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Between Shades of Gray Theme Assessment

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by

Miranda Munro

on 20 April 2014

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Transcript of Between Shades of Gray Theme Assessment

One of the most important themes displayed throughout Between Shades of Grey is that nothing is stronger than the will to survive.
What is the theme?
How was this theme developed through plot changes?
As the plot changes we begin to see more of this theme being displayed. When Jonas gets sick with scurvy, both him, his family, and friends fight for his survival. They risk everything to keep him alive. Another example would be Mrs. Arvidas sleeping with the guards to keep herself and her son, Andruis, alive.

"There were only two possibile outcomes in Siberia. Success meant survival. Failure meant death. I wanted life. I wanted to survive."
How was this theme developed through figurative language?
"It grew louder. Louder. They were singing, singing at the top of their lungs. Andrius joined and then my brother and the gray-haired man."

Sepetys uses irony here to show the characters' immediate choice to not give up. Everyone is crammed together, being treated like animals by the officers, yet they are singing and trying to be positive about the situation. This is the first example of their will to survive.
How was this theme developed through character development?
This theme is developed through the character's development. An example would be the Mr. Stalas. At the beginning of the book he constantly complains and wishes for death and also tells everyone that they're going to die, but as time passes, we see that though he says these things he still has the will to survive. He tells Lina that the only thing keeping him alive is fear.

"Pathetic, and yet I survive. Surely, my survival is punishment. That has it be it. This woman closes her eyes and she is gone. I wished for death since the first day, and yet I survive. Can it really be so hard to die?"
Theme Assessment
Between Shades of Gray
Full transcript