Between Shades of Gray

Between Shades of Gray


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Between Shades of Gray: Chapter 82 Summary & Analysis

Lina paints a map to the gravesite so that she may remember where it is. The bald man continues to complain that he wants to die, and Lina tells him to shut up—they want to live. When she asks him what’s keeping him from committing suicide, he replies “fear.” A whistle indicates that a storm is coming, and Lina goes to steal extra firewood despite the danger this poses. She encounters Kretszky, who is drinking behind the NKVD barracks. Slurring, he tells her that he could tell Elena used to be pretty—“krasivaya.” He tells Lina that the word means “beautiful, but with strength.” He tells Lina that he hates himself, too, and that his mother was an artist like Lina is. He tells Lina that his mother died when he was five, and that he wanted to go help her relatives in Poland—the reason he wanted to stay off of the barge. Drunkenly, he tells Lina to take as much firewood as she wants. Against her better judgment, Lina tells Kretszky that she is sorry about his mother, and he says he is sorry about Elena’s passing.
Even though Elena has died, Lina continues to embody her spirit of resilience and survival—she decides, simply, that she wants to keep living. She does whatever it takes to protect herself and Jonas, including continuing to put herself in harm’s way by stealing the resources they desperately need. Lina further embodies Elena’s ability to be kind to everyone, no matter how rude they are in return, when she comforts Kretszky over the loss of his mother. In truth, they are both comforting each other over the loss of Elena. Even Kretszky could tell that Elena was a pillar of strength and an exceptionally brave human being. Together they mourn the loss of their families and previous lives due to the terror Stalin has imposed on Eastern Europe.
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