Salt to the Sea

Salt to the Sea


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Salt to the Sea: 70. Alfred Summary & Analysis

Alfred reads a letter his mother sent him two months ago. She tells him she is worried because he has not written her anything. Hannelore’s house is empty, and Mutter suspects Alfred always liked Hannelore. She wonders if he has some secret related to her, and reminds him he is free to tell her if he wants to. Mutter writes, “when the war is over there will be a ‘right side’ to land upon. The ‘wrong side’ could have grave consequences.” She hopes Alfred understands. Alfred quickly writes back. He lies that Mutter’s letter has just arrived, and explains he’s been too busy to write anyway. He tells her he doesn’t know or care about Hannelore or her family.
Alfred has spent much of the novel thus far writing imaginary letters to Hannelore, but here it is revealed that he has selfishly spent no time writing to someone who actually loves and cares about him. Mutter’s assumption (that Nazis will be on the right side and everyone else will be on the wrong side) is ironic, since the Nazis lost the war and their philosophy was discredited.
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