Why do the boys decide to make a fire in chapter two of The Lord of the Flies?

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The answer to this question can be found about halfway through chapter 2. The boys are meeting together to discuss their situation. The conch is being used, and readers get introduced to the collective fear of the beast, which will continue to grow. Eventually, the arguing about whether or not a beast actually exists switches to the boys wanting two things:

We want to have fun. And we want to be rescued.

The idea of rescue is an important one, and Ralph says that their best chance of rescue is for a passing ship to somehow see that the island has people on it. Ralph states that the best way for this to happen is to have a lot of smoke, and in order to have smoke, the boys need fire.

"There's another thing. We can help them to find us. If a ship comes near the island they may not notice us. So we must make smoke on top of the mountain. We must make a fire."

"A fire! Make a fire!"

At once half the boys were on their feet. Jack clamored among them, the conch forgotten.

The logical reason for a fire is that it helps the boys get rescued. I also believe that the fire idea catches a lot of initial support because they are adolescent boys, and burning stuff is fun.

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The boys are meeting together and among other things they discuss the fact that they are alone and that it will be hard for anyone to rescue them. Because it is an island and no one knows where they are, they are worried. Their worries are only intensified when the boy with the mulberry colored birthmark suggests that he saw some kind of snake-like beastie thing in the night that will carry them off and kill them.

They discuss how they will get organized to hunt for meat and then Ralph suggests that they ought to light a big fire in order to have a signal for any nearby ships to find them. The boys are very excited about this and rush off to build a huge fire atop the mountain. Ralph wants to be sure that they will keep the fire going at all times in order to maintain a signal but their big fire burns too hot and doesn't produce smoke so they discuss using greener wood in the future to produce more smoke.

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