Between Shades of Gray

Between Shades of Gray

Between Shades of Gray Chapter 2 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
As Elena frantically packs necessities, Lina tries to come to terms with the fact that she, her mother, and brother are being arrested, and that she has no idea where her father Kostas is. Elena urges Lina to pack quickly and to ignore friends and family members they may pass in town so that the NKVD does not target them as well. Lina packs a family photo, wishing that her Grandmother, pictured, were alive to be with her during this difficult time. Lina is upset that she cannot find her sketchbook, but Elena tells her to keep packing and that she can buy a new one.
Lina has no idea what is going on, and is trying her best to keep up with her mother’s directions. She focuses on finding two of the most important things in her life: her sketchbook, and her father. Lina is very close to Kostas, and he is very encouraging of her artistry. Therefore, she is even more confused and distraught by not knowing where both “things”are.
Themes
Morality, Integrity, and Sacrifice Theme Icon
Strength and Identity Theme Icon
Women and Mothers Theme Icon
Jonas, not understanding the gravity of the situation, misconstrues Elena’s instructions to get ready to leave. He enters Lina’s room dressed and ready for school. Elena, trembling at the sadness of seeing her son’s innocence, takes Jonas to his room to pack and leaves Lina to continue by herself. Lina grabs as many writing utensils as she can.
Jonas is only ten years old, and does not understand the gravity of the situation—that they are being arrested by the Soviets, not getting ready for school. Elena is overwhelmed with sadness at her son’s innocence and naivety, traits that will soon disappear.
Themes
Women and Mothers Theme Icon
A fresh loaf of bread on her desk that Elena has asked her to pack reminds Lina of a conversation she had at the local bakery. This memory is shown using italics and is separate from the rest of the chapter, a format that will continue throughout the novel. When Lina goes to the bakery for a loaf of bread for her family, the woman at the counter refuses to charge her for the food, citing her father’s kindness. When Lina asks her parents what Kostas did to deserve such reverence, her father tells Lina that he deserves nothing—that it is often important to commit acts of kindness without expecting anything in return.
Lina’s flashbacks are persistent throughout the novel, and help to flesh out her character through scenes from her life before her arrest. She frequently thinks back to better times in her home in Lithuania, as well as moments that she now sees led up to the family’s current predicament. In this memory, we can see that her father has done some people in the community a great kindness—likely at the expense of his own freedom. Elena and Kostas seek to pass on this kind of courage onto their children.
Themes
Morality, Integrity, and Sacrifice Theme Icon
Strength and Identity Theme Icon