Salt to the Sea

Salt to the Sea

by

Ruta Sepetys

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Salt to the Sea: 49. Emilia Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Florian has disappeared in the chaos. Emilia tries to look for him but Joana holds her back. She insists the group stay together, approach the military checkpoint where their papers will be inspected, and wait for the ice to freeze over.
Emilia is so fixated on Florian that she is willing to risk her life to find him. Luckily, just as Joana’s friends held her back from running into enemy fire to help the injured, Joana holds Emilia back.
Themes
Family and Community vs. Selfishness  Theme Icon
The nearest village was renamed Frauenburg, but was originally named Frombork. It was the home of the astronomer Copernicus. Emilia is reminded of the phrase “Per aspara ad astra,” taught to her by her father, which means “through hardship to the stars.” 
Memories of Emilia’s father, and the wisdom he imparted to her when she was younger, help motivate her now. She has been through hardship, but still has some hope that she will reach the “stars,” or a happier future.  
Themes
Memory and Survival  Theme Icon
Joana gives Emilia an identity card that she found on the body of a Latvian woman who died on the road. Emilia opens her coat so her pregnancy is revealed and unbraids her hair to look older. Joana will pretend Emilia is Latvian and cannot speak German.
Without papers, Emilia has no future. She will be pulled aside at the next checkpoint and sent to a labor camp or to her death. By adopting a new identity, she has a chance at survival.
Themes
Agency, Willpower, and Fate Theme Icon
Overhead, birds squawk. Emilia knows a legend that says “Seagulls were the souls of dead soldiers. Owls were the souls of women. Doves were the recently departed souls of unmarried girls.” She wonders, “Was there a bird for the souls of people like me?”
Emilia often returns to the idea of storks as symbolic of her united, happy family. Here, she wonders if she’ll ever be able to be a stork again, or if her pregnancy has doomed her and prevented her from having a happy future or afterlife. 
Themes
Agency, Willpower, and Fate Theme Icon
Memory and Survival  Theme Icon
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