Salt to the Sea

Salt to the Sea

by

Ruta Sepetys

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Salt to the Sea: 103. Emilia Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Emilia is shocked to be alive. She is also surprised she does not feel better; she thought she was supposed to feel better after telling the truth. She wonders if it was because Joana didn’t understand her and asks herself, “Was it enough to admit the lie to yourself and the heavens, or did you have to tell someone who listened?”
Emilia has finally begun to dismantle the fantasy she has constructed around her past to protect herself. Much of her pain comes from the trauma of her past, and much comes from her denial of it.
Themes
Storytelling and Fantasy  Theme Icon
Related Quotes
August did exist, and was kind to her, but he wasn’t the father of her child. Instead, one day Russian soldiers arrived at the Kleist family farm. They tried to take Else, but Mrs. Kleist told them “we have one who is much prettier,” and traded Emilia for her own daughter. Emilia was dragged to the cold cellar, where the Soviet soldiers raped her. 
Emilia finally looks past her fantasy to the real events of the past. Mrs. Kleist was unwilling to accept Emilia as a member of her family worthy of protection because Emilia was Polish. This directly led to Emilia’s rape.
Themes
Agency, Willpower, and Fate Theme Icon
Storytelling and Fantasy  Theme Icon
Family and Community vs. Selfishness  Theme Icon
Joana brings Emilia’s baby to her. Dr. Richter asks if she has a name yet, but Emilia shakes her head no. Exhausted, Emilia closes her eyes and waits to die.
Having survived a traumatic rape and carried that child to term, all the while expecting to die in childbirth, Emilia is unprepared for motherhood.
Themes
Memory and Survival  Theme Icon
Family and Community vs. Selfishness  Theme Icon