Two separate illustrations of an animal head and a fire on a mountain

Lord of the Flies

by William Golding

Start Free Trial

Student Question

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

Fire becomes life for the boys on the island in the novel Lord of the Flies.  Ralph quickly discerns that the boys' only chance of rescue come from their ability to light and maintain a signal fire on top of the mountain.  The first instance of fire occurs in Chapter two as the boys gather a huge amount of wood to make an out of control fire that rages down the dead side of the mountain.  As the fire rages out of control, Piggy realizes that one of the littluns is missing, and Golding leaves the reader to assume that he has been killed in the fire. 

The next major incident involving fire occurs in Chapter four, as Piggy and Ralph notice that Jack' s hunters have not tended the signal fire and it has gone out just as a ship passed the island.  An argument ensues, and one of Piggy's lenses is broken.  The glasses are important, because the boys use the lens to light the fire.

In chapter eight after Jack and his hunters split from the tribe, Jack realizes that he must steal fire from the Ralph's camp, because he cannot make it on his own.  Jack decides to steal Piggy's glasses in chapter ten, so he can control fire.

In the final critical chapter, Jack uses fire once again to smoke Ralph out from the brambles during his manhunt for the other boy.  Fire consumes the island, and ironically enough, the smoke from Jack's enormous fire catches the eye of a passing ship which stops to rescue the boys. 

See eNotes Ad-Free

Start your 48-hour free trial to get access to more than 30,000 additional guides and more than 350,000 Homework Help questions answered by our experts.

Get 48 Hours Free Access
Approved by eNotes Editorial