Gray is not a colour, but an intermediate between black and white. It can be written many ways, from grey, gray, graye, or even grai. Like the word’s different of being spelled, it also has various meanings. According to the Oxford English Dictionary, gray is used to describe the dull or cold light of twilight, or a day when the sky is over-clouded (Anonymous). However, the Oxford English Dictionary also defines gray as being a way to describe old age, the sunless light of the morning, or even a dull, anonymous or faceless person (Anonymous). Often, the phrase “shades of gray” is used in a figurative manner to portray the area between right and wrong, good and bad, or even certainty and uncertainty. Sometimes, shades of gray can be representative of hope. In the inspiring novel, Between shades of gray, set during the Lithuanian deportation by the Soviets, Ruta Sepetys examines the survival of hope in humans when they are subjected to the worst of circumstances. Together, the deportees see past the sombre reality of their situation and help each other through the difficult times. Together, they cling to the hope of one day going back home, and living again. It is that hope that keeps them alive, and pushes them to keep on going when they have nothing left. The characters that help the Lithuanians see beyond black and white are namely Kretzky, an NKVD officer, Elena, the main character Lina’s mother, Mrs. Arvydas, Andrius’ mother, and Lina, herself.
The ever-present theme of shades of gray is uncovered in even the most peculiar places in Ruta Sepetys’ heartbreaking narrative. When Lina, her mother and her little brother are taken from their home and brought to a gulag in Siberia, the reader ...
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...VD officer did so by helping the Lithuanians obtain food and some necessities. He did not fit the usual NKVD stereotype. Ruta Sepetys, through Elena and Mrs. Arvydas, proves that mothers will often do what ever it takes to ensure their children’s survival. But often, people find in themselves the will to fight for their lives, or what they believe in. This fact is proven through Lina’s character.
Anonymous. "Grey." 1 September 2011. Oxford English Dictionary. 29 November 2011
Mia, Marirosa. "Between Shades of Gray." 14 March 2011. Please Don't Read This Book. 1 December 2011
Sepetys, Ruta. Between Shades of Gray. Toronto: Puffin Group, 2011.
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