Salt to the Sea

Salt to the Sea

by

Ruta Sepetys

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Salt to the Sea: 133. Alfred Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Seasick, Alfred tries to check himself into the infirmary. The injured soldiers there mock him, and the nurses turn him away.
Alfred is unable to see that his own affliction is less severe than that of soldiers who were injured in combat.
Themes
Family and Community vs. Selfishness  Theme Icon
Alfred composes another mental letter to Hannelore. He remembers playing on the same team as her once, during a game in the street. He wonders why sometimes people don’t “assist or even welcome those on their own team,” but is even more confused by people who “welcome those from an opposing team.” He gives the example of Hannelore’s own parents. He does not understand why her mother married her father. When he asked Hannelore’s mother about this, she explained her reasons for marrying her husband: “Because I love him.”
Although Alfred rarely seems interested in collaborating with or helping others, he is nonetheless judgmental of Hannelore’s mother who, he will later reveal, was an ethnic German woman married to a Jewish man.  Alfred cannot understand how love can transcend the strict racial, religious, and ethnic boundaries drawn by the Nazi Party, although his love for Hannelore technically transcends this boundary.
Themes
Storytelling and Fantasy  Theme Icon
Family and Community vs. Selfishness  Theme Icon