A Study of the Subaltern in Ruta Sepety’s Between Shades of Gray


  • R. Preethi, Research Scholar, PSGR Krishnammal College for Women, Coimbatore,Tamil Nadu, India.
  • Dr. Narasingaram Jayashree Assistant Professor, PSGR Krishnammal College for Women, Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu, India


A subaltern is an individual with a submerged ranking in a social, political other hierarchy who has been marginalized and oppressed by being subjected to the hegemony of the ruling classes. They have less access to their needs as their only permanent victory (acceptance and class adjustment) can break the pattern of subordination and provide peace to their lives. 

Ruta Sepetys is a Lithuanian-American writer. Being a recipient of multiple literary awards, she portrays the lives of the Lithuanians who were vanquished by Joseph Stalin and his troop in her novel, Between Shades of Gray. The Soviet Union led by Joseph Stalin invades Lithuania and becomes sovereign of the land by eradicating peace in the lives of the Lithuanians. As a result of expropriation, they lose their identity from being citizens of Lithuania to being slaves or subaltern people of their homeland. Lina, the protagonist of the novel along with the other Lithuanians tries to uphold her life in a state of being suppressed by the social, economic and the political power of the Soviet Union.  They are captured, tortured and sent across Siberia to work in the Soviet agency created by the Russian Government. The journey abounds pain and suffering which is enormously disheartening. 

The major focus of the paper is to highlight the vulnerability, the affects of invasion and the suffering in the characters who are the Subaltern people. This paper attempts to exemplify true personal toll of war, where the brink between existence and demise becomes an enervating persecution.


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How to Cite

Preethi, R., & Jayashree, D. N. (2018). A Study of the Subaltern in Ruta Sepety’s Between Shades of Gray. SMART MOVES JOURNAL IJELLH , 6(11), 10. Retrieved from https://ijellh.com/OJS/index.php/OJS/article/view/5441