Back in the shack, Elena tells Jonas and Lina that the NKVD wanted her to work for them, translating documents and into Lithuanian. (Elena studied in Moscow and is fluent in Russian.) They also wanted her to spy on other Lithuanians and report their conversations, in exchange for preferential treatment. Elena refused the offer. She urges the children only to speak to each other, and for Lina to be careful with what she draws.
Besides being incredibly kind and optimistic, Elena is a very principled woman. Even though she would likely receive preferential treatment for being a spy, she knows the NKVD would mostly just offer empty promises in exchange for her self-worth and dignity. She clings to whatever sense of integrity she has left.
Lina sorts through her belongings, and takes out the picture frame with the photo of her family. Elena sees it and expresses her happiness that Lina brought the photo. Lina sees the tablet of writing paper on which her interrupted letter to Joana had been written. She wonders where Joana is, or what she would write to her if she could. Lina knows Elena would not want her to document their struggles, but she begins to write them down anyway.
In the labor camp, far from all of their possessions and all of their relatives, Elena finds great comfort in the picture that Lina brings. Lina is pleased to reciprocate the support that her mother provides for her. At the ame time, Lina cannot help but express her own emotions the best way she knows how—through writing and drawing—despite the great risks it poses.