What is Ralph's purpose of building a fire?
Ralph's main purpose, as pointed out by the previous post, is to build a large fire and use it to signal a ship. He builds a fire on a platform on the mountain and the boys pitch in enthusiastically to help. But they soon tire of dragging wood to the fire and later on when they see a passing ship they realize that the fire has gone out because of inattention.
There is also an incident when the fire gets somewhat out of control at the top of the hill and they fear that one boy, one with freckles, has been lost and killed in the fire as they cannot locate him after coming down.
Ralph suggests building a fire to signal ships.
check Approved by eNotes Editorial