Salt to the Sea

Salt to the Sea

by

Ruta Sepetys

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A German refugee in her fifties who travels with Joana, the Poet, Ingrid, Klaus, and others. She is exceptionally tall, and exceptionally rude, often making offensive statements and attempting to mitigate their effects by adding “sorry” to the end. Because of this she is sometimes referred to as “Sorry Eva.” Eva seems to like her travel companions not for their company but for their utility, as traveling in a group is easier than traveling alone. As a result, she is unwilling to help anyone, if by helping them she would potentially put herself in danger or jeopardize her own evacuation.

Eva Quotes in Salt to the Sea

The Salt to the Sea quotes below are all either spoken by Eva or refer to Eva. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Agency, Willpower, and Fate Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Penguin edition of Salt to the Sea published in 2016.
14. Joana Quotes

My heart ached for the girl. What had she seen? And deep down I knew the truth. Hitler was pushing out Polish girls like Emilia to make room for “Baltic Germans,” people with German heritage. Like me. My father was Lithuanian but my mother’s family had German roots. That’s why we were able to flee from Stalin into the barbed arms of Hitler.
“You know, I think it could be worse,” said Eva.
“What do you mean?”

“My husband told me that Hitler suspected the Polish intellectuals of anti-Nazi activity. The senior professors in Lwów, they were all executed. So the girl’s father, sorry, but he was probably strangled with piano wire and—”

“Stop, Eva.”
“We can’t bring the girl with us. Her coat is splattered with blood. She’s clearly in trouble. And she’s Polish.”
“And I’m Lithuanian. Are you going to toss me out too?” I was sick of it. Sick of hearing the phrase German Only. Could we really turn our backs on innocent homeless children? They were victims, not soldiers. But I knew others felt differently. I looked over at the girl in the corner, tears streaking her filthy face. She was fifteen and alone. The tears reminded me of someone. The memory opened a small door In my mind and the dark voice slipped through it.

It’s all your fault.

Related Characters: Joana Vilkas (speaker), Eva (speaker), Emilia Stozek, Adolf Hitler
Page Number: 30
Explanation and Analysis:
103. Emilia Quotes

Everything hurt. My strength dissolved into exhaustion.

Wasn’t a person supposed to feel better after telling the truth? Perhaps there was no peace because Joana hadn’t understood or hadn’t heard me. Was it enough to admit the lie to yourself and the heavens, or did you have to tell someone who listened?
For months I had done so well. Most days I actually believed my own story. Yes, August Kleist existed. He visited the farm for a while during my stay. He carried wood for me, climbed the ladder so I didn’t have to, shared his plums, and defended me in front of his mother. He did it all because he was a kind person. But I didn’t exist for him the way he existed for me. He left before it happened.

Related Characters: Emilia Stozek (speaker), Joana Vilkas, Eva, August Kleist, Erna Kleist
Page Number: 238
Explanation and Analysis:
Get the entire Salt to the Sea LitChart as a printable PDF.
Salt to the Sea PDF

Eva Character Timeline in Salt to the Sea

The timeline below shows where the character Eva appears in Salt to the Sea. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
1. Joana
Family and Community vs. Selfishness  Theme Icon
...fleeing north through East Prussia to the Baltic Sea. Her traveling companions include the Poet, Eva, and Ingrid.  Evacuation orders have not technically been issued, and so the group would be... (full context)
14. Joana
Memory and Survival  Theme Icon
Family and Community vs. Selfishness  Theme Icon
Florian and Emilia make Joana nervous. She knows Eva speaks a little Polish and so asks her to talk to Emilia. Both Joana and... (full context)
Agency, Willpower, and Fate Theme Icon
Eva reports back that Emilia has no papers but is Polish, and that she grew up... (full context)
Agency, Willpower, and Fate Theme Icon
Memory and Survival  Theme Icon
Family and Community vs. Selfishness  Theme Icon
...that the extermination of Polish girls is “to make room for ‘Baltic Germans,’” like Joana. Eva thinks that Emilia is a threat to the group because she is Polish. Joana pushes... (full context)
20. Emilia
Agency, Willpower, and Fate Theme Icon
Storytelling and Fantasy  Theme Icon
Family and Community vs. Selfishness  Theme Icon
Emilia doesn’t trust the refugees in the barn, especially Eva, but she trusts Florian, her “knight.” Florian tries to tell her to stay behind, explaining... (full context)
36. Joana
Family and Community vs. Selfishness  Theme Icon
Joana joins the other refugees by the fire. Eva points out that Florian is cute, and suggests that Joana could become romantically involved with... (full context)
Agency, Willpower, and Fate Theme Icon
Family and Community vs. Selfishness  Theme Icon
Eva comments on the destruction of the manor. She and Joana agree it was likely destroyed... (full context)
37. Emilia
Storytelling and Fantasy  Theme Icon
Family and Community vs. Selfishness  Theme Icon
Eva and Joana come over to Emilia to ask her about her pregnancy. Eva wonders if... (full context)
39. Florian
Memory and Survival  Theme Icon
Family and Community vs. Selfishness  Theme Icon
...a gramophone and is playing a song by Swedish singer Zarah Leander, over and over. Eva and the Poet are dancing together. It reminds Florian of easier times. (full context)
41. Emilia
Family and Community vs. Selfishness  Theme Icon
...She observes her fellow travelers as they sleep. Everything is calm, for a moment, until Eva begins to scream. She had explored upstairs and found the Prussian family who owned the... (full context)
42. Florian
Agency, Willpower, and Fate Theme Icon
Family and Community vs. Selfishness  Theme Icon
No one wants to stay in the house after Eva’s discovery. They pack up and resume their journey. Eva complains that Florian and Emilia should... (full context)
44. Joana
Memory and Survival  Theme Icon
...wants to help people but there are too many and the scene is too chaotic. Eva asks people where they’ve come from and finds a Lithuanian woman. When Joana asks about... (full context)
59. Joana
Family and Community vs. Selfishness  Theme Icon
...Florian saved Joana, and also Emilia, who had begun to scramble towards Ingrid as well. Eva, meanwhile, was the only one who made no effort to save anyone. (full context)
63. Florian
Family and Community vs. Selfishness  Theme Icon
...city, which is a relief. However, as he turns to leave, he sees Joana, Klaus, Eva, and the Poet. Joana looks at him as if saying, “you owe us,” give us... (full context)
73. Joana
Memory and Survival  Theme Icon
...treatment, and believes it is unfair that her skill will make her a priority passenger. Eva jokes that a letter “saying you’re good at dealing with blood and guts” isn’t something... (full context)
Memory and Survival  Theme Icon
Family and Community vs. Selfishness  Theme Icon
Eva continues that Joana doesn’t have time to be moral. Personally, Eva was happy to meet... (full context)
81. Emilia
Family and Community vs. Selfishness  Theme Icon
Emilia feels abandoned, both by Joana and Florian, her “knight.” However, she still has Eva, the Poet, and Klaus. Alfred leads Emilia to the front of a long line of... (full context)
85. Joana
Family and Community vs. Selfishness  Theme Icon
Joana runs into Eva, who is looking for the wagon full of her belongings.  Joana worries that if Eva... (full context)
107. Florian
Family and Community vs. Selfishness  Theme Icon
Before they go to the next inspection point, Eva appears, carrying the Poet’s carpetbag and Joana’s suitcase. She managed to get passage on a... (full context)
123. Florian
Family and Community vs. Selfishness  Theme Icon
...appointed her. She’s also angry that he’s putting her in danger. She remembers Ingrid and Eva saying he was a thief and a spy. She regrets ever trusting him. Florian wonders... (full context)