Lord Of The Flies Signal Fire Analysis

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Being stranded on an island with no contact with society may not be a reality for many people. The longer people have no contact with society, the more they rely on their instincts to survive. This requires looser morals and beliefs, and as William Golding argues, even a descent into savagery. In Lord of the Flies, William Golding shows how humans become savages without the constraints of society by using the signal fire as a motif, through Piggy’s relationship with the conch, and through Jack’s rise to power, demonstrating the disintegration of civilization throughout the novel. Throughout the book, the signal fire’s activity directly corresponds to the boys’ loss of society, and as the boys become more savage, the signal fire fluctuates as a priority, showing Golding’s message that the loss of society enables the emergence of mankind’s inner savagery. At the beginning of the book, the upkeep of the signal fire is a non-negotiable duty for the boys, showing how they are still attached to society. Jack and his hunters abandon this duty, and an outraged Ralph confronts them, telling them that they should not “let that fire out,” and that Jack promised to “keep the smoke going” (Golding 71). When Ralph tells the hunters that the fire should not go out, it becomes apparent that Ralph views the fire as a duty that everyone must adhere to, and this is exemplified when Ralph confronts Jack, demonstrating that Ralph believes in society and that the boys will be rescued. During
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