In the Lake of the Woods

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The wife of Claude Rasmussen, who takes care of John Wade after Kathy’s disappearance. Ruth Rasmussen is in her fifties, and married to the much older Claude. She insists that John is a good man, and innocent of any role in Kathy’s disappearance. She frequently compares the strength of John and Kathy’s marriage to the strength of her marriage to Claude—a comparison that readers can take sincerely or ironically.
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Ruth Rasmussen Character Timeline in In the Lake of the Woods

The timeline below shows where the character Ruth Rasmussen appears in In the Lake of the Woods. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 6: Evidence
Vietnam, Authorship, Interpretation Theme Icon
Ruth Rasmussen says that John threw away a perfectly good teakettle. Vincent Pearson, a part-time detective,... (full context)
Chapter 11: What He Did Next
Love and Relationships Theme Icon
John drives to see Ruth Rasmussen, who insists that John is drunk, though John insists that he isn’t. Ruth is... (full context)
Evil, Human Nature, and Freedom Theme Icon
As John and Ruth talk, Claude Rasmussen emerges from his room. He is almost 80 years old. He puts... (full context)
Vietnam, Authorship, Interpretation Theme Icon
...impossible for Kathy to call John that day. He plugs the phone in and calls Ruth; he says that there’s a busy signal, and that Ruth is probably talking to Kathy... (full context)
War, Memory, and Trauma Theme Icon
Claude calls Ruth, talks to her, and tells John that Ruth has been calling various local numbers and... (full context)
Chapter 12: Evidence
Appearance, the Unknowable, and Magic Theme Icon
Tony Carbo says that John was a charmer, and Ruth Rasmussen calls him a nice, polite man. Bethany Lee claims that Kathy knew about John’s... (full context)
Chapter 15: What the Questions Were
Evil, Human Nature, and Freedom Theme Icon
Love and Relationships Theme Icon
After Vinny and Lux leave, John hears Claude and Ruth in the kitchen, making breakfast. John asks Claude why he mentioned that John was drunk;... (full context)
Vietnam, Authorship, Interpretation Theme Icon
War, Memory, and Trauma Theme Icon
Evil, Human Nature, and Freedom Theme Icon
Appearance, the Unknowable, and Magic Theme Icon
Love and Relationships Theme Icon
...he’d arranged for extra boats to explore the lake. He tells John that he and Ruth will sleep in the spare bedroom of the cottage. John implies that Claude thinks John... (full context)
Chapter 19: What Was Found
War, Memory, and Trauma Theme Icon
Pat and John walk back to the cottage, where Ruth and Claude are waiting. John introduces Pat to both of them, and then calls Lux.... (full context)
War, Memory, and Trauma Theme Icon
Love and Relationships Theme Icon
...he wants to be on it. Pat goes to rest in the spare room, and Ruth and Claude return to their own home. John sits by himself in the living room,... (full context)
Chapter 20: Evidence
Love and Relationships Theme Icon
The chapter consists entirely of quotes and statistics related to John. The first is from Ruth Rasmussen, who claims that John and Kathy were like onions: no matter how much one... (full context)
Chapter 23: Where They Looked
Appearance, the Unknowable, and Magic Theme Icon
Love and Relationships Theme Icon
...to explain why. Later on, while John and Pat are eating dinner with Claude and Ruth, John brings it up again. Claude tells John that he could end up like Kathy—lost... (full context)
Chapter 25: Evidence
Vietnam, Authorship, Interpretation Theme Icon
War, Memory, and Trauma Theme Icon
Evil, Human Nature, and Freedom Theme Icon
Love and Relationships Theme Icon
Ruth Rasmussen insists that John didn’t kill Kathy, because he loved her—just like Claude loves Ruth.... (full context)
Chapter 30: Evidence
Vietnam, Authorship, Interpretation Theme Icon
War, Memory, and Trauma Theme Icon
Evil, Human Nature, and Freedom Theme Icon
Appearance, the Unknowable, and Magic Theme Icon
...he wants to go to the Pacific ports, precisely because they are unfamiliar to him. Ruth Rasmussen argues that John’s sudden departure need not mean anything bad—sometimes people leave. (full context)
War, Memory, and Trauma Theme Icon
...about Kathy disappearance. He says that John is wrong: one plus one never equals zero. Ruth Rasmussen says that Claude was angry when the police dug up the cottage. She adds... (full context)
Vietnam, Authorship, Interpretation Theme Icon
War, Memory, and Trauma Theme Icon
Ruth notes that Claude died shortly after John’s disappearance, and that he and John developed a... (full context)
Vietnam, Authorship, Interpretation Theme Icon
War, Memory, and Trauma Theme Icon
Various people speculate on where John is now. Ruth is optimistic: she believes that John and Kathy are together in Hudson Bay, in Canada,... (full context)