Art and Its Impact On Our Lives

Art is a very important aspect in our lives and in the book, Between Shades of Grey. In our lives, it communicates with the past, present, and future, it gives us something to relate to, and it shows us new stories of new people. In the book, similar answers of why art is an important aspect appear. In this post, we will explore how Lina and the readers have these aspects and how Lina uses art in the book to communicate with her father and to use the Soviets.

Art is important in our lives because it communicates with the past, present, and future, it gives us something to relate to, and it shows us new stories of new people. Here is some images of art that shows all three of these topics. Some of these include The Starry Night by Vincent van Gogh and  The Last Supper by Leonardo. Plus, if you think about it, the world would be pretty boring without art. There would be no graphic t-shirts, no creative outlet for children and adults, and no way to express yourself in an artistic fashion.

Then there is the impact of art in the book, Between Shades of Grey. Lina tries to communicate with her father through art for most of the book. The question for the reader to find out as they read is will she be able to communicate with her father through her art or will something tragic happen? I’ll leave that for you to find out, but the love that is put in the art is what keeps their bond strong through the book.

As for using the Soviets to her advantage, Lina impresses them wit her art skills and so for two art pieces, she gets more rations (food) to survive on for the day. Here, for your own pleasure, is a picture of one of the maps ‘she’ drew:

I hope you have enjoyed this post, here and here are some links to some interviews and reviews of Between Shades of Grey. Have a fantastic day!


Famous Art Pieces

Interview with the Author


The photo

Love and What It Does To Readers


“November 20. Andrius’s birthday. I had counted the days carefully. I wished him a happy birthday when I woke and thought about him while hauling logs during the day. At night, I sat by the light of the stove, reading Dombey and Son. Krasivaya. I still hadn’t found the word. Maybe I’d find it if I jumped ahead. I flipped through some of the pages. A marking caught my eye. I leafed backward. Something was written in pencil in the margin of 278.
Hello, Lina. You’ve gotten to page 278. That’s pretty good!
I gasped, then pretened I was engrossed in the book. I looked at Andrius’s handwritting. I ran my finger over this elongated letters in my name. Were there more? I knew I should read onward. I couldn’t wait. I turned though the pages carefully, scanning the margins.
Page 300:
Are you really on page 300 or are you skipping ahead now?
I had to stifle my laughter.
Page 322:
Dombey and Son is boring. Admit it.
Page 364:
I’m thinking of you.
Page 412:
Are you maybe thinking of me?
I closed my eyes.
Yes, I’m thinking of you. Happy birthday, Andrius.

-Between Shades of Grey, pg. 303

As you can see, love can hold us close to our loved ones, no matter the distance between. The question is, what is the reader’s reaction to romance in a book? Do they hate it or do they enjoy it? Well, it first depends on the reader. One person can love romance and the other can prefer something else. Secondly, it depends on the book. Here is the Goodreads reviews for Eleanor & Park, a young adult romance book. As you can see, the book is very much so enjoyed by many people. Meanwhile, if you search well enough, you will find a book that has a low rating and bad reviews. So it really depends on the book.

How does an author not overkill or cliche the romance in a book? Here is seven essential tips for writing romance well. The basics, which are not easy at all, are you avoid cliche things as much as possible in writing  and you avoid too much kissing, love, and etc.

Love affects all of us. The way we act, the way we think…The list goes on and on. A lot of us are willing to die for a loved one, like Lina’s mother would to her children. Being in love can affect our brains. Here is a link to an article about the different types of chemicals love creates in our heads.  I hope you have enjoyed this post, and have a good day!


Eleanor & Park reviews

Seven Tips For Writing Romance

What Love Can Do To Your Brain


Flashbacks: A Moment in Time

Most of the time readers, especially younger readers, hate flashbacks and try to skip them as much as possible. So why does the author care about writing them if no one is going to read them? In Between Shades of Grey, the author uses flashbacks to make the characters not only seem human and give insight on what is going on, but to also show how time and tragic events have changed the characters. In several cases, Ruta Sepetys shows us a flashback and it connects to what is going on in the story, but sometimes the flashbacks do not seem to match what is going on at the time.

For example, a flashback of seeing them human and seeing how their lives were changing was in the ninth chapter when the lovely family of the Vilkas taking a family photography shoot, meanwhile, they were on a cattle car heading to a place away from home. Another example of a flashback of something that does not seem to fit was in chapter seventeen where Lina sees a pastel rainbow in her flashback but meanwhile she is getting a break from riding on the cattle car. In this flashback the connection the reader was suppose to get was that hope and light can be found in the darkest of places. For the mentioning of the pastel rainbow, here is one for you.

So is flashbacks really that important to the story and other stories like it? I will leave that for you to decide. Here are some links to information on flashbacks and Between Shades of Grey: Some quotes from the book, flashback and foreshadowing video, and book review (spoiler free). I hope you have enjoyed this post, and have a good day! (Sources below as always.)


Pastel Rainbow

First link

Flashback video

Book review



Background History On the Book

This book, Between Shades of Grey, took place in World War II. According to the first video in my first post, not many people know that Stalin “killed over twenty million people”. It shows how much people do not know their history. Here’s two images of the tragic events that occurred during this time. For younger viewers, I have picked not so graphic photos.

As you can guess, the people who were taken by the Soviets worked day to night. For those people who can not believe the pictures and facts, here is some information on Lithuanians in “displaced persons” camps. To those who do, look at the link for some interesting information. Warning: There is disturbing and frightening images featured here. 

When people talk about these horrible events, there is normally a powerful, cruel force behind it. In this case, this evil force is called Joseph Stalin. For some information on him, here is a biography on Stalin. It important to realize that these kinds of people can be anyone: your best friend, that kid down the street, or that man who can never seem to get any customers in his shop. Maybe history can repeat itself. Maybe it cannot. Here is a link that may give you a side.

Well, that’s all for today. I hope you have enjoyed this post.  Below are my sources. Have a great day!


Photos of people working


Does history repeat itself?

Let’s Get Started, Shall We?

Before I even start to talk about this book, let’s watch a video on the author talking about the book and some history in that time period here. Okay, now that we have a grasp of what is going on in the time frame of the book, let’s talk about the characters.

Lina Vilkas

Lina Vilkas is our main character and our protagonist. She is fifteen years old at the beginning of this book and loves to make art and read, which is important to the story and plot. Lina shows us several flashbacks of her life in Lithuania before being taken away from her home that are relevant to the story. I will make a post about the flashbacks as well as the time period that the book is happening in.

Jonas Vilkas

Jonas Vilkas is Lina’s brother and he follows Lina on her long hard journey. You see him grow up throughout the book and the tragic events that happen and is beloved by most of the characters in the book due to his sweet and innocent personality.

Elena Vilkas

As mother of Lina and Jonas, Elena tries to take care of them in this tragic time by making huge sacrifices, like giving them her rations of food and keeping them safe no matter what.

Kostas Vilkas

Lina’s father, Kostas, is separated from the family and for most of the book, Lina is trying to get in contact with him through her artwork and bring him back to the family.

Andrius Arvydas

Andrius is a seventeen year old boy who Lina met on the train. He is an important character because he helps Lina and her family several times on the way to where the Soviets are taking them.

There are several other characters but the ones I have just mentioned are the major characters. If you would like to know more about the book without spoilers, click this lovely review here. It talks about the plot, the writing, the characters, and gives a summary without spoiling the book. For even more details on the book, read reviews and a summary here. WARNING: Some reviews have spoilers. 

Well, that’s all for today. See you guys next time!


First video

Second video

Summary and reviews site

Photo at the beginning