Salt to the Sea

Salt to the Sea

by

Ruta Sepetys

Teachers and parents! Struggling with distance learning? Our Teacher Edition on Salt to the Sea can help.

Salt to the Sea: 19. Florian Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
The next morning, Florian wonders if he dreamed his conversations with Joana. He is attracted to her, but realizes staying with her will slow him down, and time is of the essence. He decides to leave early in the morning. Before he goes he looks through Joana’s suitcase and steals an unnamed object. He thinks to himself “it wasn’t stealing. It was protection.” Ingrid wakes up and looks at him, but because she is blind Florian assumes she does not know what he is doing. 
Florian is concerned only with his own safety and his own wellbeing. Although he is attracted to Joana, he knows this will only compromise his journey, which requires him to continue forward unburdened.
Themes
Family and Community vs. Selfishness  Theme Icon
Outside, as Florian reorganizes his things, he thinks of Dr. Lange, the art director back in Königsberg with whom Florian apprenticed. Florian had loved Dr. Lange, and worked with him to restore artwork that had been stolen by the Nazis, although Florian didn’t realize this is where the artwork was coming from at the time.
Florian hasn’t always been as cold and antisocial as he is now. In the past, he formed a close relationship with the Nazi Dr. Lange, whom he respected and whose opinion he valued. Florian cared for this man so much that he didn’t even notice the literal war crimes he was committing on his behalf.
Themes
Family and Community vs. Selfishness  Theme Icon
Over the years, Florian began to realize that Dr. Lange was not as wonderful as he seemed. For starters, he collaborated with Gauleiter Erich Koch, a high-ranking Nazi official. Additionally, one day Florian was in a back room and found a stack of unopened letters. When Florian was training at art school he had written Dr. Lange frequently, and on this day he realized the Dr. had never read a single one of his notes. Florian snaps out of his reveries when Emilia runs out of the barn behind him.
Florian’s love of Dr. Lange began to dissipate when he realized that Dr. Lange didn’t feel the same way about him. Finding all his unread letters demonstrated to Florian that Lange only liked what Florian could do for him, not who Florian was as a person. In the end, it was this personal betrayal, less than Lange’s Nazi affiliation, that turned Florian against him.
Themes
Family and Community vs. Selfishness  Theme Icon