Between Shades of Gray.
By: Rachel Crawford, Marissa Friedman, Morgan Delozier, Madison Legros

Character Analysis:

The main character of "Between Shades of Gray" ,Lina, is a 15 year old girl who experiences internal and external conflicts when she and her family are taken out of their home by the NKVD officers. She was forced to conceal her artistic traits and hopes, and throw away any normality her life consisted of. Lina had to be strong and brave for her family, and had to endure harsh conditions under the authority of the Soviet Union. Lina was fearful of what would happen to the ones she loved, but never let her guard down and stayed firm for the sake of her family. A great example of how she never broke out in fear and anger is on page 101, with the text, "I thought of the guard who touched me and all the things I should have done-- slapped him, kicked him, screamed in his face." This text is a great example of how she never broke out and let her guard down because when the guard touched her in an inappropriate way she didn't have a breakdown even though she was traumatized.


At the beginning of Between Shades of Gray, the story is set in Lithuania during the year of 1941. Throughout the story, the setting changes numerous times. Lina and her family travel through Siberia, The Arctic Circle,  and Trofimovsk, along with many other places. The setting of this story is significant because it expresses how the Soviets forced them to adapt to unfamiliar environments and unfair ways of life. One significant piece of text that vividly describes one of the places Lina and her family went across was on page 58, with the text, "People sobbed. Lithuania had never looked more beautiful. Flowers burst with color against the June landscape." This piece of text was significant because it described one of the important settings in Between Shades of Gray, and it conveyed how different it would be compared to the places they would have to travel through.

About The Author:

Ruta Sepetys was born and raised in Michigan. Ruta was inspired to write Between Shades of Gray because her grandfather was an officer in the Lithuanian army. While her grandfather was in Lithuania, Stalin was executing military officers, so her grandparents and father fled the country. She also was motivated to write Between Shades of Gray, because she hopes for others to understand the true part of Stalin's terror and how tough it was for the people who lived in Lithuania.


Between Shades of Gray is mainly about a young girl and her family who is abducted by the NKVD. She has to adapt along the way to abnormal and harsh environments around her to survive. The Soviet Union was trying to get rid of what they called "Fascist Pigs" on page 271, and wanted to continue their reign of terror. Lina and her family has to push through with love and peace unlike the Soviet Union. She has to survive the severe climate, and along the way her life is forever changed.


-Exposition: Lina is in her hometown, Lithuania, when everything changes for the worst.

-Rising Action: Lina is taken on a NKVD truck  after being thrown out of her home unexpectedly. She goes to numerous places she does not know and has to adapt along the way.

-Climax: Lina and her family's life take a horrible turn for the worst when they are taken out of labor camp and are sent unknowingly to the North Pole in Trofimovsk. "Trofimovsk. The very top of the Artic Circle, near the North Pole." On page 272.

-Falling Action: Lina's wonders finally are answered and secrets are unfolded when she finds out her dad is dead, and her mom dies of the severe conditions in Trofimosvk.

-Resoultion: A group of doctors come and help the sickness of people. Lina and Andrius marry and people gained new found strength and made it through the war with love and peace.

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