Between Shades of Gray

Between Shades of Gray


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Between Shades of Gray: Chapter 3 Summary & Analysis

Elena packs Jonas a massive suitcase, one that is almost the size of his small body. Lina hears smashing, and runs out of her room to find Elena throwing her favorite glasses and china onto the floor because she “loves them so much.” The NKVD come in to see what the commotion is about, and accuse Elena of destroying Soviet property. She replies primly that it was an accident. When she tries to fix her curls under her hat in the mirror, an officer points a gun at her and calls her a “bourgeois pig.” Elena begs their pardon, an act of politeness that shocks Lina. Lina announces that she has to use the bathroom, and the NKVD officers give her thirty seconds. While looking in the mirror in the bathroom, Lina notes that this would be the last time she would properly see her reflection in over a decade.
Elena smashes all of her fine possessions because she does not want the Soviets to take them and enjoy them, or sell them. She decides to destroy them herself because at least then their loss is her choice, not theirs. We learn that Lina’s family is likely upper middle-class, which is why the Soviets, who practice Communism and (in theory) elevate the laboring class above all others, call them “bourgeois pigs.” In the bathroom, Lina, writing in hindsight, notes that everything about her life is about to change forever.
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