Lord of the Flies by William Golding

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How is fire used as a symbol throughout William Golding's novel Lord of the Flies?    

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The fire is a bit of an odd symbol in Lord of the Flies. It is an odd symbol because it is symbolic of two things that are essentially polar opposites of each other. On one hand, the fire is a symbol of hope. On the other hand, the fire is a symbol of death and destruction.

From an early point in the book, Ralph is convinced that a signal fire is prudent and necessary. He firmly believes that the fire will be what gets them rescued.

"The fire is the most important thing on the island. How can we ever be rescued except by luck, if we don’t keep a fire going? Is a fire too much for us to make? . . . 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?"

The other boys agree, and this is why the fire is started in the first place. Unfortunately, the fire goes out of control, burns a lot of area, kills a boy, and doesn't bring any kind of rescue. At this point, the fire has...

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