Between Shades of Gray

Between Shades of Gray

Between Shades of Gray Chapter 4 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
The NKVD officers march Lina, Elena, and Jonas out of their home and through the dark night. Lina notices a neighbor, Mrs. Raskunas, peering out the window, but Elena urges Lina to look down and not acknowledge others for their own protection. The officers shout “Davai” at them, meaning “hurry.” They are put on a truck with several other people: Miss Grybas, a spinster teacher from school, the librarian, a hotel owner, and other men Lina has seen Kostas speak to. Lina realizes they are all on the NKVD’s list.
For all of the trouble that the Vilkases are already in, Elena wants to be sure that they don’t drag any neighbors into the mess by fraternizing with them. It may also be that the Vilkases have helped neighbors, or were planning to, so there is a very real chance the NKVD is coming for them next. The array of professions represented shows that the NKVD was largely arbitrary in their targets.
Themes
Morality, Integrity, and Sacrifice Theme Icon
Strength and Identity Theme Icon
Genocide Theme Icon
Women and Mothers Theme Icon
A bald man starts moaning and saying that they are all going to die. Elena insists this is nonsense, but the bald man, convinced, jumps out of the truck in an attempt to commit suicide. The truck stops, and the officers throw the man back into the truck despite his mangled leg. When the truck stops in front of a hospital, the passengers hope it is so that the bald man can receive treatment. However, the stop is only so a woman on the list who is currently giving birth can be thrown onto the truck as soon as the baby’s umbilical cord is cut.
The bald man’s attempt to commit suicide shows the very real and acute danger the deportees are in by having been arrested by the NKVD. The mercilessness they showed in the Vilkas residence is exacerbated even further by their arrest of a woman and her newborn infant. Obviously, an infant cannot commit a crime, showing that the accusations of crimes against the Soviet Union are just an excuse for brutality.
Themes
Strength and Identity Theme Icon
Genocide Theme Icon
Women and Mothers Theme Icon