The train car is extremely overcrowded. Shelves, six feet deep, have been installed, presumably to stack people on. Elena and Miss Grybas observe that all the men are gone—only elderly, infirm men are a part of the group now. There are no longer any able-bodied men to carry the injured. The librarian introduces herself to Elena and Lina as Mrs. Rimas. Lina wonders where the woman’s husband is, and whether he might be with Kostas. A small girl asks Lina whether she is going to bed, and Lina realizes she is still wearing her nightgown. Elena tries to finagle some privacy in the train car so that Jonas and Elena can change, but a defensive woman with children gives her a hard time about using the corner she has staked out for herself. Elena tries to peer out the door, searching for Kostas, and a kind older man gives her his suitcase to stand on. He notes that she has beautiful children, and Elena says they look like their father.
Though most of the deportees are kind and understanding of each other’s needs, a few people, like the grouchy woman and the rude bald man, express their distress through anger and lash out at the other inhabitants of the train car. Throughout the novel, Elena will continually show Jonas and Lina that it is important to be kind to everyone, particularly in the face of the struggles the NKVD have imposed upon them. Elena’s positive attitude and strength give not only Lina and Jonas, but also many of the people they will be with for months to come, the ability to survive and keep moving forward as humane and moral individuals.
In a flashback, Lina remembers her family being complimented by a photographer during a family photo. She recalls the beautiful clothing and jewelry she and Elena wear, and how the photographer noted that Lina looks just like Kostas.
The horrifying situation that she is currently in makes Lina thinks of a time when she felt beautiful and loved—she’s attempting to maintain a connection to her past, as well as to her very humanity.