Between Shades of Gray

Between Shades of Gray


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Between Shades of Gray: Chapter 25 Summary & Analysis

With only two groups left, there are five soldiers guarding around seventy-five Lithuanians—but no one dares run away, mostly because they are exhausted. The NKVD eat and drink late into the night. Elena tells Lina they are discussing their families back home, but Lina doesn’t believe her. Ona is still grieving for her dead daughter and rocks back and forth, chanting “No.” Elena goes to comfort her, and Lina sits in the grass with Andrius. She notes his strong jaw line, and wishes she could draw him. He notes her looking at him, and gives her the beautiful stone he found the other day. Lina tries to give it back, but he insists that she keep it.
Elena is fluent in Russian because she studied for years in Moscow. She often acts as a translator between the deportees and the NKVD. This can be useful, as it’s harder to see someone as being less human if you speak the same language. However, it also means that she overhears many things that she likely wishes she didn’t know. Here Elena tells a lie to protect her children, a habit that Lina will eventually become angry with her for. Still, given that there is little to do to change their situation, it’s understandable that Elena wants to protect her children.
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The group wakes at sunrise, and watches as the only other group left is sold. Lina’s group is put into a truck, and eventually brought to a bathhouse. Men and women are separated. Lina hears the bald man declare that Jonas must help him bathe since he is injured. The guards tell everyone to remove their clothes for delousing.
This is a chilling scene, particularly to those who are familiar with the SS’s tactics in Holocaust concentration camps. The SS often told Jews they were being taken to showers, when instead they were killed in gas chambers.
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