Lord of the Flies

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Fire Symbol Icon
Fire is a complicated symbol in Lord of the Flies. Like the glasses that create it, fire represents technology. Yet like the atomic bombs destroying the world around the boys' island, fire is a technology that threatens destruction if it gets out of control. Fire also symbolizes the boys' connection to human civilization: their signal fire gives them hope of rescue.
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Fire Symbol Timeline in Lord of the Flies

The timeline below shows where the symbol Fire appears in Lord of the Flies. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 2
Civilization Theme Icon
Ralph says he's confident they boys will be rescued. He suggests they build a fire on the mountaintop to alert rescuers. (full context)
Civilization Theme Icon
Savagery and the "Beast" Theme Icon
Excited by the idea of building a fire, the boys jump up and run to collect wood and bring it to the mountain... (full context)
Civilization Theme Icon
Savagery and the "Beast" Theme Icon
Spirituality and Religion Theme Icon
The Weak and the Strong Theme Icon
The fire burns out because the wood is so dry. Piggy starts to criticize the boys, but... (full context)
Civilization Theme Icon
Savagery and the "Beast" Theme Icon
Ralph says they have to keep the fire burning every day without fail. Jack volunteers himself and his hunters to do the job. (full context)
Civilization Theme Icon
Savagery and the "Beast" Theme Icon
The Weak and the Strong Theme Icon
Piggy notices that sparks from their signal fire have set the trees below them on fire. He argues that instead of running off... (full context)
Chapter 3
Civilization Theme Icon
...the conversation back on getting rescued. He mentions Jack and the hunter's responsibility for the fire, which causes another argument. Jack claims hunting is work. Ralph shouts that while Jack likes... (full context)
Chapter 4
Civilization Theme Icon
Savagery and the "Beast" Theme Icon
...horizon—it's a ship! Everyone looks at the mountain, but there's no smoke from their signal fire. They run to the mountaintop and discover the fire is dead and the ship has... (full context)
Civilization Theme Icon
Eventually Jack apologizes for letting the fire die. Ralph asks Piggy's permission to use his glasses to light the fire. Ralph realizes... (full context)
Chapter 5
Civilization Theme Icon
Savagery and the "Beast" Theme Icon
...the things they said they'd do, but didn't: store water, build shelters, keep the signal fire going. He says the fire is the most important thing on the island. (full context)
Human Nature Theme Icon
Civilization Theme Icon
Savagery and the "Beast" Theme Icon
The Weak and the Strong Theme Icon
...He asks the boys if they're humans or savages? He mentions the hunters letting the fire go out. Jack furiously rips the conch from him. (full context)
Chapter 6
Civilization Theme Icon
Savagery and the "Beast" Theme Icon
...says they have to go search the mountain for the beast and relight the signal fire. (full context)
Chapter 7
Savagery and the "Beast" Theme Icon
The Weak and the Strong Theme Icon
...finally stop and discuss how to do the dance properly. Maurice suggests a drum and fire. Robert says they need to use a real pig next time, so they can really... (full context)
Chapter 8
Civilization Theme Icon
...should do. Ralph isn't sure. He says the beast is sitting up by the signal fire as if trying to intercept their rescue. (full context)
Civilization Theme Icon
Savagery and the "Beast" Theme Icon
Spirituality and Religion Theme Icon
...the mountain. Piggy considers the suggestion insane. He says they should just build a signal fire on the beach. (full context)
Savagery and the "Beast" Theme Icon
...(a female pig). Jack cuts off its head. He decides they'll raid Ralph's camp fore fire to cook the pig, and invite everyone to a feast. Roger, meanwhile, sharpens a stick... (full context)
Civilization Theme Icon
Savagery and the "Beast" Theme Icon
Jack emerges from the forest into Ralph's camp. As his followers steal fire from the signal fire, he invites Ralph's group to come his feast, then disappears. (full context)
Chapter 10
Civilization Theme Icon
Savagery and the "Beast" Theme Icon
...Piggy's glasses. Meanwhile, Ralph, Piggy, and Samneric discover four people aren't enough to keep the fire going. They decide to keep it burning only during the day. That night, Jack and... (full context)
Chapter 11
Civilization Theme Icon
Savagery and the "Beast" Theme Icon
Ralph demands that Jack return Piggy's glasses. He mentions again the importance of the signal fire. Jack's tribe has only a cooking fire, he points out. In response, Jack orders his... (full context)
Chapter 12
Savagery and the "Beast" Theme Icon
...then tries to storm it. They can't get in, so they set the thicket on fire. Ralph breaks from the thicket and runs into the jungle. The tribe follows, spreading out... (full context)