LORD OF THE FLIES
THE SIGNAL FIRE
The signal fire burns on the mountain, and later on the beach, to attract the notice of passing ships that might be able to rescue the boys. The fire becomes a sign of the boys’ connection with civilization. In the beginning of the novel, the boys maintain and keep the fire alive. This means that they want to be rescued and return to civilization and society. When the fire burns out or comes close to dying, it means that the boys have lost sight of their desire to be rescued and have accepted savage lives on the island. The signal fire is a measurement of the strength of the civilized instinct left on the island. Ralph's effort to keep the fire going are consistent but unsuccessful, in the same way his efforts to restore order are unsuccessful. Ironically, at the end of the novel, a fire finally attracts a ship to the island, but not the signal fire. Instead, it is the fire of savagery—the forest fire Jack’s gang starts as part of his quest to hunt and kill Ralph.
The imaginary beast that the boys fear represents the savage in all human beings. The boys fear the beast but only Simon realizes that they fear the beast because it exists inside of them. As the boys become more and more like savages, the belief in the beast grows stronger. Near the end of the novel, the boys begin to leave sacrifices and treating it like a god. Their behaviour is what brings the beast into existence, therefore the savagely the boys act, the more real the beat becomes.
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