Between Shades of Gray

Between Shades of Gray


Ruta Sepetys

Teachers and parents! Struggling with distance learning? Our Teacher Edition on Between Shades of Gray can help.

Between Shades of Gray: Chapter 38 Summary & Analysis

When Lina and Elena return to the shack, they are noticeably shaken but don’t tell Jonas why. Jonas reveals that he has brought them three potatoes, but they keep quiet so Ulyushka won’t take them for rent. While Elena brings some food to the bald man, Elena hides her writing and drawings in the lining of her suitcase. Suddenly Lina realizes that Elena didn’t take a potato for the bald man, and wonders what she could be bringing him. She goes outside and sees Elena talking discreetly to Andrius, who hands her a bundle. Through a window Lina sees Mrs. Arvydas distributing drinks to the NKVD. Lina concludes that Andrius and his mother are working with the Soviets.
Even though the bald man is rude to everyone who helps him, Elena insists on bringing food to him regularly—she can see that his meanness is a cry for help in his desperation. Of course, Elena is not actually on her way to see him this time—she is talking to Andrius, who is extremely upset that his mother is being forced to sleep with members of the NKVD in exchange for their lives. Mrs. Arvydas, as kind and giving a mother as Elena, works with her son to ensure they can exploit this trauma in the form of stealing food and supplies for the other deportees.
Morality, Integrity, and Sacrifice Theme Icon
Women and Mothers Theme Icon