Salt to the Sea

Salt to the Sea

by

Ruta Sepetys

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Salt to the Sea: 167. Alfred Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Alfred writes a final mental letter to Hannelore. He remembers their last interactions. He had tired to tell her about Hitler’s theories on the sidewalk one day, and she had run away. Hannelore’s father was Jewish, but her mother was German, and out of spite Alfred told the Hitler Youth boys about her father. As a result, Nazi officers came to Hannelore’s house to take her and her father away. Alfred expected Hannelore to disavow her father, but instead Hannelore loudly declared to the street, and to the world, “I am Jewish!” Alfred remains confused by this. He notes, “your proclamation… it almost sounded like pride.”
Alfred’s letter finally contains what appears to be a true, unembellished look at the past. Hannelore was Jewish, and Alfred turned her family in because she rejected him. Alfred expected Hannelore to reject her family because he has no true sense of obligation to anyone but himself. However, Hannelore loved her family and her Jewish heritage, and decided she would rather be imprisoned or put to death than reject an important part of herself. 
Themes
Agency, Willpower, and Fate Theme Icon
Storytelling and Fantasy  Theme Icon
Family and Community vs. Selfishness  Theme Icon
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