Between Shades of Gray

Between Shades of Gray

Komorov (The Commander) Character Analysis

The commander of the NKVD unit that deports the Vilkases. He is the personification of evil in Lina’s mind. Komorov shoots Ona, demands that the deportees sign paperwork agreeing to their criminal charges and sentencing them to 25 years of hard labor, and tortures with sleep deprivation those who do not sign. When Lina’s talent for drawing is discovered, he demands that she draw a portrait of him. Though Lina longs to draw him as she sees him—with snakes crawling out of his skull—she draws a flattering portrait to save her own life.

Komorov (The Commander) Quotes in Between Shades of Gray

The Between Shades of Gray quotes below are all either spoken by Komorov (The Commander) or refer to Komorov (The Commander). For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Morality, Integrity, and Sacrifice Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Speak edition of Between Shades of Gray published in 2012.
Chapter 41 Quotes

My art teacher had said that if you breathed deeply and imagined something, you could be there. You could see it, feel it. During our standoffs with the NKVD, I learned to do that. I clung to my rusted dreams during the times of silence. It was at gunpoint that I fell into every hope and allowed myself to wish from the deepest part of my heart. Komorov thought he was torturing us. But we were escaping into a stillness within ourselves. We found strength here.

Related Characters: Lina Vilkas (speaker), Komorov (The Commander)
Related Symbols: Drawing
Page Number: 163
Explanation and Analysis:
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Komorov (The Commander) Character Timeline in Between Shades of Gray

The timeline below shows where the character Komorov (The Commander) appears in Between Shades of Gray. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 29
Strength and Identity Theme Icon
The Power of Art Theme Icon
Genocide Theme Icon
Women and Mothers Theme Icon
...followed Elena into the building. Lina peers through a window and sees Elena talking to the commander , who holds a file. Jonas urges Lina not to make trouble—or risk Ona’s fate.... (full context)
Chapter 36
Strength and Identity Theme Icon
The Power of Art Theme Icon
Genocide Theme Icon
Women and Mothers Theme Icon
...they are placed in has portraits of Marx, Engels, Lenin, and Stalin on the walls. The commander says (through Elena’s translation) that the deportees have been brought in to sign a document... (full context)
Morality, Integrity, and Sacrifice Theme Icon
Strength and Identity Theme Icon
Genocide Theme Icon
Women and Mothers Theme Icon
...and intimidate people into signing, but no one does. Those who fall asleep are beaten. The commander goes up to Elena and spits something slimy into her face. Elena quickly brushes it... (full context)
Chapter 37
Morality, Integrity, and Sacrifice Theme Icon
Strength and Identity Theme Icon
Genocide Theme Icon
Women and Mothers Theme Icon
...a time. Then the commander comes and demands that the women get into the hole. Komorov, the commander, points pistols at the women and tells them to put their hands on... (full context)
Chapter 44
Morality, Integrity, and Sacrifice Theme Icon
The Power of Art Theme Icon
...drawing, Lina manages to covertly drop a pen into her lap to steal for herself. The commander comes in and observes her work, and appears surprised at her talent. (full context)
Chapter 53
Morality, Integrity, and Sacrifice Theme Icon
Strength and Identity Theme Icon
The Power of Art Theme Icon
...for her. Lina reveals she stole a pen. Elena is alarmed, but Andrius clarifies that the commander wants Lina to draw his portrait. Lina wants to refuse to do it, but Andrius... (full context)
Chapter 54
Morality, Integrity, and Sacrifice Theme Icon
The Power of Art Theme Icon
Women and Mothers Theme Icon
Lina is brought to the kolkhoz office and the commander enters. Lina tries to make note of his clothing and expression so she doesn’t have... (full context)
Morality, Integrity, and Sacrifice Theme Icon
The commander tells Kretszky to give Lina bread. Lina protests, since she was supposed to receive more... (full context)
Chapter 68
Strength and Identity Theme Icon
Genocide Theme Icon
...they are going. When they stop to load more supplies, they overhear Kretszky arguing with the commander that he wants to stay off of the barge. However, the commander insists. The passengers... (full context)