Between Shades of Gray

by Ruta Sepetys

Start Free Trial


Download PDF PDF Page Citation Cite Share Link Share

Last Updated on June 19, 2019, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 181

The main character in the novel is Lina Vilkas, a fifteen-year-old Lithuanian girl. Her parents, Elena and Kostas, also have a son, the ten-year-old Jonas. Joana Vilkas, Lina's cousin, never appears personally in the novel except in Lina's memories. On the train to Siberia, Lina meets Andrius Arvydas. He is around her age and traveling with his mother, who is never named past "Mrs. Arvydas." Also on the train is "The Bald Man," which is what Lina calls the pessimistic postman Mr. Stalas. Mrs. Grybas is a teacher from Lina and Jonas's school, and she is a strict but incredibly strong woman who often takes charge. On the other side of the spectrum is the sad character of Ona, a young woman who has just given birth. Over the course of a dozen chapters, her child dies and she deteriorates with grief. Nikolai Kretszky, a sadistic soldier, and Komorov, the commander, are the main antagonists within the story.

There are also a handful of minor characters throughout the novel, like the Vilkas's first Siberian labor camp roommate, Ulyushka, and Doctor Samodurov.

See eNotes Ad-Free

Start your 48-hour free trial to get access to more than 30,000 additional guides and more than 350,000 Homework Help questions answered by our experts.

Get 48 Hours Free Access