Between Shades of Gray

Between Shades of Gray


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Between Shades of Gray: Chapter 74 Summary & Analysis

Lina confronts Elena about why the family was deported. Elena says that they were planning to help Lina’s uncle, and then receive help from him in return via their own immigration to Germany. Unfortunately, after Lina’s uncle’s family moved to Germany, someone tipped off the Soviets and searched their house, revealing Kostas’ hand in the matter. Elena is angry the bald man told Lina, since she had trusted him with the secret. Lina is angry at Joana and her family, but Jonas points out that they had to sacrifice things, too, like Uncle’s store and Joana’s studies. Lina wonders what Joana knows about their plight. Lina angrily draws Soviet and Nazi symbols shredding a Lithuanian flag as she watches a man carve a small piece of wood.
Even though Lina is only sixteen years old, she has endured significantly more than most teenagers, and as a result has been forced to mature very quickly. Thus, she is angry that her mother did not share with her the details of their arrest and deportation. Even though she is young, she believes she deserves to know the truth surrounding the upheaval of her entire way of life. Lina has long wished she could speak to Joana, but now she feels angry at her—she feels that her cousin’s freedom and happiness has come at the direct cost of her own life.
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In a flashback, Lina recalls showing Joana Munch’s pictures, and trying to express to Joana why she loves his technique so much. Joana declares the paintings weird, and says she prefers Lina’s. Lina decides she loves Ashes, one of the paintings, since she viscerally feels the sorrow that Munch is trying to convey. Back in the hut, Lina realizes that she can use ashes mixed with water as a kind of watercolor. She fashions a brush out of a stick.
Lina recalls this memory—in which Joana shows a lack of appreciation for Munch’s art—because she is angry at Joana. Lina thinks Munch is brilliant in the way his art conveys emotions simply by the technique of his brushstroke. Despite the sadness of this revelation and memory, it at least gives Lina the idea to fashion watercolors from the ashes.
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