Salt to the Sea (Sepetys) - Discussion Questions

Discussion Questions
We'll add publisher questions if and when they're made available. In the meantime, use these LitLovers talking points to kick off a discussion for Salt to the Sea...then take off on your own:

1. Ruta Sepetys tells her story through four different characters. How do the four differ from one another and, more importantly, what perspectives do they bring to the story? Why might the author have chosen four points of view as opposed to a single narrative?

2. Follow-up to Question 1: Clearly, the least sympathetic character is Alfred—he borders on cartoonish in his villainy. What is his role in the novel—what does he reveal about Germany's role in the last stages of the war, and how does he help set up events on-board the ship?

3. Talk about how the relationships unfold among Joana, Emilia, and Florian.

4. Describe the conditions on the Wilhelm Gustloff. What was the most difficult hardship for you to read about?

5. Even knowing the outcome of the story (it is a real life historical event), did you find yourself turning the pages quickly? If so, how does Sepetys create suspense even when the outcome is known?

6. How might you describe this story, despite its tragedy, as hopeful?

(Questions by LitLovers. Please feel free to use them, online of off, with attribution. Thanks.)

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