What is the symbolic role of the fire that destroys the island in Lord of the Flies?

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I think there are a number of ways you can look at the fire as a symbol.  One of them is mentioned in the previous post, the idea that Ralph was always pushing the fire as super important, as their way to be rescued.  Of course their rescuers are part of the same world that is consumed with violence and destruction, so it is ironic that Ralph's fire eventually consumes everything on the island but also brings the return of "civilization" in the form of the officer and the other men from the navy.  This is particularly brought into focus by the officer's remark about the fact that they are "all British boys" and that they would have been able to hold things together, as though they were civilized and not going to end up like these savages that he sees.

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