Fire is used in several ways in Lord of the Flies. From the very beginning of the novel, Ralph is determined to keep a signal fire going, in case a ship passes near to the island. That’s fine until the first signal fire the boys light begins burning out of control, and at least one boy is missing (read: burned up). The fire thus becomes a symbol, paradoxically, of both hope of rescue and of destruction. Ironically, it is because of a fire that Jack lights at the end of the novel – in his attempt to hunt and kill Ralph – that the boys are rescued. What could that possibly mean, the fact that rescue equals destruction? It brings us back, as all these symbols do, to The Big Massive Allegory of the novel. If the boys’ world is just an allegory for the real world, then they’re not being rescued at all; they’re just going on to a larger scale of violence and, yes, that’s right, destruction. Hence, rescue equals destruction.