I need three references to “the fire” in the book (give PAGE NUMBERS) and make an assertion about what you think “the fire” symbolizes.

Expert Answers
mstultz72 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

"Fire" is mentioned 76 times in the novel.  Most of the time it is used literally to mean fire.  A few times is it used as a metaphor by the father and/or son.

Pg. 83: "Nothing bad is going to happen to us...because we're carrying the fire."

Pg. 129: "We're the good guys...and we're carrying the fire."

Pg. 172: "I havent seen a fire in a long time, thats all.  I live like an animal."

Pg. 186: "Nowhere to build a fire.  Nowhere safe."

Pg. 216: "Are they carrying the fire too?  They could be yes.  But we dont know.  So we have to be vigilant."

Possible uses as a symbol:

As metaphor, it is fire: that which is used for survival, warmth, cooking, protection.  Will the gun "fire"?

Ironically, the earth seems to have been destroyed by fire, so it could symbolize the apocalypse.

It could symbolize death.  If the truck people or cannibals see their fire, they could be killed.  "Firing" the gun kills the one trucker.  It could also end the father's and son's life--as it did the mother's--in suicide.

Metaphorically, it is hope, faith, God, the past, the future, humanity, survival, goodness, family.