Salt to the Sea

Salt to the Sea


Ruta Sepetys

Teachers and parents! Struggling with distance learning? Our Teacher Edition on Salt to the Sea can help.

Everything you need
for every book you read.

"Sooo much more helpful than SparkNotes. The way the content is organized
and presented is seamlessly smooth, innovative, and comprehensive."
Get LitCharts A+

Salt to the Sea: 8. Florian Summary & Analysis

Florian leaves the cellar and Emilia follows him, crying. He knows that Hitler has occupied Poland, killing millions of ethnic Poles and Polish Jews. Florian and his father both agreed that Hitler was a coward, but he still has little sympathy for Emilia and whatever trauma she has endured.
Although Florian does not believe that ethnic Poles are inherently inferior to Baltic or Aryan Germans, he is uninterested in Emilia’s struggle because he is focused on his own journey.
Agency, Willpower, and Fate Theme Icon
Family and Community vs. Selfishness  Theme Icon
As Florian walks away, Emilia begins to cry. This reminds him of his little sister, Anni. He doesn’t know where she is, and imagines she, too, is alone and frightened. This thought, combined with the pain of his shrapnel wound, causes him to pause. Emilia takes this moment to catch up with him. Emilia hears the sound of planes above them. Bombs begin to fall, and anti-aircraft guns fire. Florian tries to push Emilia away but she drags him forward. He sees that she is bleeding and feels obligated to stay with her.
Florian is unmoved by what he assumes is Emilia’s tragic backstory—narrowly escaping the Nazi’s ethnic cleansing of Poland—but the memory of his own little sister and the horrors she might currently be enduring forces him to feel momentary empathy for Emilia.
Memory and Survival  Theme Icon
Family and Community vs. Selfishness  Theme Icon