The only thing that is keeping the boys alive is hope. The only thing that keeps anyone alive is hope. Without hope we have no reason to live or t keep moving forward. For some people the reason for living is the hope of getting rich, or the hope of happiness, or even the hope of life after death. For the boys on the island hope is crucial in their survival.
Ralph clings to the hope that his Father with come in and rescue him, Piggy believes that eventually he will be back at his aunties candy shop, and Jack has the hope of becoming a great hunter and staying on the island. All the boys are striving to live on the island because hope is moving them forward. Without hope they might as well already be dead.
On page 81 of Lord of The Flies Ralph says “We’ve got to make smoke up there – or die”. Ralph says this in a time of despair. Its right after he finds the fire burnt out, and the ship that they spotted has sailed away. He feels that their last and only hope of ever getting off the treacherous, isolated island is to keep the fire lit and get the attention of a ship. He feels that without the fire lit and smoke rising there is no hope of ever getting off the island.
The fire and the smoke represents hope, responsibility, and togetherness. The hope is that it will someday eventually get the boys rescued. It was Jack and the hunter’s responsibility to keep it lit however they could not do so because they were hunting. The fire also brings the boys together. The boys gathered around the fire when Jack kills the pig, even though the boys are slowly falling apart they all joined together at the fire.
Ralph believe in the fire so much that he is willing to die for it. He believes that without it the possibility of ever getting rescued is very slim chance. All he wants is to get rescued off of the island (preferably by his father) and Ralph thinks that their only chance is smoke and flames. He believes in this fire so much that he is truly willing to die for it. Most adults do not have something that they believe so fully in that they are willing to die for, and Ralph is only a twelve year old boy who stands on his head. It is a very substantial statement for him to claim that the boys should make smoke up on top of the mountain or die.
Without the fire the ship will likely never see them and will simply just pass by. The boys truly need the smokey and the flames to survive. Without the smoke being spotted they will likely slowly but surely lose their sanity and/or kill each other off. At the very least the fire gives the boys a small piece of mind. They might be angry at each other but they still have the hopes of being saved and never having to see each other again.