Between Shades of Gray

Between Shades of Gray


Ruta Sepetys

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Between Shades of Gray: Chapter 34 Summary & Analysis

Lina draws in the dirt with a stick before heading to work the next day. Elena tells Jonas and Lina that they must begin to prepare for a harsh winter, even if it is months away. The women must dig that day in the rain, and are told to work faster because the soil is soft. Lina continues to ache from the labor and hunger. When they return to the camp, they discover that Jonas had smartly filled every available pot with rainwater to use for drinking and cleaning. Jonas also brought them his bread ration, of which they are allowed 300 grams a day for their work. That is the only food they are given. Miss Grybas sees Elena on her way back from receiving her ration, and quickly gives her beets she has been hiding in her underwear. Lina is too hungry to care that she hates beets or that they had been transported in underwear.
As it becomes clear that their return home is not going to be any time in the near future, the deportees learn to become thrifty and resourceful with whatever they can find to help them survive. People take risks not only for themselves, but also to help the people around them. As Lina’s willingness to eat beets shows, people are willing to give up old qualms to ensure their survival. Three hundred grams of bread is extremely little to live on, especially since the deportees must labor long hours. The NKVD are doing the barest minimum they can to keep the deportees alive enough to work.
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