Between Shades of Gray

Between Shades of Gray


Ruta Sepetys

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Between Shades of Gray: Chapter 13 Summary & Analysis

Eventually the sun rises. The people in the train car are given a bucket of slop to share. Lina thinks it looks like animal feed, and some children refuse to eat it. Jonas finds the package from Elena’s cousin Regina, and Elena splits the food inside among the other passengers. Ona’s baby refuses to eat, and both mother and child continually cry. Elena asks Lina how Kostas looked, and Lina lies and says he looked fine. She asks Elena why they are being deported, and Elena says that Stalin wants Lithuania for the Soviets, and that similar processes are likely happening in Latvia, Estonia, and Finland. Lina wonders if Kostas is near her cousin Joana, and falls asleep wondering where Andrius is.
The NKVD further show how little regard they have for the lives and dignity of the deportees by feeding them the same things they would feed to livestock—if not worse. They have placed the deportees into such dire situations that they are beginning to do whatever they can to survive, even though it has only been a few days since they were ripped from their comfortable lives. Though Lina and Andrius barely know each other, Lina already expresses concern for his safety, given the desperation of their state.
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In a flashback, Lina recalls the first time she saw a painting by the artist Edvard Munch, who has since become her favorite. She encounters a charcoal portrait of a young man by Munch on a school trip to the art museum, and is enchanted by its subtleties. As soon as she gets home, she starts drawing and tries to create the blended charcoal technique. Back in the present, this memory makes Lina realize that Kostas mentioned Munch because Lina’s art, like Munch’s, has a very distinct technique. Lina sees now that if she leaves a trail of art no matter that where she is taken, there is a chance Kostas will be able to find her.
Lina is a talented artist not only in her technique, but in her reverence and eye for what makes good artwork. For Lina, art is not just a visual experience, but an emotional one as well. Her documentation of the journey via sketching becomes a useful outlet to express her feelings and also to process the trauma of her time in the clutches of the NKVD. Despite her hardships, she always finds a way to draw.
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