Galloway relentlessly describes Sarajevo as being gray, which shows how the harsh circumstances of the war have sucked this city of all its joy and vibrant culture. Dragan and Kenan, both life-long Sarajevans, note how the city has turned gray during the siege, instead of the colorful place that they remember. Dragan calls gray “the color of war,” associating this color with weapons and violence. Rather than the red of blood, the gray represents the monotony and demoralizing power of the siege. Gray, a mix between the two extremes of black and white, also suggests the difficult morality of the war. There is not one right and wrong in this civil war; both sides descend into hatred and darkness while Sarajevo exists in a “gray space” between life and death.
Dragan also sees a gray cloud hanging over the city, which shows how the war hovers over everything, even mundane actions like walking down the street. But the cloud, as it slowly passes over the street, represents how the gray of the siege will someday disappear, if only the Sarajevans can maintain hope and vibrancy. The most significant place that Dragan sees color is in his startlingly optimistic friend Emina. Emina’s brightness, shown in her blue coat, reawakens Dragan’s faith that civilization in Sarajevo can continue. Similarly, the sniper Arrow also sees the warm brown of the cellist’s cello as a contrast to the constant gray. Again, gray is the color of the war, while other colors invite the characters to think of happier times before this conflict and the possibility of ending the siege and returning to their old lives.
Gray Quotes in The Cellist of Sarajevo
She is the person he once knew: Affected by the war, changed, but the woman he knew is still in there. She hasn't been covered in the gray that colors the streets. He wonders why he hasn't seen this before, wonders how much else he hasn't seen.