason to life! We can lift ourselves out of ignorance, we can find ourselves as creatures of excellence and intelligence and skill. We can be free! We can learn to fly!

The Elder of the Council bashing Jonathan :

“…one day, Jonathan Livingston Seagull, you shall learn that irresponsibility does not pay. Life is the unknown and the unknowable, except that we are put into this world to eat, to stay alive as long we possibly can.”

Jonathan raising voice against the Council :

“Who is more responsible than a gull who finds and follows meaning, a higher purpose for life? For a thousand years we have scrabbled after fish heads, but now we have a reason to live – to learn, to discover, to be free! “

What he had once hoped for the Flock, he now gained for himself alone; he learned to fly, and was not sorry for the price that he had paid.

Jonathan Seagull discovered that boredom and fear and anger are the reasons that gull’s life is so short and with these gone from his thought, he lived a long fine life indeed.

The same rule holds for us now, of course: we choose our next world through what we learn in this one. Learn nothing , and the next is the same as this one, all the same limitations and lead weights to overcome”

When Jonathan asks, if heaven exists :

“No, Jonathan, there is no such place. Heaven is not a place, and it is not a time. Heaven is being perfect.”

The Elder explains :

“You will begin to touch heaven, Jonathan, in the moment that you touch perfect speed. And that isn’t flying a thousand miles an hour, or a million, or flying at the speed of light. Because any number is a limit, and perfection doesn’t have limits. Perfect speed, my son, is being there.”

“To fly as fast as thought, to anywhere that is,” he said,”you must begin by knowing that you have already arrived…”

Each of us is in truth an idea of the Great Gull, an unlimited idea of freedom,”

“Well sure, O.K. they’re Outcast,” said some of the younger gulls, “but hey, man, where did they learn to fly like that?”

When a handicap gull asks if he can fly :

“Come along then.” said Jonathan. “Climb with me away from the ground, and we’ll begin.”
“You don’t understand My wing. I can’t move my wing.”
“Maynard Gull, you have the freedom to be yourself, your true self, here and now, and nothing can stand in your way.It is the Law of the Great Gull, the Law that Is.”
“Are you saying I can fly?”
“I say you are free.”

Jonathan addressing his Flock

He spoke of very simple things – that it is right for a gull to fly,that freedom is the very nature of his being, that whatever stands against that freedom must be set aside, be it ritual or superstition or limitation in any form.
“Set aside,” came a voice from the multitude, “even if it be the Law of the Flock?”
“The only true law is that which leads to freedom,” Jonathan said.
“There is no other.”
“How do you expect us to fly as you fly?” came another voice. “You are special and gifted and divine, above other birds.”

Jonathan sighs :

Jonathan sighed. The price of being misunderstood, he thought. They call you devil or they call you god.

“The trick Fletcher is that we are trying to overcome our limitations in order, patiently, We don’t tackle flying through rock until a little later in the program.”
“Jonathan!”.
“Also known as the Son of the Great Gull ” his instructor said dryly,
“What are you doing here? The cliff! Haven’t I didn’t I.., die?”
“Oh, Fletch, come on. Think. If you are talking to me now, then obviously you didn’t die, did you? What you did manage to do was to change your level of consciousness rather abruptly.

“Why is it,” Jonathan puzzled, “that the hardest thing in the world is to convince a bird that he is free, and that he can prove it for himself if he’d just spend a little time practicing? Why should that be so hard?”

Farewell of Jonathan

A moment later Jonathan’s body wavered in the air, shimmering, and began to go transparent. “Don’t let them spread silly rumors about me, or make me a god. O.K., Fletch? I’m a seagull. I like to fly, maybe…”


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