Fire is a symbol that cannot be described in one word. Fire represents destruction, death, hostility, unpredictability, and the potential for limitless violence. Fire, however, also has a good side to it. Fire can be health, hospitality, control, food, shelter, light, and strength. With these characteristics in mind, fire has a number of different connotations. Many of these connotations can be found in one book. Fire, in William Golding’s book, Lord of the Flies, is a complex symbol, representing anarchy and the darkness inside of us, civilization and the light in all of us, and hope, the constant motivator for our survival.
Fire can represent Anarchy. Fire is naturally found where there is mass panic, destruction, and chaos. Fire can cause rules to evaporate into thin air, where it becomes less of a fight for the survival of your cause, and more of a fight for the survival of one’s self. A good example of this comes when Jack and his tribe set fire to the forest to weed out Ralph, so that they may kill him. “Smoke was seeping through the branches in white and yellow wisps, the patch of blue sky overhead turned to the color of a storm cloud, them smoke billowed round him.” (P. 180) Jack has lit the island on fire because Jack himself is a fire, with his red hair symbolizing this. The fire he sets is meant to root out, expose and kill order, peace, and civility, symbolized by Ralph. We can tell that Ralph is order because he, aided by Piggy, creates a system for almost everything, including voting, fires, playtime, etc.
Fire can represent civilization. Fire is used in the hearth, to help prepare food and bring people together. Fire is used to warm people, to help them survive in the civilized world. Fire, in LOTF, represents civilization very well. The leader of the civilization opposing Ralph needs to start a new village. The first thing they think of when they think of starting a village, is of course, fire. This fire will be used for cooking the meat of...
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