Salt to the Sea

Salt to the Sea

by

Ruta Sepetys

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Salt to the Sea: 71. Florian Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
While the rest of the group has settled on the floor of the movie house, Florian has barricaded himself inside the production booth. From his perch, he can see Joana making her way up to him. He knew she would come to see him and inspect his ear because she has this “terrible need to heal people.”
Unkindly, Florian is happy to exploit what he has identified as Joana’s need to heal others, which stems from her guilt at having evacuated Lithuania and survived when much of her family died.
Themes
Memory and Survival  Theme Icon
Joana inspects Florian and they flirt. She tells him she calls him “the German” because she does not know his name, and he corrects her, explaining he’s Prussian. She asks him to call her Joana, not “nurse” or “girl” as he has been.
As Joana and Florian get to know each other better, they reveal their names. This is an intimate act, and gives clues to their identities that will allow them to determine if they do want a future together.
Themes
Agency, Willpower, and Fate Theme Icon
Family and Community vs. Selfishness  Theme Icon
Florian wonders if Joana is married. She says she isn’t. He silently thinks about the song “Lili Marleen,” and wonders if a soldier is waiting for Joana somewhere.  
Once again, the song “Lili Marleen” symbolizes love and longing. Florian’s reference to it suggests that, despite his initial hesitation, he loves and longs for Joana.
Themes
Family and Community vs. Selfishness  Theme Icon
Joana reveals that Emilia reminds her of someone (her cousin Lina). Florian realizes he can manipulate Joana by talking about family. He tells her Emilia reminds him of his little sister, Anni, whom he says he is going to find. Florian likes Joana, and is attracted to her, which makes him feel guilty about manipulating her in this way.
Both Florian and Joana feel sympathetically towards Emilia because she reminds them of other important people in their lives. However, Florian’s decision to reveal this to Joana is manipulative; he only tells her in order to get her to let her guard down and reveal more personal information to him. 
Themes
Memory and Survival  Theme Icon
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Joana reveals that she left a signed note in the Prussian mansion saying she’d borrowed their sewing kit. She worries someone will find the note and think she killed them. What Florian doesn’t reveal is that he noticed the note and took it from the house to protect her. As she gets up to leave, Joana tells Florian she knows he stole something from her. He pretends not to know what she’s talking about, and suggests she check again. Although he did steal something, he has since snuck it back into her suitcase.
Joana always feels obligated to do the “right thing,” even if it puts her in danger. Florian, meanwhile, feels it is only necessary to protect those he cares about. Because he cares about Joana, he stole the note with the aim of protecting her, even if leaving it was perhaps a more ethical thing to do.
Themes
Memory and Survival  Theme Icon
Family and Community vs. Selfishness  Theme Icon