In this book, the main theme is that fate is held on your hands not others. This book Salt to the Sea written by Ruta Sepetya. This book is a historical fiction book, it is about WWII, and there are different sections of the book, separated by different main characters in this story. There are four main characters and four different perspectives. The main characters are Emilia, Florian, Joanna, and Alfred, they all have a very different identity. But they have one thing in common it is that they are all affected by WWII and affected from the Nazi’s.
In World War II, people were determined by their race, religion, sex, and health. At the start of the book, Nazi’s racial prediction of the people’s fate has been internalized by many characters. Joana claims that “Our papers determined our fate.” (p 104, Sepetya). Therefore, it has been proved that individual will to survive is more powerful than the death penalty approved by the state. “He wanted to leave me. His race was his own. Who was this German boy, old enough to be in the Wehrmacht, yet dressed in civilian clothes?” (p59, Sepetya) This is said by Emilia which supports the theme of this book that fate is held by ourselves.
Throughout Europe during WWII, the fate of individuals during wars depends on the specific symbols of their identity – a fact that a lot of people sense of despair and helplessness for many who believe they are doomed to failure. As one of the main characters Emilia. She endured the Nazi murder of her family, rape and got pregnant, and found it difficult to survive. Which resulted in her to become superstitious and she thinks everywhere has hints for her death. Her mother died in childbirth and so she believes that she too will die for giving birth to her child. But later on in the story, these things did not happen and she killed a Nazi soldier and saved her child. Therefore, fate is held in Emilia’s hand, not in other people.
In conclusion, this book, Salt to the Sea is trying to tell the reader and audience that fate is always held in our hands and nobody else can control it. In this book every character survived from WWII had been through a lot and they must take care of their own destinies. “Death, it seems, has a mind of its own” (p135, Sepetya)