Salt to the Sea

Salt to the Sea

by

Ruta Sepetys

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Salt to the Sea: 18. Joana Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
As Joana begins to operate on Florian, she tells him about her repatriation. Stalin occupied Lithuania, but because her mother was German, Hitler allowed her family to come to Germany. Florian asks if Hitler is her “savior.” The tone of his voice makes it clear he is either “critical of the Nazi Party, critical of [Joana] for repatriating, or both.” Joana thinks to herself that she feels guilty enough without his criticism.
Florian’s critical tone comes from his feelings towards Hitler. He does not support the Nazis, and although Joana would have died without the help of the Nazi Party, Florian remains skeptical. Joana, too, is conflicted. She understands that repatriation saved her life, but she does not support the Nazis or their mission. 
Themes
Agency, Willpower, and Fate Theme Icon
Memory and Survival  Theme Icon
As she operates on his side, Joana tries to take Florian’s identification papers from his pocket. He notices and stops her. After the surgery is over, he grabs her by the arm and threatens her. He is upset that she has both seen his papers and his wound.
Florian is so concerned with his own survival that he will jeopardize his budding relationship with Joana, who is actively saving his life, to protect his identity.
Themes
Memory and Survival  Theme Icon
Family and Community vs. Selfishness  Theme Icon
Feeling vulnerable, Florian asks Joana for a fact about her. He begins to fall asleep as he waits for an answer, which she eventually gives him. She whispers, “I’m a murderer.” 
Joana’s survivor’s guilt has intensified to the point that she feels her survival actively led to the deaths of those people whom she left behind. 
Themes
Memory and Survival  Theme Icon