Between Shades of Gray

Between Shades of Gray


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Between Shades of Gray: Chapter 8 Summary & Analysis

Elena comforts her children, shaken by the near-loss of Jonas. Miss Grybas tells them to hurry and stay with the group, since people are getting split up. Lina takes note of the chaos happening around her, as frantic families attempt to balance their most valuable possessions while keeping track of each other. They are pushed onto train cars that appear to have been built for livestock. Lina doesn’t want to be in a car with Ona and her baby and the moaning bald man, but Elena tells her they don’t have a choice. Lina longs to jump off the car and start running. Once on the train, Elena comforts her, and tells her the most important thing is that they stay together. She theorizes that while she doesn’t know where they’re going, they won’t be in the cattle cars for very long.
The train cars transporting the deportees appear to have been built for livestock—because that’s how the NKVD see their prisoners: as “fascist pigs” who need to be removed from Soviet territory. Though Lina viscerally feels the need to start running away, she knows that she will likely be more miserable without her mother and brother by her side. Elena continues to keep up an optimistic front, despite what she actually thinks, for the sake of her children. Elena’s strength gives Lina and Jonas strength, now that the only thing they can be certain of is that they have each other.
Morality, Integrity, and Sacrifice Theme Icon
Strength and Identity Theme Icon
Genocide Theme Icon
Women and Mothers Theme Icon