Travelling through Europe, down roads you’d never suspect to go down. Real life, had become your worst nightmare. The book, Between Shades of Grey, by Ruta Sepetys, Lina, fragile and frightened, has to put on a brave face daily while facing the wrath of the NVKD. As terrifying as travelling as a slave is, she has her mother, Jonas, and all her fellow passengers to count on; however the setting contributes to more of a hollow mood. The choice of setting in this book, affects the mood greatly, in a deal of ways.
Lithuania, 1941, WWII. Soviets are taking rule over Lina’s home country and enslaving innocent people. All around them are familiar faces, who knew that they might not see them again? We’re all used to waking up each morning in the same bed, doing our normal morning routine in the same bathroom, picking clothes from the same closet, and eating at the same table. Imagine one night being taken from all of that. Gone within seconds. How important would living in the same environment be to you, seeing familiar places, but also exploring new ones? What if your life just became an endless journey of new places, places where you aren’t accepted, and/or treated like dirt? As Lina and her family were travelling down the same road, there’d be more and more rubble, foreign battlegrounds. Then realizing, that you might never be home again.
In this book, the author captures setting, and makes you feel emotions, lots of them, and different moods throughout the book. When they finally reach one of the many destinations to come, you feel warmth, spreading throughout your body, as if you’ve been the one cramped for weeks, without food, and little water, “we weren’t at a train station… I saw mountains in the distance. The sky had never looked so blue… I breathed deeply and felt the crisp, clean air draft my polluted lungs.” (Sepetys 81). The setting made the mood suddenly light, and filled with joy. Though the word polluted caused a slight downer, in the now joyous occasion. Beautiful vivid imageries of the valley the author poured into this paragraph really brought light at the end of the tunnel. But not for long, as time disappeared, so did the bliss of being outside, “The gray wood was bald, shaved by many seasons of wind and snow… A strong wind could whisk the shack up into the sky, scattering it in a burst of pieces.” (Sepetys 104). Her description of the shack shook chills up and down my spine. In this chapter, the mood goes from cotton candy fluff, to storming thunder. These paragraphs use color, and the bright colors, like blue, green, orange, create a happier vide. Whereas darker colors, like gray, and jet black, causes a much more dull, and in certain phrases, create suspense, and creepiness. Through setting, we can feel the emotion expressed in the book.
Travelling from place to place, never knowing what’s to come, so many sights to see. What better way to show it then describing through setting? Overall this novel showed how much setting affects the mood from the powerful phrases, and descriptive words.