In Chapter 2 of Lord of the Flies, how does the fire comment on the nature of the boys?

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sarahc418 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

If you look at the uncontrollability of the fire as related to the boys also getting out of control on the island, it becomes a symbol for the wild nature of these boys. The young children in chapter one who come together and have a meeting as directed by Ralph and the conch shell do not seem as organized in this scene. It also mirrors the image of the island on fire at the end of the novel.

Beyond these two analysis points, I also think it is also interesting to note that the first death occurs in this chapter. The littl'un with the birthmark is never scene again after this fire implying that the fire has taken his life. It is especially sad that his name is never recorded or remembered. It signifies the gaps and deficiences that this organized society already has. His death and this experience also shows that this will not be "fun and games" as Ralph had hoped. Piggy is most upset by this loss, and he makes it his mission to get to know all the boys on the island to try to keep order again. While the other boys are a little shaken up, this first encounter with death does only a little to take away their innocent views of the world and humanity. It isn't until they face death when Simon is murdered that they truly lose their innocence and belief that man is good. 

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Lord of the Flies

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