Between Shades of Gray Part Two: Chapters 53-57 Summary & Analysis

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Between Shades of Gray

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Between Shades of Gray Part Two: Chapters 53-57 Summary & Analysis

Chapter 53 Summary

Some time later, Andrius finds Lina in her shack after work, and warns her that the NKVD guards are coming to get her.  The commander wants her to draw his portrait.  Andrius urges her to make the portrait “flattering” (211), because the commander is an “egomaniac” (210).  They discuss what she should ask for in return, but all Lina can think about is how she will make the portrait flattering when all she sees in her mind’s eye is “a nest of wicked snakes sprouting out of his neck, or a skull with hollow black eyes, smoking a cigarette” (211).

Chapter 54 Summary

In the commander’s office, Lina is warming her hands at the fire when the commander arrives wearing a “spotless” uniform.  He sits close to her, so they are almost touching, and tells her to take off her coat.  She refuses, saying she is cold, and he asks how old she is in a leering way.  She sees snakes slithering out of his collar then, and thinks of Munch’s advice to “aint it as you see it” (213), but knows that she cannot.  She has to finish the portrait in an hour and the commander takes many breaks.  Towards the end of the session, he goes outside and returns with Kretzsky.  He gives him a command, and Kretzsky leaves, returning with a file that the commander studies.  He asks Lina if she has been drawing since she was a child and who her favorite artist is.  She tells him, but he doesn’t know Munch.  She finishes the portrait and gives it to the commander who is pleased.  She sees the file lying open on the desk and thinks there must be something in it about her father.  The commander tells Kretzsky to give her bread and leaves.  She protests, saying that she has earned more than bread.  Kretzsky just tells her to hurry up and leaves.  Jonas is waiting outside for her, and he tells her that Kretzsky said for them to go to the kitchen door and wait.  Lina is angry, and after Kretzsky is gone,…

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