Between Shades of Gray

Between Shades of Gray

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Between Shades of Gray Chapter 33 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
When the pit they’re digging is more than two feet deep, the women are given a break and some water. Lina is in pain from the effort of digging. The women go into the woods to relieve themselves, and joke about passing the talcum powder, and the ridiculousness of squatting in a circle to use the bathroom. They laugh, and enjoy the feeling of a joke. Elena says that the NKVD cannot take their sense of humor away from them.
Despite the horrors they have endured together so far, the women become friends, sharing their memories from home and their abilities to make one another momentarily forget their situation. They cling to their mental resilience, something the NKVD cannot physically take away from them.
Themes
Morality, Integrity, and Sacrifice Theme Icon
Strength and Identity Theme Icon
Women and Mothers Theme Icon
In a flashback, Lina recalls enjoying a night with her cousins, aunt, and uncle. Joana and Lina take a walk along the Baltic Sea. Lina insists they take a nighttime swim, so the girls jump into the water. Joana asks Lina if she will paint the image of them in the sea in the dark. Joana points out a boy among a group passing by on the beach, and tells Lina it is a boy she has been seeing. The girls exit the water to chat with the boys, who then excuse themselves to attend a meeting. The kind of meeting they are attending remains a mystery to Lina. The girls agree not to tell their parents about meeting the boys, or what they said about a meeting. Back in the woods, Lina wonders if Joana knew what the meeting was about. As the women head back to work, Lina wonders if they are digging their own grave.
Lina is an adolescent, on the cusp of developing into a young woman. She admires her cousin Joana, who is only a few years older but seems, to Lina, much more mature. Beach vacations and boys once were something to giggle about with her cousin, but now seem worlds away. Looking back, Lina wonders if they boys were discussing anything that had to do with the Soviet Union or some kind of Lithuanian resistance. Similar to the priests issuing the last rites, Lina wonders if the NKVD are anticipating their deaths.
Themes
Strength and Identity Theme Icon
Genocide Theme Icon
Women and Mothers Theme Icon