Jonathan Livingston Seagull


Richard Bach

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Anthony Seagull Character Analysis

A doubtful bird who lives in the time two hundred years after Jonathan’s departure from earth. Anthony wonders what the meaning of life is, and refuses to believe in the overzealous doctrine which canonizes Jonathan and has overtaken much of seagull life. As Anthony attempts suicide by dive-bombing into the ocean, he is stopped short by a bird who admires his flight skills. The bird introduces himself to Anthony as “Jon.”

Anthony Seagull Quotes in Jonathan Livingston Seagull

The Jonathan Livingston Seagull quotes below are all either spoken by Anthony Seagull or refer to Anthony Seagull. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Individualism vs. Collectivism Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Scribner edition of Jonathan Livingston Seagull published in 2014.
Part Four Quotes

“Now look," [Anthony] had told his official Local Student, "the birds who come to hear you every Tuesday come for three reasons, don't they? Because they think they're learning something; because they think that putting another pebble on the Cairn is going to make them holy; or because everybody else expects them to be there. Right?"

“And you have nothing to learn, my nestling?"

"No. There's something to learn, but I don't know what it is. A million pebbles can't make me holy if I don't deserve it, and I don't care what the other gulls think about me."

"And what is your answer, nestling?" ever so slightly shaken by this heresy. "How do you call the miracle of life? The Great-Gull-Jonathan-Holy-Be-His-Name said that flight […]."

"Life isn't a miracle, Official, it's a bore. Your Great Gull Jonathan is a myth somebody made up a long time ago, a fairy tale that the weak believe because they can't stand to face the world as it is. Imagine! A seagull who could fly two hundred miles per hour! I’ve tried it, and the fastest I can go is fifty, diving, and even then I'm mostly out of control. There are laws of flight that cannot be broken, and if you don't think so, you go out there and try it! Do you honestly believe—truly, now—that your great Jonathan Seagull flew two hundred miles per hour?"

Related Characters: Anthony Seagull (speaker), Jonathan Livingston Seagull
Related Symbols: Pebbles
Page Number: 110
Explanation and Analysis:
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Anthony Seagull Character Timeline in Jonathan Livingston Seagull

The timeline below shows where the character Anthony Seagull appears in Jonathan Livingston Seagull. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Part Four
Individualism vs. Collectivism Theme Icon
Innovation vs. Tradition  Theme Icon
The Misinterpretation of Doctrine Theme Icon
Some gulls begin questioning the things being taught at the shrines. A gull called Anthony Seagull realizes that all the gulls who come to the shrines each Tuesday and drop... (full context)
Individualism vs. Collectivism Theme Icon
Innovation vs. Tradition  Theme Icon
The Misinterpretation of Doctrine Theme Icon
Many other gulls go the way of Anthony—they reject the ritual and ceremony of Jonathan Seagull, and begin to believe that life is... (full context)
Individualism vs. Collectivism Theme Icon
Innovation vs. Tradition  Theme Icon
Self-Determination Through Mind, Body, and Spirit Theme Icon
The Misinterpretation of Doctrine Theme Icon
The gull turns back toward Anthony and apologizes for startling him. Anthony expresses his admiration of the bird’s flight, but the... (full context)