Between Shades of Gray

Between Shades of Gray

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Between Shades of Gray Chapter 19 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
The train with the Russian soldiers rolls away. Ona screams in anguish over the death of her child, but the bald man rudely tells her it is better off dead. Andrius yells at him, and tells him to shut up and stop being so pessimistic. No one tells Andrius to stop, and they are silently grateful that someone has said something to the bald man. Elena takes the baby from Ona, promising not to give it to the guards and to wrap it in something beautiful. The bald man replies that things aren’t going to get better with Germany invading—Hitler will only make things worse. Jonas returns from getting the buckets, and learns that the baby has died. Distraught, he marks the death of the child and beats the ground in anger. Andrius tells Lina to let him do it so as to get used to the constant deaths, since they will not stop anytime soon.
As the doctor predicted, there was no chance for the newborn baby to survive in the squalor of the train. Having lost both her husband and her baby, Ona goes mad with grief. The other women try to comfort her, but it is likely difficult for Ona to accept their comfort when their own children are alive and present right in front of her. Jonas in particular becomes distraught at the death of the baby—it was never given a chance to live. The arbitrary cruelty of the NKVD is exemplified by this tragedy: even an innocent soul is sentenced to death for crimes it couldn’t possible have committed.
Themes
Morality, Integrity, and Sacrifice Theme Icon
Strength and Identity Theme Icon
The Power of Art Theme Icon
Genocide Theme Icon
Women and Mothers Theme Icon
People discuss what might happen with Hitler in Lithuania. Lina wonders what her father would say, and recalls her parents whispering about politics late into the night. She misses her father terribly, and imagines his smiling face. In a flashback, she recalls drawing a portrait of her father. They discuss her cousin Joana, who wants to be a doctor. Lina has written her a note but hasn’t heard back, which Kostas attributes to her hard studying. Joana is seventeen, and Lina looks up to her very much. When Lina shows her father the portrait, he notes that her signature is so scribbled that no one will be able to read it. Lina replies that he will know it’s hers.
Throughout the journey, Lina has frequent flashbacks to conversations her parents had regarding politics. Though she knew things were changing, particularly with the annexation of Lithuania, she had no idea to what extent her family was in danger. Now that she has been thrust into political turmoil, she begins to piece together things she heard over the last few months. Lina in particular misses her cousin Joana, whom she looked up to, and who now has the kind of life Lina is not sure she will ever experience again.
Themes
Morality, Integrity, and Sacrifice Theme Icon
Strength and Identity Theme Icon
The Power of Art Theme Icon