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The relationship of fire to the book is essentially the same as the relationship between fire and the protagonist. We see the fire through the lens of Cole's development. Fire comes to represent life, light, safety and destruction. Cole had to respect what fire could do. Like nature, Cole discovers that fire needed to be respected or it could consume him. Initially Cole uses it to burn his shelter down. After Cole becomes more self-aware, he begins to use fire, not only for survival, but as a healing force. He performs his dances around it and uses its energy to awaken his spirit which has remained dormant for so long.