Significance of the Signal Fire on the Mountain: Lord of the Flies

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The signal fire burns on the mountain, and later on the beach, to attract the notice of passing ships that might be able to rescue the boys. As a result, the signal fire becomes a barometer of the boys’ connection to civilization. In the early parts of the novel, the fact that the boys maintain the fire is a sign that they want to be rescued and return to society. When the fire burns low or goes out, we realize that the boys have lost sight of their desire to be rescued and have accepted their savage lives on the island. The signal fire thus functions as a kind of measurement of the strength of the civilized instinct remaining on the island. Ironically, at the end of the novel, a fire finally summons a ship to the island, but not the signal fire. Instead, it is the fire of savagery—the forest fire Jack’s gang starts as part of his quest to hunt and kill Ralph. In Lord of the Flies, the fire is a main symbol throughout the story. It represents amount of civilized strength left within the boys. When the fire burns stronger, it means that they are getting closer to society and when the fire is not burning or is weak, they too are weakening. The signal fire becomes an indicator of the boys’ connection to civilization. Throughout the book, the fire is a key symbol that means not only rescue, but hope and civilization. Even the forest fire in the end of the story, that was meant to destroy, ended up being the boys key to rescue. In the beginning of this book, one of the most important parts is when Jack let the fire go out to go hunting. Although hunting is not necessarily barbaric or a loss of civilization, it is still what leads up to the loss of civilization. When Ralph realizes the power of the fire and admits that if everyone does not do their duty and cooperate in keeping the fire going, all hopes in contacting civilization outside are shattered. The fire is their

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