Emilia often reminisces about her childhood home in Poland, and the storks that would nest nearby. For her, storks represent her family in happier times. Her longing for storks is a longing for a unified, living family, and a return to the homeland that has been stolen from her. Emilia primarily references storks, but when her daughter, Halinka, is born, she is described as a “little bird”—a little piece of home away from Poland. In Emilia’s final chapter, which seems to depict some kind of afterlife, she sees her mother (who has died) and her Jewish friends (who were killed in the war) once again. As she greets them, storks fly above her and land in their nest, symbolizing the reunification of her family and loved ones in the afterlife.
The timeline below shows where the symbol Storks and Birds appears in Salt to the Sea. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
...have fit the Poet and Emilia. He considers his pack. Everything—his papers, his forgery tools, the swan —was in it. He wonders why he engaged in “The endless circle of revenge: answering... (full context)
...child, is running around the kitchen, playing. Outside, are Emilia’s mother and her baby brother. Storks fly overhead, and her mother comments that the birds have finally come home. Emilia raises... (full context)