Have you ever thought about that just one knock on your door can change your entire fate? That in the blink of an eye, your whole world turns upside down? In the book Between the Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys, the protagonist, Lina Vilkas has been through this. It all started with the NKVD police forcing Lina, her mom, and her younger brother into a van. Lina and her family had been through horrible twists and turns, but they somehow managed to connect with each other deep down in their hearts. Lina was a curious, judgmental, and selfish girl. Throughout the novel, the dynamic change of Lina’s personality has become apparent. Now, Lina is a very nice, empathetic, and mature girl.
Lina Vilkas used to be a curious girl since she was naive. She was always asking questions that not even her mom would know the answer to. “That was very kind of her, but unnecessary,” he said. “But what did you do?” I asked him.” (Sepetys, 9) This shows that Lina did not understand the difficulties of the world because she is still young and has a lot to learn. Even when her parents try to change the subject when she asks this kind of questions, nothing stops her from finding out the answer.
Lina was a very opinionated and a judgmental girl. Her stubbornness can influence her actions which are a bad thing. “Andrius and his mother were working with the Soviets. How could he do it? How could he work with them?” (154-155) Lina made judgments only upon what she had seen. She didn’t even know the whole story behind it and she based her opinions on that. Later on, Lina found out that Andrius and his mother weren’t working with the Soviets and that caused a whole mess. She also judged an officer of NKVD and thought he was a mean guy, but he turned out to be the one who saved them in the end.
Lina was selfish when her emotions had overthrown her. “Ulyushka complained and stomped for me to sit down. “SHUT UP, YOU WITCH!” I screamed.” (177) Lina did not care about her surroundings. She was indifferent to people other than her family members. Sometimes people can get irritated easily, but you have to consider which people you are most affecting.
Since Lina experienced the suffering of the Lithuanians, her attitude and aspect of different things had changed. She is now a nice, empathetic, and mature girl. Lina has grown through this series of events. She now knows to share and split food in between strangers because they might help you back in some other way. Once Lina found out what the NKVD were doing to Andrius’s mom, she felt really guilty and kept on offering help towards them. Lina was more sympathetic towards any strangers. When this young girl, Janina’s doll got destroyed, Lina made up some stories to help Janina’s mind off of her doll. Lina had turned more mature because she felt like she had to take care of her little brother Jonas while her mother was sick and her father was separated from them. Lina had to have a responsibility since she was the oldest.
Even though I have not been through these events that Lina has faced, we both have similar personalities. I didn’t stop asking questions when my parents told me to because I was just so eager to find out why. Sometimes, my mom would just cut off my question or change the subject. I would always make my opinions off of what I see mostly, I don’t usually know the whole thing and I make judgments. But on the other hand, I can be very nice and compassionate towards my friends, family, and classmates. Overall, I am similar to Lina Vilkas in personalities. She is now a nice, empathetic, and mature girl. It is shocking how just one event can change a person. Lina become a completely different character in the end.