The ship that the children see in the William Golding novel Lord of the Flies symbolizes at least two different things. First, it symbolizes survival. A ship would be the boys' only way off the island, so it is important that the boys keep a signal fire burning at all times as a marker in hopes of rescue. Secondly, the ship symbolizes the outside world, the civilized world to which the boys hope to eventually return. It also serves as a reminder of the war that is going on outside the boys' island world.