Between Shades of Gray

Between Shades of Gray


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Between Shades of Gray: Chapter 81 Summary & Analysis

Lina struggles to sleep that night, distraught over her the loss of her mother. She lies down next to Elena’s body, and contemplates what the bald man said about it being “hard to die,” but finds that she is determined to survive despite her losses. Later Mrs. Rimas and Lina go through Elena’s suitcase. They discover that she had a clean set of clothes for both herself and Kostas—she intended to return back to Lithuania in this clothing. Both women begin to cry. They also discover the deed to Lina’s home in Lithuania, and an address in Germany—likely where Joana is living. Together all the deportees work to dig Elena a grave in a place Lina and Jonas will remember so they can eventually bring her body back to Lithuania. They carry her coffin out of the jurta in a funeral procession, and eventually many deportees join in the march and pray for Elena. Kretszky sees the procession and becomes silent when he realizes it is for Elena.
While going through Elena’s possessions, Mrs. Rimas and Lina realize just how idealistic and optimistic Elena was, even to a fault: she carried in her suitcase several sets of clothing that could have been put to use warming her in the coldest hours of her illness. However, she really did believe that she and her husband were going to return triumphantly to Lithuania, and she wanted to do it with the dignity and grace that she maintained to the very end. This makes Lina even more determined to eventually bring Elena’s body back to Lithuania and give her the proper funeral she deserves. All the deportees are sad for the loss of Elena—even Kretszky takes pause when he realizes who has died.
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