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Ralph says that they should die before they let the fire out.
Ralph tries to explain to the other boys the importance of the fire. As the leader, it is his job to set priorities. He tries to accomplish this, but the boys don’t take him seriously.
“Look at us! How many are we? And yet we can’t keep a fire going to make smoke. Don’t you understand? Can’t you see we ought to—ought to die before we let the fire out?” (ch 5)
The fire, and the smoke from it, is the boys’ only chance of getting rescued. They have no other way of contacting the outside world. Ralph tells the hunters that “the smoke is more important than the pig,” which is a direct threat to Jack’s authority. The contention over the fire and the pig is one of the things that splits the group.
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