Both Jonathan Livingston Seagull (a novel by Richard Bach) and “The Myth of the Cave” (a short story written by the commonly-studied philosopher, Plato) are commonly referred to as allegories. An allegory is a work of art that possesses a hidden moral or political message beneath its actual appearance. In many ways, one could easily interpret both of these superb writings to hold the same meaning. One presentation that holds true to this is that Richard Bach’s character, Jonathan, compares to the prisoner that escapes in Plato’s work, “The Myth of the Cave.” Metaphorically, both of these characters are held as prisoners in their life, but then later are freed and ultimately return to their origin to enlighten others still held captive.
To begin, if one were to return to Jonathan Livingston Seagull to examine the story’s similarities to TMOTC, he or she could easily guess that in the beginning, Jonathan and his flock are all bound by the chains of hunger in the constant struggle for food. When broken down, it’s clear that the non-stop mission to acquire food all these gulls possess is actually an illusion that fate has forced them to witness while bound by the chain of insignificance. Jonathan manifests to the reader that he absolutely despises that lifestyle, and partakes in a hobby the other seagulls scoff at. In JLS, Richard Bach writes, “It’s all so pointless, he thought, deliberately dropping a hard-won anchovy to a hungry old gull . . . I could be spending all this time learning to fly!” (5). Noticeably, flight is very important to this one-of-a-kind seagull, nevertheless, he can still be labeled as currently shackled due to the pressure constantly put on him to give up flight in the pursuit of co...
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...n noted, both Plato and Richard Bach spin almost-identical tales of bravery and discovery in “The Myth of the Cave” and Jonathan Livingston Seagull. Despite that the first of these works is only a short story and the second is a novel, the both speak to whoever that reads them in the same way. They speak of the curiosity and the enigma of the moment one’s shackles are removed as he or she is led out of the cave. They speak of curiosity and awe as one would take their initial steps out into the sun-filled expanse. And ultimately, they both remind readers of the feelings of loneliness and compassion as one determines to return to those still in chains to attempt to persuade them to make the same journey. Readers might find themselves wondering reading either story, “is not this unjust? . . . Ought we to give them a worse life, when they might have a better?” (Plato 5).
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