Between Shades of Gray

Between Shades of Gray


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Between Shades of Gray: Chapter 51 Summary & Analysis

On Christmas Eve, Lina works all day chopping food. Everyone brings their bread rations to eat together, and shares pictures of their families. They leave one space on the floor empty, with a stub of tallow burning in remembrance of those not in attendance. Everyone places family photos at the empty setting. The deportees share bits of food they have been hoarding and stealing, including chocolate sent from Andrius and his mother. The bald man reveals he is Jewish, but doesn’t mind the Kucios celebration since he keeps his worship private. The NKVD break up the Christmas Eve celebration to try and intimidate them to sign the documents. Kretszky stands motionless, staring at all the photographs.
At the Kucios celebration, the deportees share the memories that keep them going through even the bleakest days in the camp. It is a beautiful ceremony of generosity, in which they all share the very little they have so that others may have a small bit of happiness in the darkness of winter. Everyone is shocked when the bald man reveals he is Jewish, since everyone knows Hitler is killing the Jews—he can only wonder what has happened to his family. Kretszky’s pause is foreshadowing for his eventual attempt to save the surviving deportees.
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