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 7 Summary & Analysis

Shouting “Davai,” NKVD officers force the passengers off the truck. When the man from the bank demands medical assistance for Ona and the bald man, he is marched away at gunpoint without his luggage. A woman hears them, tells the group she is a nurse, and begins to attend to the wounded. Hordes of desperate people pass by. The group is herded towards trains, and must carry Ona and the bald man. Lina can feel the chaos as families are separated. She wonders where her father is, and an officer tries to pull Jonas away from Elena and Lina. Panicked, Elena takes a variety of money and baubles from her coat, and even a pendant on her neck, in an effort to barter with the officer. Eventually, he is satisfied by Elena’s father’s gold pocket watch and lets Jonas stay with the family. Lina is horrified that her brother’s life is only worth a pocket watch to the officer.
The refusal of the NKVD to treat the deportees as humans with basic rights is further evidenced by the man being taken away at gunpoint when he asks for medical assistance. However, the nurse’s immediate willingness to help shows that in the face of such evil, some victims will help one another. Lina is further horrified by how arbitrary all of the NKVD’s decisions for the deportees are—particularly evidenced by Elena’s ability to trade a pocket watch to keep Jonas by her side, when the officer could have just as easily decided to shoot him in the head. Lina realizes that, while the deportees were specifically targeted, their fates will be largely random.
Morality, Integrity, and Sacrifice Theme Icon
Strength and Identity Theme Icon
Genocide Theme Icon
Women and Mothers Theme Icon
Related Quotes