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Between Shades of Gray

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Emily Martin

on 4 October 2012

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Transcript of Between Shades of Gray

By: Lauren Kinsey and Emily Martin
1st period
3 October 2012 Between Shades of Gray Author: Ruta Sepetys Between Shades of Gray Ruta Sepetys Symbolism,
and Motifs Lina and her family are from a small town called Kaunas during the uprising of Stalin and Hitler. Her family is taken to Vilnius by the Soviets where they were separated and the last time Lina sees her dad. Setting Quotations Conflict Theme The handkerchief symbolizes the connection between all of the prisoners of Stalin. The ability for the hanki to "travel hand to hand without deteriorating" (Sepetys 62) represents their fight to help each other stay as one and not give up hope through the dark times. As Lina travels in the train for hundreds of miles the train cart becomes a hated place. Filled with darkness and despair Lina compares the to train to a "small box" and they are "matchsticks" packed together(Sepetys 80). The mood shifts from hostility to freedom as soon as she steps off the train and "crisp, clean air" fills Lina's "polluted lungs"(Sepetys 81). Lina's strong, nurturing mother is an archetype in the novel. She protects her children boldly while still being soft and sweet. Lina and the rest of the group would look to Elena for hope because her "spirits soared" and "despite her hunger and blisters...hope...kept her moving" (Sepetys 183). Her faith and encouragement helped strengthen the group and lead them to fight to survive. She is the daughter of a Lithuanian refugee She wanted to give a voice to the people who lost their lives during Stalin's cleansing of the Baltic region She originally wrote "Between Shades of Gray" for children and young adults, but the book has been widely read by many and considered a book for all ages. The stone given to Jonas by Andrius is a representation of hope throughout the novel. Each time one of the characters are faced with death and defeat the stone gives them strength to fight through. Lina, Jonas, and Andrius think of the stone as "pretty lucky" as they pass it back and forth when they know the struggles the others are about to face. "Have you ever wondered what a human life is worth? That morning, my brother's was worth a pocket watch" (Sepetys 27). Lina's mom bought her brother, Jonas, back from the Soviet Officer with a pocket watch that belonged to her grandfather. They were trying to keep their family together when everyone was getting separated at the train station in Lithuania. This motif shows that the Lithuanians are treated as prisoners and less than life foreshadowing their humanity being valued throughout the book. Lina's mom bought her brother, Jonas, back from the Soviet Officer with a pocket watch that belonged to her grandfather. They were trying to keep their family together when everyone was getting separated at the train station in Lithuania. "We'd been trying to touch the sky from the bottom of the ocean" (Sepetys 307). Lina's mom bought her brother, Jonas, back from the Soviet Officer with a pocket watch that belonged to her grandfather. They were trying to keep their family together when everyone was getting separated at the train station in Lithuania. "I planted a seed of hatred in my heart. I swore it would grow to be a massive tree whose roots would strangle them all" (Sepetys 55). The use of language gives you an idea of the struggle Lina is going through. By using the words "sky" and "bottom of the ocean" you know how far they are from each other. You know there is thousands of pounds of pressure, or water, holding her down. The imagery created by Lina is significant as this moment because it is the beginning of her hatred. As an audience we're able to see the emotion in her start to grow as her family gets torn a part. The representation of the "seed" being "planted" symbolizes the start of her hate which will continue to grow throughout the novel. Lina creates an image of the "roots" destroying the NKVD who are ripping them a part and leaving her heart filled with sorrow. As Lina, her mom, and brother are moved to different work sites the worry in the survivors becomes more apparent. With every snow storm and small hut they're packed into the tension grows stronger. As the group encounters the 180 days of darkness in Trofimovsk, North Pole, the tone of each of them become gray and hopeless as they search for the light. Lina describes the "eternal grayness" of the camps after their "only sun had slipped under a cloud" (Sepetys 322). The final shift in tone occurs when Lina is finally absorbed by the suns rays after a long four months of grayness. The "amber band of sunlight"(Sepetys 336) brings hope for freedom to her heart once again and takes the conflict away from their group. http://www.soes.soton.ac.uk/resources/collection/minerals/minerals/pages/M23-Quartz-v-S.htm Lina's art is represented as an outlet for her built up anger as she watches the NKVD kill innocent people and bring pain to many. Not only does she use it to let out her frustration, but her artwork soon becomes the voice of many after the fall of communism and is found in a time capsule for all to see. The will to survive is a struggle throughout the characters in Between Shades of Gray. During this novel they are constantly faced with the options to end their lives or to keep fighting on. The question of "what a human life is worth" (Sepetys 27) is repetitive in the characters minds as they are treated like "little pigs" (Sepetys 312) by the soviets. This conflict creates internal questioning amongst each character proving if they are strong enough to fight or just give up. http://alphareader.blogspot.com/2011/03/between-shades-of-gray-by-ruta-sepetys.html http://alphareader.blogspot.com/2011/03/between-shades-of-gray-by-ruta-sepetys.html http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2011/apr/03/childrens-book-reviews-teenage-fiction Between Shades of Gray, Ruta Sepetys (a timeline) http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/Features/SeaIce/page5.php The will to live can be stronger than any mental or physical pain. Throughout the novel "Between Shades of Gray" the Lithuanian prisoners are constantly beat down. They are abused verbally being told they are "little pigs" and physically with the constant use of brutal force. They are treated as if they are less than human. The prisoners suffered through an extreme amount of pain mentally and physically and always had the option to give up and die. But, the Lithuanians keep on fighting to live, they continue to work, to eat and to heal. The will to live overpowers the pain they feel. Author Chris Brown states "The mother herself has the extraordinary selflessness and care we perhaps dream could come to the fore in extremes but might seem too good to be true, though she it is who holds situations together even through the most severe of challenges." Works Cited Brown, Chris. Gale resource center. Literature Resource Center, n.d. Web. 3 Oct 2012. <http://go.galegroup.com/ps/retrieve.do?sgHitCountType=None&sort=RELEVANCE&inPS=true&prodId=LitRC&userGroupName=cypr11198&tabID=T001&searchId=R1&resultListType=RESULT_LIST&contentSegment=&searchType=BasicSearchForm¤tPosition=2&contentSet=GALE|A259379746&&docId=GALE|A259379746&docType=GALE&role=LitRC>. Sepetys, Ruta. Between Shades of Gray. The united states: Penguin Group, 2011. 338. Print.
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