Jonathan Livingston Seagull is a book about a rebellious seagull who challenges the traditional ways of living that seagulls have used for thousands of years.
He not only challenges their way of life, which is threatening to the older gulls, but he introduces a new unconventional way of flying which results in the elders banishing him for his unorthodox ideas.
In addition to Jonathan being a seagull of advanced ideology, he is also introducing a kind of religious worship into the gull community, the ability to enjoy life beyond the mere exercise of survival.
Jonathan spends time in heaven where he is taught to live a higher existence. He is given a task to bring love and kindness back to earth.
When Jonathan tries to inspire other gulls to practice his lifestyle, the elders ban him.
Jonathan tries to inspire other gulls to live a life in search of freedom, he tells the other gulls not to fall prey to superstition, or limitations that inhibit individual realization of personal growth and freedom.
There are a few problems within this work that revolve around the themes. One of the themes is nonconformity and believing in what is right, no matter the cost. In Part One, Jonathan Livingston Seagull becomes an outcast from his flock because he believes there is more to life than what seagulls normally do. The metaphor here becomes one of flight, literally flying as a seagull, but larger than that, is letting dreams fly to achieve new heights. Jonathan than encounters another problem as he reaches a higher plane through Chiang, the wisest gull. That is, do not turn your back on those who have hurt you, but reach out and forgive. This is a lesson concerning love. Jonathan transcends the normal seagull life to help younger seagulls believe that more is possible. A task for any good teacher, wouldn't you say?