Salt to the Sea

Salt to the Sea

by

Ruta Sepetys

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Salt to the Sea: 42. Florian Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Florian suspects the Prussian family had been eating dinner when Russian forces began to approach. The patriarch, rather than “allow his family or legacy to be stripped from their land” decided they should “die with dignity.” He sent them to bed, shot them all, and then shot himself.
The Prussian family decided to take control of their own destinies. Knowing they would surely die when the Soviet forces arrived, they decided to die as peacefully as possible and on their own terms.
Themes
Agency, Willpower, and Fate Theme Icon
Memory and Survival  Theme Icon
No one wants to stay in the house after Eva’s discovery. They pack up and resume their journey. Eva complains that Florian and Emilia should not be allowed to come with them. Emilia, because she’s Polish, and Florian, because Eva believes he is a deserter. Florian tells her that he’s not a deserter, and Joana argues Emilia needs to stay with the group and ride on their cart because she may be going into early labor. Ingrid breaks up the fight by pointing out the sound of nearby voices. The group has intersected a long line of fellow refugees, fleeing to the sea. Florian infers evacuation orders have finally been issued. 
Eva displays both selfishness and bigotry as she argues against letting Florian and Emilia tag along. Eva’s own wellbeing is more important to her than helping protect two strangers. Although Emilia is pregnant, and has done nothing wrong, Eva uses the fact that Nazis are actively targeting people like her as a reason to leave her behind. Whether or not Eva believes Polish people are inferior is beside the point; instead of feeling pity or empathy for Emilia, Eva can only see how she would be negatively affected by harboring a person the Nazis considered “undesirable.”
Themes
Agency, Willpower, and Fate Theme Icon
Family and Community vs. Selfishness  Theme Icon