Salt to the Sea

Salt to the Sea

by

Ruta Sepetys

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Salt to the Sea: 135. Florian Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Joana clarifies that she believes her actions indirectly led to the death her cousin. When she was evacuating Lithuania, she wrote Lina a letter explaining her family had to go because her father was involved with an anti-Soviet group. The letter was intercepted, and the Soviets came looking for Joana’s family, taking Lina’s instead.   
Joana is not literally a murderer, but she is burdened by guilt as though she directly killed her relative. Her accidentally harmful actions led to her cousin’s imprisonment, but in no way did Joana directly bring about Lina’s death.
Themes
Memory and Survival  Theme Icon
Joana knows her uncle died in a Soviet gulag, and believes Lina, if she is still alive, is in Siberia. Joana feels “so guilty. My freedom cost her family their lives.” Lina was about to go to art school when she was arrested. This is why Joana has been carrying a drawing with her—the same drawing Florian briefly stole.
Joana has carried her guilt with her as well as her memories. Although carrying Lina’s drawing with her is painful, Joana seems to draw strength from this connection to her past and her family.
Themes
Memory and Survival  Theme Icon
Joana has finished cutting Florian’s hair. They discuss what they’ll do once they land in Kiel. Both will try to contact their respective families. They make a plan to meet up later. As she leaves, Joana relays Koch’s message to Florian. He is uneasy. Dr. Lange has died. Florian believes he is next.
Florian remains superstitious and pessimistic about his future. Although he does not explicitly say this, he is likely considering the curse of the Amber Room, which he believes led to Dr. Lange’s death.
Themes
Agency, Willpower, and Fate Theme Icon