In William Golding's "Lord of the Flies," Ralph has been made the leader because of his golden appearance and his leadership qualities, one of which is his rationality. Therefore, he insists throughout the novel that the boys build and keep a signal fire burning so that a passing ship or plane will spot it and rescue them.
As the narrative develops, the signal fire becomes a dividing line between Ralph, Piggy, Simon, and others and the hunters who turn savage led by Jack and the sadistic Roger. As this savage faction gains influence, the signal fire is allowed to go out because the boys have gone to join in the hunt. Ralph reasserts his authority and the fire is rekindled. Later, when Jack and Roger and the others gain control of the mountain, the fire again is threatened. But Piggy--ever the thinking man--suggests that they build the fire by the seashore, an area they can protect.