The Roles of Fire and Water in the Lord of the Flies Essay Example

In the novel, Lord of the Flies, by William Golding, several boys were stranded on an island with no adults after a plane crash during an imaginary World War Three. These boys had nothing else other than each other. Throughout the novel, the roles of fire and water are reversed; one usually associates fire with destruction and death as opposed to water with life and survival. However, these two elements switch places which makes the boys change their way of surviving on the island.

When the boys got to the island, one of the first things that they realized was the water. They thought that it would help them live and that only good things would come from it. The boys were very wrong. There are many examples that demonstrate how the role of water was reversed. First, three of the characters in the novel got killed and died. Two of them were washed away in the water and never found ever again. Those two boys were Simon and Piggy. Simon got brutally murdered by the other boys on the island. He was ripped and pulled apart until there was almost nothing left of him. Piggy got murdered by some of the boys rolling a huge stone over him which flung him threw the air and killed him. Both of these boys were murdered by the other boys. Both of these boys bodies were then washed away in the water.

This shows that civilization is crumbling and disappearing. Whenever they would kill someone, they would just “disappear” and it would be as if nothing ever happened; which to them meant that they didn't do anything wrong. Water was kind of hiding the boys’ evilness and that made the boys more and more evil and vicious. Also, Percival, who was one of the boys, said something to Jack that scared the boys and changed the way they lived on the island. He said that “the beast comes out of the sea” (Golding 88). The beast was constantly making the boys live in fear but here was always something in the back of each boys mind.

This something was whether the beast actually existed. They were almost positive that it did but there was still that small chance that the beast never even existed and they were hoping that was the case. After Percival said that the beast lives and comes from the water, it made the beast seem very real. This made the boys even more scared because at this time there wasn't even a possibility that the beast didn't exist. Now, not only did they know that the beast was a living thing, but they knew that it lived in the water.

One of the first things that the boys actually did that accomplished something for them was they started a fire to send smoke signals. Usually, fire is looked upon as something that's destructive but throughout the novel, the boys use fire for good and good things come from fire. When the boys realized that they could send smoke signals to help them get rescued, not only was it a brilliant idea, but it also made them feel accomplished and prepared for the things that are about to come at them on this island.

Also, during the nights, the island got very cold and they didn't have any other clothing to put on so they needed something else to keep them warm. They figured that their fire could serve a dual purpose. Sending out smoke signals, and keeping them warm. The fires that they made were able to keep them warm for all of the many weeks that they were stranded on the island. Without it, they wouldn't have been able to survive for as long as they did. Lastly, at the very end of the book, the two camps of boys were fighting and it got so bad that some of the boys started a fire.

One would think that this fire would be bad and it might harm the boys, but it ended up being the best thing that happened to them on the island because this fire saved them. As the fire started, a trim cruiser was sailing by and saw the smoke from the fire. On this boat was a naval officer. When the cruiser got to the island, the naval officer got off and after a few questions were asked, he brought them on his boat and took them home. Although this made the boys reflect upon all of their actions on the island and how savage they had become, they were truly happy to finally leave this island and go home. None of that would have been able to happen if it wasn't for the fire that they started and the smoke that came from it. 

Throughout the entire novel, the roles of fire and water are completely reversed as one usually associates fire with destruction and death as opposed to water with survival and life. This role reversal played such a huge role in the novel and none of them even realized. One would think that British school boys who are stranded on an island would act so proper and put together but they ended up becoming fierce, savage, and completely evil. Part of the reason why this happened was because the roles of fire and water were reversed and that was something that these boys weren't prepared for. Not only were the roles of fire and water reversed, but the roles  of the British school boys were reversed and they ended up acting completely differently.



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