In Lord of the Flies, what does moving the fire from the mountain to the beach symbolize?

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By this point in the story, Jack is very much king of the castle. Having deposed what he regards as the "cowardly" Ralph, he's now firmly in charge, his dominant position ably symbolized by his occupation of the strategically important Castle Rock. The mountain, too, is very much his domain, and plays home to the mythical beast as well. By the same token, Ralph and Piggy are forced to beat an undignified retreat to the beach. The beach, like the Castle Rock and the mountain, is hugely symbolic of the changing balance of power on the island. It is flat and exposed, vulnerable to sudden attack by Jack and his vicious tribe of blood-thirsty choirboys. And if a rescue ship should suddenly appear on the horizon, it'll be much more difficult to spot, let alone contact, from the strategically weak beach than from the fastness of the mountain.

Ralph and Piggy tried valiantly to impose some measure of order upon their savage, unforgiving surroundings. They tried to make nature yield to the power of reason. But they failed, and their subsequent retreat to the beach symbolizes that failure. Jack, on the other hand, has gladly succumbed to the dark, cruel, irrational forces of nature, and has been rewarded with absolute power on the island. Literally and symbolically, Ralph and Piggy will attempt to keep the flame of civilization alive, but it won't be long before it's extinguished altogether.

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In chapter eight, "A Gift for the Darkness," Piggy and Ralph agree that they must move the fire from the mountain to the beach.  This decision comes at great cost, because Ralph must acknowledge his diminishing chances for rescue.  In many ways, Ralph and Piggy's decision is symbolic of the boys' surrender to the external forces on the island, reinforcing the notion that civilization and order is crumbling on the island.  First, consider the fact that the mysterious 'beast' now blocks their access to the mountain.  Ralph and Piggy are reluctant to challenge the hulking silhouette of the beast, and this dismal defeat suggests that chaos and darkness are gaining control of the island. 

Ralph's original great plan was to use the signal fire on the mountain to aid in their eventual rescue.  Now he and Piggy are resigned to keeping the fire on the beach, which is not nearly as good of a strategic location.  Civilization has symbolically cowered to the forces of darkness and chaos.  The boys' small fire on the beach will not be bright enough to sustain the flame of civilization or assist in any form of rescue. 

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