Between Shades of Gray

Between Shades of Gray

Between Shades of Gray Chapter 10 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Lina counts forty-six people in the train car, and imagines it to be a rolling coffin. She begins to draw in the dirt on the floor to pass the time. People speculate as to where the train might be heading. Lina and Jonas begin to chat with a boy Lina’s age named Andrius Arvydas while Elena speaks to his mother. Andrius says his father is in the army, and that he has been gone for a while. Lina observes that his mother seems “fancy and unaccustomed to dirt.” Jonas wonders if he will be let out to look for Kostas at the station, but Andrius says he saw someone beaten for trying to run away. Lina calls the NKVD “pigs,” and Andrius tells her to be careful with what she says.
Like Lina’s family, Andrius’ family is part of the Lithuanian elite. His father’s status as a member of the military means that his father was likely one of the first people to be targeted by the NKVD. The NKVD, keen to remove anybody who has expressed or been privy to anti-Soviet sentiments, also sought to remove family members like Lina, Elena, Jonas, and the Arvydases. Like Kostas, Andrius fears what could happen if anyone overhears Lina’s strong opinions.
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
Andrius’ mother tells Elena that she had to bribe and tell the NKVD that Andrius is mentally disabled in order to keep the two of them together, much like Elena had to bribe the officer to keep Jonas with her. Ona’s baby cries continually, and Mrs. Rimas reports that the baby cannot latch onto Ona’s breast in order to feed. Long, hot hours pass without food or relief. Andrius tries to jump off the car to use the bathroom, but is punched and thrown back. The passengers eventually discover a small hole in which to relieve themselves. Mrs. Rimas organizes the children to tell them stories and distract them from the smells and horrors of the train car.
Mrs. Arvydas and Elena find kinship in the fact that their husbands have been taken somewhere secretive, and that they had to fight to keep their sons close. They share the fierce strength that a mother feels towards her children. Flipping traditional gender roles, they are now the protectors and sole providers for their families. The NKVD, truly seeking to treat the Lithuanians like animals, force them to remain in squalor and deny them basic human dignities.
Themes
Morality, Integrity, and Sacrifice Theme Icon
Strength and Identity Theme Icon
Genocide Theme Icon
Women and Mothers Theme Icon
In a flashback, Lina recalls being a young child listening to a librarian tell a fantastical story. As she listens to the tale, Lina draws the dragon and princess being described. She is so absorbed in her drawing that she does not notice the end of the story and that the other children have departed. She shows her drawing to the librarian, who is immediately impressed by her skill.
This memory shows that even from a young age, Lina had a very visual and active imagination. It is this ability to will herself to find beauty and meaning in almost anything that will help her find the strength to survive and to live.
Themes
Strength and Identity Theme Icon
The Power of Art Theme Icon