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Between Shades of Gray

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Cathryn Jones

on 22 August 2014

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Transcript of Between Shades of Gray

When Lina, Jonas, and their mother, along with over 300 others are moved from the labor camp, loaded onto barges and arrive at Trofimovsk; a place at the top of the Arctic Circle near the North Pole.
Artistic, smart, persistent. Lina is a teenage girl who will stand up for what she believes in. She takes risks to send notes/artwork to her father in a Prison camp far away. She also has the guts to draw what she feels when the NKVD could easily find out.
Lina, her brother Jonas and their mother Elena are taken in the middle of the night by NKVD soviet Union officers lead by Joseph Stalin. They are thrown onto a train going to a place that remains a mystery to them. Lina wonders where her father is and leaves trails of her drawings hoping he will find her. Lina, Jonas, and their mother are put into a work camp where they are mistreated. They stay in a hut and work for little to no food. Lina starts to crush on Andrius, a boy at the work camp with lots of other people. Lina's drawings are what keeps her thoughts from escaping her mouth. Andrius figures out that there is a list forming with names of people at the camp, with rumors of them being relocated. Among those on the list are Lina, Jonas, and their mother Elena. Once again they travel with no leads to where they are going. They end up all the ways up into the Arctic Circle, to a place called Trofimovsk. While at this new camp, all the people are used to build and bakery and other buildings for the NKVD. Afterwards, they have to build their own huts called "Jurtas", but they can only use what they can find from nature. Once the harsh winter starts to settle in, many people start to get diseases and start to die. An NKVD officer informs Lina's mother that her husband(Lina's father) was shot in the prison camp he was at. Lina's mother then goes downhill from then on. She becomes very ill and cold and soon dies. A few days later a doctor shows up to help all who are sick and inspect the place. The doctor gives hop back into Lina's life, not only about living, but about her father, that could still be alive. Years later construction crew find a wooden box with a letter inside. It was written by Lina when her and Jonas returned to Siberia. She had married Andrius and stated the whole truth about her 12 years imprisoned.
By: Cathryn Jones
Between Shades of Gray Scrapbook
The antagonist(s) in the book
Between Shades of Gray
are the NKVD officers (Peoples Commissariat for International Affairs). The NKVD are the people in the work camps who control the people and problems. They are the antagonist because they are rude, evil murderers who don't care about anybody else but themselves.
Books: A Short Summary
Works Cited
Description of main characters
Clueless, innocent. Jonas is a young innocent boy that can indure almost anything, along with having a kind heart and a hopeful future of finding his father and returning home and being a family again.
Brave, persuasive, helpful. Elena is a brave mother who will do anything for her kids and others. Smart, persuasive, and bravery help her talk to the NKVD officers because she speaks the language and no one else does. And sometimes persuades them to do semi of what she wants.
Caring, acting as a brother to Jonas, helpful. Andrius is a teenage boy trying to help his mother who's going through a hard time. He acts as a brother to Jonas, since Jonas' dad isn't with them. And in the mean time, he has a crush on Lina.
NKVD Officers:
Mean, stuck up, evil. All of the NKVD officers are brainwashed by Stalin that these people they arrest are criminals and pigs. They don't care if people die. They don't give the people very much food or shelter. If they have to kill somebody, they don't think twice.
During the 1940's, Lina, her mother, and her brother, Jonas who are Lithuanians, are taken by the NKVD(some of the Stalin's men) during the middle of the night. Lina and Jonas have no idea what is happening and are very afraid.
The house in Lithuania the night of June 14, 1941.

Jonas, Lina, mother Elena, and talk of father.

Lina and family are taken by Soviet Union soldiers.
Figurative Language
pg.102 "Blood, the color of thick red wine, pooled under Ona's head."
pg.125 "Sand crawled into my shoes."
pg.148 " His arms and legs dangled like a limp marionette."
pg.308 "We lived the life of penguins, freezing under layers of ice and snow."
pg.304 "Winter has us in its jaws."
Give an alternate ending
Lina's mother Elena becomes ill. As she falls into her worst day yet, American soldiers get word of what the NKVD are doing to innocent people and invade Lina's camp. They arrest the NKVD soldiers and give help to all who are sick including Elena, Lina's mom. Lina, her family, and all other survivors are taken on the American ship to America. Once in America, to Lina's surprise she spots her dad in a crowd and the whole family is reunited.

Heart to Heart
know your books
What group took over Lithuania, where Lina and her family were forced out?

A: The Soviet Union
What happened to Lina, Jonas, Andrius, Lina's mother and Lina's dad at the end of the book?

A: Lina, Jonas, and Andrius all survived; and Lina and Andrius got married. Lina's mother died,and we still don't know if Lina's dad is dead for sure.
What was the first place Lina and her family settled at after getting off the train?

A: a farm work village
What helped Lina express her feelings about her situation?

A: her artwork and drawings
What did the stone that Andrius gave Lina represent?

A: hope and thoughts of going back home
Dear Lina,
I know what you're going through is beyond explanation. I know you'll agree that the NKVD are evil, but don't let them get to you. What they want is to humiliate you and make you uncomfortable so that you would rather die. For some reason they feel as if you are not human and they are much greater. But, they're not. You have to know that if you can fight through this mess and survive, they will get what they should have gotten at the beginning. They will be majorly punished for what they have done to you. I know it's hard to think of that at this moment but it will eventually happen; they will get caught! You're going great so far, you haven't let them crush you. Also, about your mom, you need to keep pushing through for her. She wants you to live! Don't let the NKVD take that from you even though you will go through life without your mother and possibly your father. You need to be there for Jonas. Give him the care and support that he needs.


Cathryn Jones
Between Shades of Gray
by Ruta Sepeteys is a must read for all teens. This is because of the beauty in the way it's written.
Between Shades of Gray
is not only a good book, but is based on a true event that happened in our world's past. This book is important for anybody to read to get a glimpse of what really happened during the World War II era. It gives examples of the struggles that kids, teens and adults faced during this dreadful time period. While reading this you almost feel as if this whole thing is fiction. However, reality sets in and you realize that this tragedy really occurred. It's good for teens to learn about not only what Hitler did to people, but also what Stalin did to people as well. We need to know the truth about these events in order to learn from mistakes that people have made. For the future generation, teens need to know about this and read
Between Shades of Gray
so that we may overcome our mistakes and that history will not repeat itself.
Why did Lina steal the file on her family from the NKVD office?

A: To figure out where her father was taken
What gave Lina the courage to keep pushing through the camps?

A: Her frequent flashbacks and thoughts of home
Why did Lina draw pictures on the train on their first journey?

A: She was hoping her dad would see them and that he would recognize they were hers.
Why did the doctor tell Lina that her father may still be alive after being told he was shot?

A: He said that there are so many people in the camps, they might have mistaken him for somebody else. Also, the NKVD officers could have lied to Lina's mother when they told her.
What did the word Krasivaya mean that Andrius wanted Lina to learn?

A: Beautiful with strength or unique
lessons learned
To be thankful for what you have. It could be taken away from you at any point.
making personal connections
Lina loves to draw and so do I. Although we don't draw the same things, we both have the same passion.
Lina and I have similar characteristics. She is determined to find her father and won't give up hope. She is also a nurturer to her mother and brother, and I like to help people when they are not feeling well to make them feel comfortable. Also, when both of us have a goal, we are determined to get it done.
First Person: uses "I"
This is effective because the readers feel that they are hearing dialogue straight from the characters.
Also, it feels as if the story is being told straight to you and you can get a better feel of how the character feels, thinks, sees, and hears.
Elena Vilkas
Died at Trofimovsk Prison Camp(top of North Pole)
Unknown cause of death (cold, hungry, tired, lice)
Had lived in Kaunas, Lithuania with husband and two kids.
Marriage: Kostas Vilkas
Children: Lina Vilkas(16) and Jonas Vilkas(11)
Buried in Trofimovsk on a hill
Characteristics: kind, loving, good to everyone, helpful, put others over herself

Lina Vilkas
The book is written from her point of view. She tells the story. Lina is headstrong, hopeful, and artistic. Also, Lina is mostly positive considering her situation. She never says anything about wanting to die. Lina is the main character in
Between Shades of Gray
and the story is told about her and from her perspective.
"A wrongdoing doesn't give us the right to do wrong."

Between Shades of Gray
pg.311. This quote is important, because during the book Lina feels as if she should get back at the NKVD for what they have done to her, her family, and everybody else involved. However, when her mother tells her that this is what her father would say, she gets peace and knows that it's not right to do that back to them even though what the NKVD has done to them is beyond wrong.
"Was it harder to die, or harder to be the one who survived?"

Between Shades of Gray
pg.319. This quote is important, because first off you read about how many people died and how much they suffered with various types of diseases. It was also very difficult surviving through the winter, other deathly aspects of the work camps, and trying to work on low energy because of the little amounts of food they were given. Ex: The bald man (Mr. Stalas) wanted to die, but couldn't as much as he tried and Lina's mother, Elena wanted to live in order to be with her family again, but fell ill and died.
At the end of the book, a doctor arrives to treat the sick and under nourished and to help bury the dead. We know that Lina, Jonas, and Andrius all survive the death camps, through the letter found by construction men in the epilogue. Lina explains what happened to her and everybody else in the work camps in the Arctic. She states to the people who find this letter to let the world know what they went through during her 12 years in death camp. She proclaims that she wants the world to know the truth about Stalin so that history will be learned from and may never repeat itself.
sensory details
"The hut smelled of rotten eggs. We drank some of the rainwater and ate a stub of bread Mother had saved. Despite my washing efforts, my dress was still stiff with mud. My hands looked like a small animal had chewed on them. Yellow pus leaked from the blisters."
Between Shades of Gray
Impact: This passage shows you what Lina, her family and everybody else in captivity feels and sees. This quote shows you what these people have to live in and deal with during this time. Also, this describes their living situations and the horrible things the NKVD are putting them through.
top five song list
Fearless: by Taylor Swift
-Lina is fearless just like the song title. She tries not let the NKVD hurt her in any way. Also, with her having a crush on Andrius, the lyrics "You put your eyes on me in this moment now capture it, remember it." tells about when they are talking in the middle of the night and don't know if the other one will be there the next day.

Lovebug: The Jonas Brothers
-Lina would like this song, because the lyrics would remind her of Andrius while they are at different camps and can't communicate. Lyrics such as "Finally found the missing part of me. Felt so close but you were far away." and "I can't get your smile out of my mind. I think about your eyes all the time." bond with her thoughts of Andrius.
The House That Built Me: Miranda Lambert
-Lina is constantly having reoccuring flashbacks about home, and the good things she took for granted which she now doesn't have. Also, the NKVD implies that the "prisoners" will be there forever, and never go back home. Lyrics such as "I know they say you can't go home again." and "I thought if I could touch this place or feel it, this brokenness inside me might start healing. Out here is like I'm someone else, I thought that maybe I could find myself." connect with her thoughts of home.
Hope In Front of Me: Danny Gokey
This song relates to Lina because of the pain and suffering that she is experiencing. Lina is relying on the thought of hope to get her through this painful and emotional time. Lyrics such as "I might be down, but I'm not dead, there's better days still up ahead. Even after all I've seen, there's hope in front of me." and "I've got to believe, I still have hope." describe Lina's situation, and that she may listen to this song, because it has a motivational hope about it.
Tell Your Heart to Beat Again: Phillips, Craig and Dean
This song goes well with Lina, because in both the book and the song it demonstrates that even though you will have bad days, you're still alive. You need to keep moving on, because there are reasons to keep living. Part of the reason Lina is still living is because her mother put her and her brother first over herself. Lyrics such as "Let the shadows fall away, you'll live to love another day, yesterday's a closing door, and you don't live there anymore." and "Love's healing hands have pulled you through." connect Lina's past, present, and future.
undercover mission
Author: Ruta Sepetys
Ruta attended Hillsdale College in Michigan to study Opera, then changed and majored in international finance.
Between Shades of Gray
was her first novel published. It was inspired by her father who escaped Lithuania as a boy.
While looking at a package of hotdogs in the grocery, Ruta decided she needed to move to Tennessee, where she still lives with her family.
visiting your favorite character
Lina, Jonas, Elena, Andrius, Mrs. Arvydas(Andrius' mom), Mr. Stalas(the bald man), and everybody else in the camp experience xenophobia. Xenophobia is used in
Between Shades of Gray
because all the prisoners experience a strange hate/dislike. They begin to develop an extreme dislike to the NKVD because of all they have done to them. The prisoners can't fathom why the NKVD feel that other human beings aren't real people. They are never sure what the NKVD will do next to make them miserable. Also, while riding on the trains cars on their first journey, the people on board felt a strange fear because they did not know where they were going and what they were going to have to do.
you get to create page based on your own ideas
1. What did you think was happening when you were first taken?
**With the force of the NKVD first coming into Lina's home, she must have thought something. They were yelling and screaming, She had to think something bad was about to come upon her.

2. What was it like to have been told your father had been shot, but later told that he could still be alive?
**Since Lina's dad hadn't been with them, she hadn't seen him die. Did she think the NKVD officer, Ivanov was telling the truth? Since Lina hadn't seen her dad in forever, I wonder what the initial feeling was to know he was dead.

3. What was it like to know that while you were freezing in the arctic, the NKVD officers were being pampered with heat and tons of food?
**Lina and other mistreated Lithuanians, Latvians, and Estonians were freezing cold in their hand-made Jurta huts with no warm clothing, and starving because of small bread rations. Why did the Soviets feel as if they were so much better than the people they were killing? Why would the Soviets think the prisoners had no need for heat or food?

4. How did you feel about Nikolai Kretzsky talking to your mother and also trying to help you?
**Lina's mother talking to a NKVD officer must have been puzzling to comprehend. You didn't know whether he was trying to get your mother to work for him, abusing her, or who knows what else. Since the officers were so mean, what was he doing to her? Then, when he was trying to help Lina collect wood, did she believe he was really trying to help her or did she think he was going to tell on her?

5. What was it like having your own mother die right in front of your eyes in your brother's arms?
**It couldn't have been easy knowing her dad had been shot and killed and now her mother has just died. Lina had seen her mother suffering and dying on the floor of the hut. After her dying Lina figured out her mother had more clothes to keep herself warm, but chose not to wear them. Her mother would also help everybody she could, putting their needs and lives before hers.
When Ivanov and Kretzsky told Lina's mother that her husband (Lina's father) had been shot in Krasnoyarsk Prison.
**This was unexpected because Lina had so much hope to find her father. You always thought she would be reunited with her father, because of all the trouble she had gone through to try to send word to him. Through the whole book she talked about her father and sending him drawings that he would recognize. After all that emotion and struggle, Lina finds out he may not be dead after all.
Why I chose to read
Between Shades of Gray
I chose to read this book, because I remember seeing this book at the book fair in Middle School and reading the back and found myself intrigued. I love learning about the World War II era so I thought this would be a perfect book. When I saw that this book was on the KBA book list I decided to get it and read it for my summer project. Although this book is not about the German Holocaust and Hitler, it is during the same time period and similar to what Hitler put the Jews through. This book is about Stalin invading Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia and sending these natives to prison/work camps.
The Motivation that Lina, her family, and everyone else in the camp possesses is the right to live. Most of them believe that if they can make it through the awful winter in the Arctic Circle, they can make it through this tough time and the winters to come. Their motivation is to not let the Soviets, NKVD, and Stalin have the victory and power of mistreating innocent people. The NKVD wants these people to give up on any chance of going back to their homes because they don't see them as humans. However, Lina, Jonas, their mother Elena, and some others won't let the Soviets get to them. They continue their journey through this torturous camp with continuing thoughts of home. Lina also has motivation in the beginning to find her father by sending him messages through her artwork on the train and on pieces of wood she finds. This gives her hope to find her father and reunite her family and go back home. These people did not give in to the threats of the NKVD and did not let them have the power to do as they pleased to them. Also, they did not show the slightest bit of fear. Lina is very driven to not let the NKVD break her in any way. She is strong willed and chose to believe in a better future. Her image of a better future is a future back with her family in Lithuania.
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