Salt to the Sea

Salt to the Sea

by

Ruta Sepetys

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Storks and Birds Symbol Analysis

Storks and Birds Symbol Icon

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.

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Storks and Birds Symbol Timeline in Salt to the Sea

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.
25. Emilia
Memory and Survival  Theme Icon
Back home, Emilia also loved waiting for storks to pass through her village each spring, where they would nest. Emilia’s family set up... (full context)
37. Emilia
Storytelling and Fantasy  Theme Icon
Family and Community vs. Selfishness  Theme Icon
...on her way to meet him, and begins to fantasize about their wedding, and the stork's nest they will have by their home. (full context)
49. Emilia
Agency, Willpower, and Fate Theme Icon
Memory and Survival  Theme Icon
Overhead, birds squawk. Emilia knows a legend that says “Seagulls were the souls of dead soldiers. Owls... (full context)
101. Joana
Family and Community vs. Selfishness  Theme Icon
...and so Joana must deliver the child alone. Emilia pushes her baby, “a perfect little bird,” into Joana’s waiting arms. (full context)
165. Florian
Agency, Willpower, and Fate Theme Icon
Memory and Survival  Theme Icon
Family and Community vs. Selfishness  Theme Icon
...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)
173. Emilia
Storytelling and Fantasy  Theme Icon
...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)