Salt to the Sea

Salt to the Sea


Ruta Sepetys

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Salt to the Sea: 78. Florian Summary & Analysis

Alfred draws attention to the group by ushering other refugees out of the way and announcing the presence of his party. Florian spots a group of Nazi officials up ahead. He knows that if they discover him, it could lead to trouble, and so he takes Alfred aside and explains he is on a secret mission, which requires Alfred’s help and discretion. Buoyed with his new purpose, and Florian’s promise that he could receive a commendation medal, Alfred becomes more discreet. Alfred reveals he has extra, blank boarding passes stored away. Florian asks Alfred to bring those passes to the movie house later. Alfred breaks off to retrieve them, and Florian salutes him by saying “Heil Hitler, sailor.” Alfred responds in kind.
Alfred frequently engages in fantasies where he has some very important or very secret mission. Florian’s half-lie, that he is engaged in a secret mission (true) for the Nazi Party (false) perfectly exploits Alfred’s preexisting need to feel special. Although he has difficulty caring for others, Alfred is able to care for Florian because he knows doing so will potentially lead to him (Alfred) receiving some award, which will only further confirm his importance.  
Storytelling and Fantasy  Theme Icon
Family and Community vs. Selfishness  Theme Icon