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+
  • Easy-to-use guides to literature, poetry, literary terms, and more
  • Super-helpful explanations and citation info for over 30,000 important quotes
  • Unrestricted access to all 50,000+ pages of our website and mobile app
Get LitCharts A+

Salt to the Sea: 9. Emilia Summary & Analysis

Emilia can tell that Florian wants to leave. She observes, “His race was his own.”
Emilia misinterprets Florian’s reluctance to walk with her as Nazi racism and bigotry when in fact he is worried that she will slow him down.
Agency, Willpower, and Fate Theme Icon
Family and Community vs. Selfishness  Theme Icon
Related Quotes
Emilia doesn’t know Florian’s name, but she imagines he is “a sleeping knight” out of Polish folklore, in which knights slept in the mountains, but “if Poland was in distress, the knights would awaken and come to the rescue.”
This is the beginning of one of Emilia’s multiple fantasies. After many months alone and uncared for, Emilia takes comfort in the idea that Florian is a knight who exists specifically to protect Polish people like herself.
Storytelling and Fantasy  Theme Icon
Florian runs away from Emilia and the military planes overhead. She chases after him as she wonders, “Why did everyone leave me?” Emilia feels like a duck moving through the snow. This reminds her of a nursery rhyme her mother used to sing to her about “All the little duckies with their heads in the water.” She wonders “where were all the duckies now?”
Emilia returns to this nursery rhyme frequently throughout the novel. It reminds her of her mother and comforts her. It is also slightly ominous. When Emilia wonders “where were all the duckies now?” she seems to be referring to her childhood friends, her loved ones, and her own youthful innocence. 
Storytelling and Fantasy  Theme Icon
Memory and Survival  Theme Icon