Between Shades of Gray

Between Shades of Gray

Mr. Stalas (The Bald Man) Character Analysis

Better known to Lina as “the bald man,” Mr. Stalas is a postman who is placed in the same train car as the Vilkases when they are deported. He is an extremely pessimistic person, and throws himself from the train car in an attempt to commit suicide. He only succeeds in mangling his leg, which he uses as an excuse to lament and avoid work for the rest of the novel. Lina has an intense dislike for Mr. Stalas, as he says crude things that only succeed in frightening the deportee children. Yet despite his rude nature, Lina’s mother Elena is kind to Mr. Stalas and frequently brings him food. He reveals later on in the novel that he is Jewish, which likely contributes to his pessimistic attitude, since Jews were one of the main groups targeted during World War II. Mr. Stalas functions as a foil to the little hope that the deportees inspire in each other, and often serves to bring together members of the deportees in retaliation to his flippant remarks. However, he unfortunately also often acts as a rude awakening to the reality of the grim situation of the Baltic genocide.

Mr. Stalas (The Bald Man) Quotes in Between Shades of Gray

The Between Shades of Gray quotes below are all either spoken by Mr. Stalas (The Bald Man) or refer to Mr. Stalas (The Bald Man). 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 4 Quotes

The truck stopped in front of the hospital. Everyone seemed relieved that they would tend to the bald man’s injuries. But they did not. They were waiting. A woman who was also on the list was giving birth to a baby. As soon as the umbilical cord was cut, they would both be thrown into the truck.

Related Characters: Lina Vilkas (speaker), Mr. Stalas (The Bald Man), Ona
Page Number: 15
Explanation and Analysis:
Quotes explanation long mobile

Unlock explanations and citation info for this and every other Between Shades of Gray quote.

Plus so much more...

Get LitCharts A+
Already a LitCharts A+ member? Sign in!
Chapter 6 Quotes

“Sir,” said Jonas, leaning around me. He held out his little ruler from school. The old woman who had gasped at my nightgown began to cry.

Related Characters: Lina Vilkas (speaker), Jonas Vilkas (speaker), Mr. Stalas (The Bald Man)
Page Number: 22
Explanation and Analysis:
Quotes explanation short mobile
Chapter 64 Quotes

“The Jews are the scapegoat for all of Germany’s problems,” said the bald man. “Hitler’s convinced racial purity is the answer. It’s too complicated for children to understand.”

Related Characters: Mr. Stalas (The Bald Man) (speaker), Jonas Vilkas, Janina
Page Number: 257
Explanation and Analysis:
Quotes explanation short mobile
Get the entire Between Shades of Gray LitChart as a printable PDF.
Between shades of gray.pdf.medium

Mr. Stalas (The Bald Man) Character Timeline in Between Shades of Gray

The timeline below shows where the character Mr. Stalas (The Bald Man) appears in Between Shades of Gray. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 4
Strength and Identity Theme Icon
Genocide Theme Icon
Women and Mothers Theme Icon
A bald man starts moaning and saying that they are all going to die. Elena insists this is... (full context)
Chapter 5
Morality, Integrity, and Sacrifice Theme Icon
Women and Mothers Theme Icon
...the NKVD, pass by in the trucks. One man notes that it’s nearly three a.m. The bald man asks Jonas to help suffocate him so he can succeed in committing suicide. Appalled, Elena... (full context)
Strength and Identity Theme Icon
Genocide Theme Icon
Women and Mothers Theme Icon
Back in the present in the truck, the bald man tactlessly says that if Kostas worked at the university, then he was surely “long gone.”... (full context)
Chapter 6
Morality, Integrity, and Sacrifice Theme Icon
Strength and Identity Theme Icon
Genocide Theme Icon
Women and Mothers Theme Icon
...that her husband, Vitas, was taken by the NKVD. Ona wails for her baby, while the bald man cries of the pain in his leg. No one on the truck has medical training,... (full context)
Chapter 7
Morality, Integrity, and Sacrifice Theme Icon
Strength and Identity Theme Icon
Genocide Theme Icon
Women and Mothers Theme Icon
...off the truck. When the man from the bank demands medical assistance for Ona and the bald man , he is marched away at gunpoint without his luggage. A woman hears them, tells... (full context)
Chapter 12
Morality, Integrity, and Sacrifice Theme Icon
Strength and Identity Theme Icon
Women and Mothers Theme Icon
...ring, she begins to cry. Lina tries to give Elena the piece of ham, but the bald man —who Lina learns is named Mr. Stalas—demands to know where the rest of the food... (full context)
Chapter 16
Strength and Identity Theme Icon
...board and wiggles it open. Jonas peers through and sees men approaching the train. Though the bald man thinks they are partisans who might be able to help them, they are really men... (full context)
Chapter 19
Morality, Integrity, and Sacrifice Theme Icon
Strength and Identity Theme Icon
The Power of Art Theme Icon
Genocide Theme Icon
Women and Mothers Theme Icon
...Russian soldiers rolls away. Ona screams in anguish over the death of her child, but the bald man rudely tells her it is better off dead. Andrius yells at him, and tells him... (full context)
Chapter 21
Morality, Integrity, and Sacrifice Theme Icon
Strength and Identity Theme Icon
The Power of Art Theme Icon
Genocide Theme Icon
Women and Mothers Theme Icon
...buys all the candy, matches, and cigarettes she can and gives them to the passengers. The bald man chastises her for wasting money, but Elena replies that it is what they all needed.... (full context)
Chapter 22
Strength and Identity Theme Icon
The Power of Art Theme Icon
...six weeks, the passengers are left without food or an open door for three days. The bald man guesses they are in the Altai region just north of China. Lina longs for food... (full context)
Chapter 24
Morality, Integrity, and Sacrifice Theme Icon
Strength and Identity Theme Icon
Genocide Theme Icon
As the hours pass, only two groups remain, including Lina’s. The bald man complains that they would be better off dead, and Mrs. Arvydas points out that they... (full context)
Chapter 25
Genocide Theme Icon
...a truck, and eventually brought to a bathhouse. Men and women are separated. Lina hears the bald man declare that Jonas must help him bathe since he is injured. The guards tell everyone... (full context)
Chapter 27
Morality, Integrity, and Sacrifice Theme Icon
Strength and Identity Theme Icon
The Power of Art Theme Icon
Genocide Theme Icon
Women and Mothers Theme Icon
...dream of their home and of Kostas alive in order to persevere. The group reconvenes. The bald man complains they are now just clean dead men, but the older man says they wouldn’t... (full context)
Chapter 35
Morality, Integrity, and Sacrifice Theme Icon
Women and Mothers Theme Icon
Elena insists that Lina take a bread ration to the bald man . Jonas finds straw for the family to sleep on. Lina brings the beets to... (full context)
Chapter 38
Morality, Integrity, and Sacrifice Theme Icon
Women and Mothers Theme Icon
...keep quiet so Ulyushka won’t take them for rent. While Elena brings some food to the bald man , Elena hides her writing and drawings in the lining of her suitcase. Suddenly Lina... (full context)
Chapter 39
Morality, Integrity, and Sacrifice Theme Icon
Strength and Identity Theme Icon
Genocide Theme Icon
Women and Mothers Theme Icon
Lina refuses to bring food to the bald man each day. Eventually Jonas agrees to do it, and Elena insists they go together. Andrius... (full context)
Chapter 41
Morality, Integrity, and Sacrifice Theme Icon
Strength and Identity Theme Icon
The Power of Art Theme Icon
Genocide Theme Icon
Women and Mothers Theme Icon
...sign. People who sign are allowed to go to the village and thus post letters. The bald man speaks unkindly of Mrs. Arvydas and calls her “whore,” saying that she could perhaps find... (full context)
Chapter 46
Strength and Identity Theme Icon
Genocide Theme Icon
...signed the documents. They hear rumors that men might be in a prison near Tomsk. The bald man warns their letters could lead to their deaths. They speculate what the Germans are doing... (full context)
Chapter 50
Morality, Integrity, and Sacrifice Theme Icon
Strength and Identity Theme Icon
Genocide Theme Icon
...raised only by the thought of their impending Christmas celebration, Kucios, to be held in the bald man ’s shack. With no actual food to share, they trade descriptions of the food they... (full context)
Chapter 51
Morality, Integrity, and Sacrifice Theme Icon
Strength and Identity Theme Icon
The Power of Art Theme Icon
Genocide Theme Icon
...food they have been hoarding and stealing, including chocolate sent from Andrius and his mother. The bald man reveals he is Jewish, but doesn’t mind the Kucios celebration since he keeps his worship... (full context)
Chapter 58
Morality, Integrity, and Sacrifice Theme Icon
Strength and Identity Theme Icon
...presents. While Lina is in line for her ration, Jonas tells her to hurry to the bald man ’s shack, since Mrs. Rimas had received a thick letter from Lithuania. (full context)
Chapter 60
Morality, Integrity, and Sacrifice Theme Icon
Strength and Identity Theme Icon
Women and Mothers Theme Icon
Rumors fly around the camp. One day everyone gathers in the bald man ’s shack to discuss the changes to come. Mrs. Rimas is on the list, but... (full context)
Chapter 63
Morality, Integrity, and Sacrifice Theme Icon
Strength and Identity Theme Icon
Genocide Theme Icon
Women and Mothers Theme Icon
...truck with them. They then stop at a train station and are loaded onto cars. The bald man instructs them to stand at the opening and look uncomfortable so the car appears full.... (full context)
Chapter 64
Strength and Identity Theme Icon
The Power of Art Theme Icon
Genocide Theme Icon
...they share it with others as well. Lina draws to pass the time. Janina asks the bald man if he is a Jew, and if Hitler might kill the Jews. The bald man... (full context)
Chapter 67
Morality, Integrity, and Sacrifice Theme Icon
Strength and Identity Theme Icon
The Power of Art Theme Icon
Genocide Theme Icon
...because she can’t name a single accomplished American artist. Back on the barge, Lina draws the bald man despite his complaining. She asks him why he was deported, and he says it’s none... (full context)
Chapter 73
Morality, Integrity, and Sacrifice Theme Icon
Strength and Identity Theme Icon
Genocide Theme Icon
...people have died inside. They must walk three kilometers to gather firewood for the NKVD. The bald man demands that Lina give him her mittens in exchange for information. He tells Lina that... (full context)
Chapter 74
Morality, Integrity, and Sacrifice Theme Icon
Strength and Identity Theme Icon
Genocide Theme Icon
Women and Mothers Theme Icon
...the Soviets and searched their house, revealing Kostas’ hand in the matter. Elena is angry the bald man told Lina, since she had trusted him with the secret. Lina is angry at Joana... (full context)
Chapter 80
Morality, Integrity, and Sacrifice Theme Icon
Strength and Identity Theme Icon
Genocide Theme Icon
Women and Mothers Theme Icon
...saying everything they loved about Elena. They all promise to bury her body. For once, the bald man is silent. (full context)
Morality, Integrity, and Sacrifice Theme Icon
Strength and Identity Theme Icon
The Power of Art Theme Icon
Genocide Theme Icon
Women and Mothers Theme Icon
...sky like a kite. Jonas wonders if Grandmother found the kite. Back in the hut, the bald man reveals that he almost worked for the Soviets, confirming people’s occupations. However, he changed his... (full context)
Chapter 81
Morality, Integrity, and Sacrifice Theme Icon
Strength and Identity Theme Icon
Genocide Theme Icon
Women and Mothers Theme Icon
...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... (full context)
Chapter 82
Morality, Integrity, and Sacrifice Theme Icon
Strength and Identity Theme Icon
Genocide Theme Icon
Women and Mothers Theme Icon
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... (full context)
Chapter 84
Morality, Integrity, and Sacrifice Theme Icon
Strength and Identity Theme Icon
Genocide Theme Icon
...is shocked at the state they are in. He demands fish from an NKVD officer. The bald man agrees to help prepare food as long as Janina and Jonas are the first ones... (full context)